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Ven. Edmund Arrowsmith

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English martyr, born in 1585 at Haddock; executed at Lancaster, 23 August, 1628. He is of great reputation for the numerous favours, spiritual and temporal, which are won through his "Holy Hand", still preserved as an object of veneration in the church of St. Oswald, Ashton, near the martyr's birthplace. His parents suffered much for their religion, and the future martyr was once, when a child, left shivering in his night-clothes by the pursuivants, who carried his parents off to Lancaster jail. He entered Douai College in 1605, but ill-health compelled him to interrupt his studies; he was, however, ordained priest in 1612. Lancashire was the scene of his missionary labours and he was eminent for "fervour, zeal and ready wit." Apprehended, probably in 1622, he was brought before Bridgeman, Protestant Bishop of Chester, and had a lively discussion with him and his ministers. Regaining his liberty he entered the Society of Jesus in 1623, and made his noviceship on the Mission, retiring to Essex for a spiritual retreat. He was eventually betrayed by false brethren, tried at Lancaster in 1628, and was found guilty of high treason for being a Jesuit priest and a seducer in religion. His fellow-prisoner, Father John Southworth , afterwards a martyr, absolved him as he went forth to undergo the usual butchery.

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