Church to honor life of Reformation martyr

Church to honor life of Reformation martyr

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On March 10, the universal Church will celebrate the life of Saint John Ogilvie, a former Calvinist who was martyred in Scotland during the Protestant Reformation.

St. John Ogilvie was born of a noble Scottish family in 1579 and was raised a Calvinist. The wealth of his family allowed him to be educated on the continent, and there he became exposed to the religious conflict of the Reformation and Counter Reformation.

After studying both sides he decided to become a Catholic, in part because of his respect for the martyrs and saints. St. John attended a variety of Catholic educational institutions and soon discovered a call to join the Jesuits. After his admission to the Society, John petitioned to return to Scotland and work to convert its citizens.

John's petition was accepted, and he began his work, focusing on the conversion of members of the nobility.  However, he was met with great resistance and went back to mainland Europe.

After a brief rest, he returned to Scotland to engage and convert the common people. He was greatly successful, but found many enemies in Protestant England. Eventually he was betrayed and turned into the authorities as a Catholic and insurrectionist. After a long imprisonment in which he was repeatedly tortured, St. John was tried on the charges of treason and was convicted after three trials.

While in captivity, he refused to reveal the names of other Catholics. The saint was martyred in 1615 at the age of 36 after he was sentenced to death by hanging.

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