Saturday, December 1, 2012
Saint of the day: Edmund Campion
Edmund Campion was the son and namesake of a Catholic bookseller whose family converted to Anglicanism. He was born in London on Jan. 25, 1540. Edmund planned to enter his father’s trade, but earned a scholarship to Saint John’s College, Oxford. Queen Elizabeth offered him a diaconate in the Church of England. He declined the offer, fled to the continent, and joined the Jesuits, where he was ordained in 1578.
He spent some time working in Bohemia, then returned to London as part of a Jesuit mission, crossing the Channel disguised as a jewel merchant. There he served as the leader of the underground ministry to the persecuted Catholics. He wrote a description of his new mission in which he explained his work was religious, not political; it became known as Campion’s Brag. Widely distributed, it encouraged many Catholics to remain loyal to their faith. It also led to Edmund’s arrest, imprisonment and torture in the Tower of London, and martyrdom.
He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn and died on December 1, 1581. He was beatified on December 9, 1886 by Pope Leo XIII and cannonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Marytrs of England and Wales.