10 March 2010

John Ogilvie

This day in the Church we remember St John Ogilvie. It's hard to describe exactly why I think he's such a role model for us now, but there is something about him which I'm drawn to. Is it his martyrdom; the fact he's a Jesuit? Maybe it's his Scottishness, or the penal times in which he lived. Perhaps it is his heroic conviction to follow his faith and come home to his land to bring about conversion. In the end, like all the saints, it's because who he is drawn to, namely Jesus Christ. The Saints, we can agree, have one thing in common above all other things, their personal, deep and ever-lasting relationship with Jesus. Boy, is that attractive, or is that attractive.

For the liturgy police out there who may be reading this blog - of course I'm mindful of the season and you will be pleased to know I'm keeping St John Ogilvie as a Commemoration - obviously!

On this day I often, also, remember the parish of St John Ogilvie in Corby. A friend of mine was a parishioner there some moons ago. I think it might be the only parish in England under the patronage of the Scot, but do let us know if you are aware of other parishes for whom we need to be praying.

A nice little bio from Archbishop Conti is available on the The Glasgow Story website, here. He says:

Few figures in Scottish history have had such a varied life as John Ogilvie (1579-1615). Born into a respected Calvinist family in Keith, Banffshire, he died a Jesuit priest at Glasgow Cross and is today Scotland's only acknowledged post-reformation Catholic saint. John Ogilvie was educated in mainland Europe. Exposed to the religious controversies of his day and impressed with the faith of the martyrs, he decided to become a Catholic. In 1596, aged seventeen, he was received into the Church at Louvain, Belgium.

He attended a variety of Catholic educational institutions, including the Benedictine College at Ratisbon (Regensburg) in Germany, and Jesuit houses at Olmutz (Olomouc) and Brunn (Brno) in what is now the Czech Republic. He was ordained a Jesuit priest at Paris in 1610 and repeatedly asked to be sent to Scotland. He eventually arrived in November 1613 and ministered clandestinely in the central belt to the few remaining Catholics. His missionary career however lasted less than a year. One posing as a Catholic betrayed him. After his arrest he was tortured in prison in an effort to get him to reveal the names of other Catholics, but he refused. Eventually, Father John Ogilvie was convicted of high treason for denying the king's spiritual jurisdiction by upholding the Pope's spiritual primacy. He was hanged at Glasgow in 1615 aged thirty-six.

He was canonised in 1976 by Pope Paul VI following the inexplicable – later declared miraculous - cure of John Fagan, a working man from Easterhouse in Glasgow devoted to the then-Blessed John Ogilvie whose advanced cancer vanished after prayer to him.

St John Ogilvie - pray for us.


  1. "their personal, deep and ever-lasting relationship with Jesus. Boy, is that attractive, or is that attractive."

    Makes me want to jump up and down like a charismatic! I might become one.......again ! Watch this space!

  2. There, there, now. Don't be getting too carried away. I'm watching this space.



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