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John Grove, a layman, was the owner of a London home that functioned as a secret safe house for Jesuit priests ministering to England's persecuted Catholics. He attended to the practical needs of the Jesuits who were lodged under his roof. On September 28, 1678, Titus Oates, an ex-Jesuit student intent upon revenge after being expelled from several Jesuit colleges, raided the home together with a band of government troops. John Grove was apprehended along with two Jesuit priests, (Blesseds) William Ireland and John Fenwick, the Benedictine lay brother (Blessed) Thomas Pickering, and a physician named Fogarthy. The vengeful Oates falsely accused the priests, the lay brother, and Grove of plotting to assassinate King Charles II. Even though the king himself did not believe any such plot existed, Oates persuaded a jury to condemn to death Grove, Pickering, and Father Ireland (Father Fenwick was tried separately). Before dying by drawing and quartering at the London execution site of Tyburn, John Grove declared, "We are innocent; we lose our lives wrongfully; we pray God to forgive them that are the causers of it."
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By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
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