- Edmund Campion
name=Saint Edmund Campion
death_date=death date and age|1581|12|1|1540|1|24|mf=y
Roman Catholic Church
caption=Portrait of St. Edmund Campion
December 9 1886
Pope Leo XIII
October 25 1970
Pope Paul VI
prayer=And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league - all the Jesuits in the world - cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted; so it must be restored.
prayer_attrib=-Edmund Campion, from Campion's Brag
SaintEdmund Campion, S.J. ( January 24 1540– December 1 1581) was an English Jesuitpriest and martyr.
Early years and education (1540–1569)
Londonon January 24 1540, Campion received his early education at Christ's Hospital, and, as the best of the London scholars, was chosen in their name to make the complimentary speech when Queen Mary visited the city. He then attended St John's College, Oxford, becoming a fellow in 1557 and taking the Oath of Supremacyon the occasion of his degree in 1564. When Sir Thomas White, the founder of the college, was buried in 1567, the Latinoration fell to the lot of Campion.
Two years later he welcomed Queen Elizabeth to the university, and won her lasting regard. He was chosen amongst the scholars to lead a public debate in front of the queen. By the time the Queen had left Oxford, Campion had earned the patronage of the powerful
William Ceciland also the Earl of Leicester, tipped by some to be future husband of the young Queen. People were now talking of Campion in terms of being a future Archbishop of Canterbury, in the newly established Anglican Church.
Religious difficulties now arose; but at the persuasion of Richard Cheyney,
Bishop of Gloucester, although holding Catholic doctrines, he received deacon's orders in the Anglican Church. Inwardly "he took a remorse of conscience and detestation of mind." Rumours of his opinions began to spread and he left Oxford in 1569 and went to Irelandto take part in a proposed establishment of the University of Dublin.
Campion was appointed tutor to
Richard Stanihurst, son of the Speaker of the Irish parliament, and attended the first session of the House of Commons, which included the prorogation. Campion was transferred by Stanihurst's arrangement to the house of Patrick Barnewall at Turvey in the Pale, which he acknowledged saved him from arrest and torture by the Protestant party in Dublin. For some three months he eluded his pursuers, going by the name Mr. Patrick and occupying himself by writing a history of Ireland.
In 1571, Campion left Ireland in secret and escaped to
Douaiin the Low Countries (now France) where he was reconciled to the Catholic Church and received the Eucharistthat he had denied himself for the last 12 years. He entered the English College founded by William Allen, another Oxfordreligious refugee. The College's intake grew dramatically and a little after Campion's arrival a papal subsidy was granted.
The object of the college was primarily to supply priests for the Catholic population in England, as all of the bishops were now either dead, exiled or under detention and thus impeded from ordaining new priests. The Queen's principal secretary, Sir
William Cecil, expected that in a few years time the 'Marian Priests', ordained during the reign of Queen Mary I would begin to die out.
It was also a centre of intellectual excellence. Here the famous
Douai Biblewas produced, in advance of the King James Version. Campion found himself reunited with many of his old Oxfordfriends. He was to teach rhetoric while there and finish studying for the degree of Bachelor of Divinity, granted him by the University of Douaion January 21 1573.
Douaiwas more than just a seminary, and became a rallying point for exiled English Catholics. Important political visitors were reported to come to see Cardinal Allen under cover of darkness. As a result, the Crown reputedly sent spies to the institution, some of whom feigned conversion to Catholicism, and even became priests. Fact|date=April 2008
Having obtained his degree, Campion decided to answer a growing call within him and left for
Rome, travelling on foot and alone in the guise of a poor pilgrim. In that same year he entered a novitiate with the Jesuits, and spent some years in Viennaand Prague.
Mission to England (1580–1581)
In 1580, the Jesuit mission to England began. Campion accompanied
Robert Personswho, as superior, was intended to counterbalance his own fervour and impetuousness. He had been reluctant to follow the father general's order to take part in the mission, the members of which were instructed to avoid the company of boys and women, and to avoid giving the impression of being legacy hunters. Before embarking, the members of the mission were embarrassed to receive news of a landing by papal sponsored forces in the Irish province of Munsterin support of the Irish rebel James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald. They also learned that a letter detailing their party and mission had been intercepted and that they were expected in England.
Campion finally entered England in the guise of a jewel merchant. He arrived in London on
June 24 1580, and at once began to preach. His presence became known to the authorities, and the diffusion of the challenge he threw down in the form of a declaration, known as the "Challenge to the Privy Council" to his allies and as "Campion's Brag" to his enemies, made his position more difficult. He led a hunted life, preaching and ministering to Catholics in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, and Lancashire.
During this time he was writing his "Decem Rationes" ("Ten Reasons"), a rhetorical display of reasons against the
Anglican Church. The book was printed in a clandestine press at Stonor Park, Henley, and 400 copies were found on the benches of St Mary's, Oxford, at the Commencement, on June 27, 1581. It caused great sensation, and the hunt for Campion was stepped up. On his way to Norfolk, he stopped at Lyford, then in Berkshire, where he preached on July 14and the following day, by popular request. Here, he was captured by a spy and taken to London with his arms pinioned and bearing on his hat a paper with the inscription, "Campion, the Seditious Jesuit".
Trial and execution
Committed to the
Tower of London, he was questioned in the presence of Elizabeth, who asked him if he acknowledged her to be the true Queen of England. He replied in the affirmative, and she offered him wealth and dignities, but on condition of rejecting his Catholic faith, which he refused to accept. He was kept a long time in prison, twice racked (by order of the Council but certainly with Elizabeth's consent), and every effort was made to shake his defiance. Despite the effect of a false rumour of retraction and a forged confession, his adversaries summoned him to four public conferences (September 1 18, 23 and 27 1581). Although still suffering from his ill treatment, and allowed neither time nor books for preparation, he reportedly conducted himself so easily and readily that he won the admiration of most of the audience. Tortured again on October 31, he was indicted at Westminsteron a charge of having conspired, along with others, in Rome and Reimsto raise a sedition in the realm and dethrone the Queen.
Campion was sentenced to death as a traitor. He answered "In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all our ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England -- the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter". He received the death sentence with the "
Te Deum laudamus". After spending his last days in prayer he was led with two companions to Tyburn and hanged, drawn and quarteredon December 1 1581, aged 41.
The ropes used in his execution are now kept in glass display tubes at
Stonyhurst Collegein Lancashire; each year they are placed on the altar of St Peter's Church for mass to celebrate Campion's feast day. [T.E. Muir, "Stonyhurst College"]
Robert Persons(Jesuit priest)
* Richard Simpson's biography, "Edmund Campion" (1867).
Evelyn Waugh's biography, "Edmund Campion" (1935).
* A complete list of his works in De Backer's "Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jesus".
Campion Hall, Oxford, England
St. Edmund Campion Secondary School, Brampton, Ontario, Canada
* [http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/CAMBRAG.HTM "Campion's Brag" or "Challenge to the Privy Council"]
* [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/13133 "Decem Rationes" e-text from
*gutenberg author| id=Edmund+Campion | name=Edmund Campion
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05293c.htm "Catholic Encyclopedia": Blessed Edmund Campion]
* [http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hadland/tvp/tvp8.htm "The Press at Stonor"] Extract from "Thames Valley Papists" detailing St Edmund Campion's activities, arrest and execution
* [http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hadland/tvp/tvpcontents.htm Thames Valley Papists] "from Reformation to Emancipation 1534 - 1829" by Tony Hadland (published 1992 in hard copy as ISBN 0950743143, electronic version of 2001 added illustrations).
enmund campion is also a form saint for st bedes rc high school ormskirk
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