Campion was the first & the most famous of the British Jesuit
martyrs, canonized as part of a group of martyrs of England & Wales
by Paul VI in 1970. Born of Catholic parents who converted to
Protestantism, Campion was a renowned scholar at Oxford. Ordained an
Anglican deacon, he began reading the Church Fathers & became
convinced that Catholicism is the true faith. He studied at the English
seminary at Douai in France & then became a Jesuit in Rome.
The Jesuit general wished to open a mission in England. Campion was one
of the first to be sent, disguising himself as a jewelry merchant to
cross the Channel. In London he wrote "The Brag," proclaiming
his return to England was for religious rather than political ends.
In July, 1581 he was betrayed by a professional
priest-hunter & brought to the Tower of London. Queen Elizabeth and
the Earl of Leicester attempted to persuade him to deny his faith. He
refused, was racked, & charged with invading England in order to
incite rebellion. Together with St. Alexander Briant, Campion was
hanged, disemboweled, beheaded & quartered on Dec 1, 1581.
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