As a child I was convinced that one day God would give me the grace of martyrdom. When quite small I read and re-read every martyr’s life in the twelve volumes of Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and longed and prayed to be a martyr, and I have often done so ever since. As years went on, the desire grew in intensity, and even now the sufferings of the martyrs, their pictures, and everything connected with their death, have a strange fascination for me and help me much.
COMMENT: The feast of St Oliver Plunkett is celebrate tomorrow, but since tomorrow is also the feast of the Sacred Heart we will instead remember St Oliver today on this website.
St Oliver Plunkett was the last Catholic martyr of Tyburn and, incidentally, the last canonised Irishman. He was Archbishop of Armagh, and returned to Ireland from Rome at a difficult time for his country. He endured great trials in his attempts to organise and reform the Church in his diocese.
I can find no mention of St Oliver in Fr Doyle’s writings, but it is practically certain that he would have had great interest in his life, especially since his beatification cause was nearing completion during Fr Doyle’s life.
On this day we should pray for the Church in Ireland which suffers so much at this time.
For those who wish to see Fr Doyle recognised more formally by the Church, it also consoling to remember that St Oliver, a heroic martyr, died in 1681 and was only beatified in 1920 and canonised in 1975.
More information about St Oliver can be found at http://www.saintoliverplunkett.com/