Bl John Cornelius SJ 1557-94
Bl John Cornelius SJ 1557-94

John Cornelius SJ

Born in 1557 in Bodmin, Cornwall of Irish parentage, Cornelius he spent his childhood on the estate of Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, who paid for him to study at Oxford.  He then went to the seminary in Reims, and the English College in Rome, where he was chosen to give a Christmas sermon in the papal presence. In Rome he started to apply for membership of the Society. After his ordination in 1583 he was missioned to England, as a chaplain to the Arundell household. During his decade of ministry he was highly regarded for his preaching, his skill at exorcism and for his incorruptible nature. He often preached in the woods, attracting the faithful away from the more hazardous main roads.  He was arrested, tried and executed for “being a priest and coming into this kingdom and remaining here” in 1594, alongside four men who had helped him. On the gallows of Dorchester, he told the crowd that he had recently been accepted as a Jesuit. Sir Walter Raleigh had visited him in prison, consulting him on the Catholic faith. He was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius IX.