Wednesday, February 12, 2003

12 FEBRUARY

. . . in the traditional Roman rite is the feast of the seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order, "The Order of the Servants of Mary".

This is also the day on which the Venerable George Haydock was martyred at Tyburn. According to Bowden’s Mementoes of the Martyrs, Haydock “was the son of Evan Haydock, the representative of an old family of Cottam Hall, Lancashire; his mother was Helen Westby. When on her deathbed, to console her sorrowing husband she pointed, with the infant George in her arms, to the motto embroidered at the foot of the bed, Tristitia vestra in gaudium vertetur, ‘Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.’ But the joy prophesied was not to be of this world. The widowed husband, seeing how persecution was ravaging the Church in England, to offer some reparation made over his property to his son William, and went over to Douay with the two others, Richard and George, all three to be trained for the priesthood. Richard after varied missionary work died in Rome, and George returned to England as a priest in January 1581, and was betrayed on arriving by an old tenant of his father’s who had apostatized. The aged father had, early on the previous All Souls’ day, when about to celebrate Mass, seemed to see his son’s severed head above the altar, and to hear the words, ‘Tristitia vestra. . . .’; swooning away, he gave back his soul to God to find his sorrow turned to joy.

“Arrested as a priest in February 1582 in St. Paul’s Churchyard, Haydock was confined in the Tower, where he was robbed of all his money, and suffered much from the hardships of his imprisonment, and from the malaria that he had contracted in Italy. A year later, he was sentenced to death for having been made priest by the pope’s authority beyond the seas. It was the feast day of his patroness, St. Dorothy, virgin and martyr, and he marked it in the calendar of his breviary, which he left to Dr. Richard Creagh, archbishop of Armagh, then a prisoner in the Tower. But to his sorrow he heard that the queen had changed her mind, and that he was not to die. His confessor, however, told him that these rumours were spread abroad only to represent the queen as averse from these cruelties, and to remove any odium from her, as if they were extorted from her against her inclination. The falseness of the rumour was proved by the event. George Haydock without a sign of any pardon, was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyrubrn on 12 February 1584, together with Blesseds James Fenn, John Nutter, John Munden, and Thomas Hemerford. It was by the name of Thomas Hemerford and his companions that the cause of the group of English and Welsh martyrs beatified in 1929 was distinguished; of him but little is known.”

Ven. George Haydock’s life and passion are also described here. There is a moving account of his execution at that link.