The One Hundred and Five Martyrs of Tyburn – 7 September 1644

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Venerable Ralph Corby, priest, S.J.
Venerable John Duckett, secular priest

While yet a student at Douai, Ralph Corby was much given to mental prayer, passing long nights in heavenly communications. He belonged to a very religious family. His father and two brothers became Jesuits, and his mother and two sisters entered the Order of Saint Benedict. In the second year after Ralph Corby’s return to England, when on his way to baptize two children, he was captured by some Parliament soldiers and committed to prison on account of his priesthood. He was sent to London to be tried at the same time as John Duckett.

Venerable John Duckett was born at Underwinder, in Yorkshire, in 1613, and was made priest in 1639. It was on the Feast of the Visitation of Our Lady that he was apprehended. He was taken to London, together with Father Corby, and the two confessors, having been condemned, were taken back to prison to “wait for that blessed and happy Saturday which is the Vigil of Her glorious nativity.” When hopes were given that the life of one of them might be saved, neither was willing to accept the offer at the expense of the other. Venerable John Duckett had often testified that ” ever since he was a priest he did much fear to live but nothing fear to die.” Arrived at Tyburn, the Martyrs embraced each other and kissed the rope and gallows, dying most joyfully for the love of their Saviour and for the cause of their religion. John Duckett was thirty, and Ralph Corby forty-six years of age.

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