Edmund Campion SJ
Born in London on 24 January 1540. Campion studied at Christ’s Hospital and St. John’s College, Oxford, receiving a Master’s degree in 1564. In 1568 he was ordained deacon as an Anglican. In Ireland between 1569 and 1571, he subsequently travelled to Douai, France, to become a Catholic. The English College, Douai awarded him a BD in 1573. Campion next went to Rome, where he entered the Society. After novitiate in Moravia, he was ordained, and spent six years teaching rhetoric and philosophy at Prague’s Jesuit college. Pioneering the English Mission, he arrived in London in June 1580 disguised as a jewel merchant. His preaching caught the authorities’ attention, who believed his mission to be political and treasonous. Explaining his true intent in ‘A Challenge to the Privy Council’ (Campion's Brag), only made his position more difficult. Nevertheless he managed to minister to Catholics in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Lancashire. The hunt for Campion intensified following publication of his ‘Ten Reasons’, questioning Anglicanism’s validity. In July 1581 he was captured. Following imprisonment and torture he was convicted of treason, and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. The day of execution at Tyburn, 1 December 1581, is now his feast. He was canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales.
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