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William Thomson, of Blackburn, England, went abroad to study for the priesthood and was ordained at Reims, France around the age of twenty-four. After returning to England, he served the persecuted Catholics of his country in and around London, taking as his alias the name of his native place, Blackburn. Father Thomson's apostolate came to an abrupt end early in 1586. That day, he was celebrating Mass in a London home in the presence of two young men, William Heigham and Roger Line, both of whom had suffered disinheritance for having converted to the Catholic faith. Roger had recently married William's sister, (Blessed) Anne, who was also a convert and was to suffer a martyr's death fifteen years later. While Father Thomson was at the altar, government agents raided the house and arrested the three men. William and Roger were imprisoned. For his priesthood, Father Thomson was sentenced to death by drawing and quartering, suffering together with another priest, (Blessed) Richard Sergeant, at the London execution site of Tyburn on April 20, 1586.
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By Deacon Keith Fournier
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