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Bl. William Ireland

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Birth: 1636
Death: 1679
Beatified By: Beatified in 1929

Father William Ireland, of Lincolnshire, England, was one of several Jesuit priests falsely accused of plotting against King Charles II by Titus Oates, a former Jesuit student intent upon revenge after being expelled from several Jesuit colleges. On the basis of Oates' perjury, Father Ireland was condemned to death. After being brought to the London execution site of Tyburn, Father Ireland told the onlookers, "As for the Catholics that are here, we desire their prayers for a happy passage into a better world... And as for all our enemies, we earnestly desire that God would pardon them... and so I beseech all good people to pray for us and with us." He was put to death by drawing and quartering together with a layman, Blessed John Grove. Following their execution, those gathering Father Ireland's mutilated remains discovered a humanly inexplicable phenomenon: on one lung of the martyred priest was found a miraculously formed exact portrait of him. Moreover, several Protestants as well as Catholics experienced miraculous cures wrought through the devout use of handkerchiefs that had been dipped in Father Ireland's blood.


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