The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn – 28 May 1582

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Blessed Thomas Forde, secular priest
Blessed Robert Johnson, secular priest
Blessed John Shert, secular priest

Blessed Thomas Forde, the first of these three Martyrs to enter the sharp, bitter conflict, was born in Devonshire and brought up at Trinity College, Oxford. Not liking the Protestant religion, he quitted all temporal prospects in order to become a seminary priest. He was apprehended with Father Campion and with him cast into the Tower. Six months after receiving his death sentence, together with his two companion Martyrs, he was drawn to Tyburn between 6 and 7 o’clock on that May morning. He died praying, “Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, esto mihi Jesus!”

Blessed Robert Johnson was born in Shropshire. In his youth he was a servant in a gentleman’s family. He later received Holy Orders at Douai. He was also one of those condemned with Father Campion, and at three different times was most cruelly racked.

Blessed John Shert was born in Cheshire. He was a convert, and at one time a noted London schoolmaster. Just before his own execution, seeing Blessed Thomas Forde hanged before him, he exclaimed: “O happy Thomas, happy art thou that thou hast run that happy race! O benedicta anima!” When forced to look on the last horrors inflicted on the poor mangled body, he repeated these words and was blamed for praying to one already dead, and again for asking the help of God’s Mother and His Saints. This he declared to be a doctrine sound and true which he would now sign with his blood. Then, thanking God for bringing his poor servant to so glorious and happy a death, the last of these three Martyrs won his palm.

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