Blessed Peter Higgins

Today I went to A Day To Honor Our Blessed Mother Queen of the Holy Rosary, at Providence College Priory.  The special speaker was Father James Cuddy, O.P.

He was excellent.  I enjoyed listening to his voice.  It was strong, clear, distinct, sharp.  His content was interesting.  He certainly loves our Blessed Mother.

I could post about Father's sermon.  But instead, I learned about a new martyr, and I want to tell you about him.  While walking to the refectory, I passed some famous Dominicans.  This picture is one I didn't know.  It's Blessed Peter Higgins.

In 1655, Father Higgins was brought before the Lords Justices of Ireland, charged with proselytizing Protestants from their religion.  They offered him a deal--apostatize and save your life.
He was on his way up the steps to the scaffold when he was handed a paper he was to sign.

He didn't.  Instead, he read it aloud and denounced the lord Justices of Ireland.  "Knowing well that there were Catholics in the crowd, he said addressing them:- 'My brethren, God hath so willed that I shonld fall into the hands of our relentless persecutors. They have not been able, however, to convict me of any crime against the laws of the realm; but my religion is an abomination in their sight, and I am here to-day to protest, in the sight of God and man, that I am condemned for my faith. For some time, I was in doubt as to the charge on which they would ground my condemnation; but, thanks to Heaven! it is no longer so, and I am about to suffer for my attachment to the Catholic faith. See you here the condition on which I might save my life. Apostacy is all they require but, before high Heaven I spurn their offers and, with my last breath, will glorify God for the honour He has done me in allowing me thus to suffer for His Name.' Then, turning to the executioner, after having cast the Justices autograph to the crowd, he told him to perform his office, and the by-standers heard him returning thanks to God, even with his latest breath. Thus did iniqnity lie unto itself - thus did the martyr's constancy triumph." (From History of the Geraldines by Dominick de Rosario O'Daly, O.P., originally written in Latin, and printed at Lisbon in 1655; translated by Rev. C.P. Meehan, and printed in Dublin in 1847. See also De Burgh's Hib. Dom., page 561.)

What I can't get out of my mind is the description of his dead body.  His body wasn't allowed to be buried in Dublin.  So his friends carried him outside the city walls to be buried.  The partisans of the Lord Justices shattered his lifeless head with their muskets.

Acta Capituli Generalissimi.  Romae, 1644, p. 119.


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