Blessed Willam Ward was born William Webster in mid-16th century England. He was raised Protestant and converted to Catholicism in Spain, after having traveled there with a friend. He returned to England, where he successfully converted his mother. There, he was also frequently imprisoned for his faith.
At 40, he went to Belgium to study for the priesthood. As a Secular Franciscan, he took the name Fr. Wiliam Ward and traveled to Scotland where he was imprisoned for three years. He worked in London for the next 30 years, secretly ministering to the Catholic population and to the poor. He was eventually betrayed by a priest-hunter and sentenced to death. He died July 15, 1641. He is said to have died uttering the words: "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, receive my soul!".
He was beatified in 1929 with another 162 English martyrs.