The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn – 13 June 1573


Blessed Thomas Woodhouse, priest, S.J.

He was a parish priest in Lincolnshire during the reign of Queen Mary. After her death, when the persecution against Catholics recommenced, he was arrested while saying Mass. He had many privileges in prison, being allowed to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice daily in his cell. It was during his imprisonment that he sought admission into the Society of Jesus.

As his sufferings increased, so did his contentment, and whenever anyone brought him news that he was to be racked or have more iron chains laid on him, he rewarded the bearer of the tidings to the best of his power. When Blessed J. Storey was about to be executed, Father Woodhouse offered his life in his stead.

After an imprisonment of eleven years, he received sentence of death. On the way back to Newgate from the Guildhall, when one struck him rudely on the face, he said: “Would to God I might for thee suffer ten times as much that thou mightest go free for the blow thou hast given me. I forgive thee and pray God to forgive thee, even as I would be forgiven.”

At Tyburn, when the Sheriff told him there was yet time to repent, and ordered him to ask pardon of God. the Queen, and the country, he answered: “Nay, I, on the part of God, demand of you and the Queen that you ask pardon of God, and of Mother Church, because, contrary to the truth, you have resisted Christ the Lord, and the Pope, His Vicar on earth.”

MLA Citation