Thursday, 10 March 2016

St John Ogilvie A Reading about


10/03/2016 20:29
John Ogilvie _ March 10 1982
A Reading about St John Ogilvie
Adapted from Butlers Lives of the Saints (Thurston Edition, 1942) March, pp. 179-184.

John Ogilvie was born in 1579 near Keith in Banffshire. The Ogilvie family, like many Scottish families at that time, was partly Catholic and partly Presbyterian,
but John's father, though not unfriendly to the old faith, brought his eldest son up
as a Calvinist, and as such sent him at the age of thirteen to be educated on the Continent. There John became interested in the religious controversies which were popular in France. The best Catholic and Calvinist protagonists took part in these disputations, which profoundly influenced the intellectual world. John Ogilvie became confused and uncertain, but he came to fasten on two texts of Scripture:
"God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," and, "Come to me all you who suffer and are burdened, and I will refresh you." He began to see that the Catholic Church embraced all kinds of people and in her alone could be found men and women of every class. These reflections and the testimony of the martyrs decided him. To belong to the Church of the martyrs he became a Catholic and was received at the Scots College in Louvain in 1596, at the age of seventeen.

He spent the next three years in various educational establishments. Six months of this period was spent with the Scottish Benedictines at Ratisbon, studying the arts. Then at the age of twenty he went to a Jesuit college; he later joined the Society of Jesus, was ordained priest and eventually found his way, after repeated requests, back to his native Scotland. He set to work trying to win back his fellow countrymen to the Catholic faith. Most of his work was concentrated around Edinburgh, Glasgow and Renfrewshire. But his time was short. His missionary efforts lasted for less than a year. It was when he was attempting to meet someone who claimed to be interested in becoming a Catholic that he was betrayed to archbishop Spottiswoode, a former Presbyterian minister and who was now one of the King's most capable lieutenants.

For five months John Ogilvie was subjected to continual harassment, humiliation, interrogation and torture. He bore all of this with equanimity, courage and even humour. His spirit could not be broken, and he was able to hold his own in the involved religious and political questions they put to him in an attempt to trap him. After his second trial John Ogilvie seems to have been treated more kindly. The heroism he had shown in prison had been reported far and wide throughout the country, and even his keepers, including the archbishop, hoped that he would recant and accept the royal supremacy. Soon, however, a questionnaire was presented to him which came from King James himself, dealing with the relations between Church and State. To these John Ogilvie could only return answers which practically sealed his fate. Although his treatment in prison grew more rigorous, he continued to write an account of his arrest and experiences in prison which he had begun earlier, and he managed to smuggle the sheets of paper to friends outside.

John Ogilvie was eventually sentenced to death for high treason. But even on the gallows he was offered his freedom and honours ifhe would renounce his religion. "For that, he said, "I am prepared to give even a hundred lives." On this day, therefore, the 10th of March, 1615, John Ogilvie was martyred for his faith. Cornelius a Lapide, the young professor who taught John Ogilvie in Louvain, wrote proudly in later years that Ogilvie had been his catechumen but became a martyr worthy to take his place with the martyrs of the early persecutions

Adapted from Butlers Lives of the Saints (Thurston Edition, 1942) March, pp. 179-184.