A group of 158 priests trained at the English College of Douai, in France. They were martyred in England and Wales during the century following the foundation of the famed college by Cardinal William Allen in 1568. All perished at the hands of English protestant authorities while labouring to reconvert the island. Simply being a Catholic priest was high treason in England at this time, with the penalty of hanging, drawing and quartering. Eighty alumni of Douai were beatified in 1929.
The English College at Douai was established by William Allen, later Cardinal, on Michaelmas Day, 29th September, 1568. It offered an opportunity to form clergy for England in accordance with the system laid down by the Council of Trent.
Originally it was intended as a college home for exiles from England, a place where they could continue their studies in a way no longer possible for Catholics at the English Universities. In time Allen recognised it’s potential as a place for training clergy ready for the return to England when ‘the new religion’ had run its course. The new priests, however, proved unwilling to wait for that event and quickly Douai College found itself dedicated very largely to the training of missionary priests.
Between 1577, the date of the martyrdom of St Cuthbert Mayne, the college’s protomartyr, and 1680, the date of the execution of Thomas Thwing, the college’s last martyr, one hundred and fifty eight college members, priests and layman, secular and religious, met with a martyr’s death.
The College was suppressed in 1793, and the collegians imprisoned for thirteen months at Doullens, Picardy. They were released in November 1794, returning to Douai for only a few months before obtaining permission to return to England. They found their first refuge at Old Hall Green, Ware, and dedicated the new work of the college to St Edmund of Canterbury on his feast day, November 16th, 1794. A full list of names is given below.
INTROIT Psalm 79:1
O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance, Thy holy temple have they defiled: and made Jerusalem a heap of stones. Ps 79;2 The dead bodies of Thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the air, and the flesh of Thy saints unto the beasts of the land. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Stir up in us, O Lord, the Spirit Whom Thy blessed Martyrs pf Douai served: that we, being filled with the same, may study to love that which they loved, and to perform in deed that which they taught. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
O God, Who from the beginning of our infant Church didst make us the Dowry of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and subject unto Peter the Prince of the Apostles: mercifully grant; that, in the steadfastness of the Catholic Faith, we may be enabled constantly to love the same most Blessed Virgin, and to remain in the obedience of Peter. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Hebrews 12:1-10.
Lesson from the Letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews. And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God. For think diligently upon him that endured such opposition from sinners against himself; that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds. For you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin: And you have forgotten the consolation, which speaketh to you, as unto children, saying: My son, neglect not the discipline of the Lord; neither be thou wearied whilst thou art rebuked by him. For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons; for what son is there, whom the father doth not correct? But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons. Moreover we have had fathers of our flesh, for instructors, and we reverenced them: shall we not much more obey the Father of spirits, and live? And they indeed for a few days, according to their own pleasure, instructed us: but he, for our profit, that we might receive his sanctification.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Ps 79:3-4
Their blood have they shed like water on every side of Jerusalem, and there was no man to bury them: we are become an open shame to our enemies, a very scorn and derision unto them that are round about us. V. O remember not our old sins, but had mercy upon us and that soon.
Alleluja, alleluja Ps 79:13 So we that are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture, shall give thanks forever. Alleluja.
GOSPEL St Luke 12: 1-8
At that time, he began to say to his disciples: Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed: nor hidden, that shall not be known. For whatsoever things you have spoken in darkness, shall be published in the light: and that which you have spoken in the ear in the chambers, shall be preached on the housetops. And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will shew you whom you shall fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows. And I say to you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Baruch 3:5-6
Remember not the iniquities of our fathers, but think upon thy hand, and upon thy name at this time: For thou art the Lord our God, and we will praise thee, O Lord.
Graciously harken, O Lord, unto the voices of Thy blessed Martyrs who cry from beneath Thine altar, and mercifully regard our oblations. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Most gracious God, Whose mercies are without number, graciously regard the oblation of this spotless host, at the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Peter, Prince of the Apostles: and so illumine the mind of this people and inflame their hearts, that they may constantly preserve in that Faith which worketh Charity. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Revelation 6: 9-11
I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord (holy and true) dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given to every one of them one; and it was said to them, that they should rest for a little time, till their fellow servants, and their brethren, who are to be slain, even as they, should be filled up.
O Lord, our God, Who hast refreshed us with this heavenly banquet: we beseech Thee; that by the intercession of Thy blessed Martyrs, we may be made worthy to attain unto their fellowship. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
O God, Who of old didst make our nation, the Dowry of the Blessed virgin Mary, glorious by reason of its faithfulness unto Peter the Apostle: by the power of this Sacrifice; strengthen it in the love of the same Blessed Virgin Mary, and in obedience to the Apostolic See. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Names of The Blessed Martyrs of Douai
John Nelson, Thomas Sherwood
Everard Hanse, Edmund Campion, Ralph Sherwin, Alexander Briant
John Payne, Thomas Ford, John Shert, Robert Johnson, William Fylby, Luke Kirby, Laurence Richardson, Thomas Cottam, William Lacy, Richard Kirkman, James Hudson Thompson
William Hart, Richard Thirkeld, John Slade, John Bodey
George Haydock, James Fenn, Thomas Hemerford, John Nutter, John Munden
Thomas Alfield, Hugh Taylor
Edward Stranchan, Nicholas Woodfen, Richard Sergeant, William Thomson, Robert Anderton. William Marsden, Francis Ingolby, John Finglow, John Sandys, John Lowe, John Adams, Richard Dibdale
Thomas Pilchard, Edmund Sykes, Robert Sutton, Stephen Rousham, John Hambley, Alexander Crow
Nicholas Garlick, Robert Ludlam, Richard Sympson, William Dean, William Gunter, Robert Morton, Hugh More, Thomas Holford, James Claxton, Thomas Felton, Robert Wilcox, Edward Campion, Christopher Buxton, Ralph Crocket, Edward James, John Robinson, William Hartley, John Hewett, Robert Leigh, William Way, Edward Burden
John Amias, Robert Dalby, George Nichols, Richard Vaxley, Thomas Belson, William Spenser
Christopher Bales, Miles Gerard, Francis Dickinson, Edward Jones, Anthony Middleton, Edmund Duke, Richard Hill, John Hogg, Richard Holiday
Robert Thorpe, Momford Scott, George Beesley, Roger Dickinson, Edmund Genings, Eustace White, Polydore Plasden
William Patenson, Thomas Pormont
Edward Waterson, James Bird, Anthony Page, Joseph Lampton, William Davies
William Harrington, John Cornelius, John Boste, John Ingram, Edward Osbaldeston
Robert Southwell, Alexander Rawlins, Henry Walpole, William Freeman
Peter Snow, Christopher Robinson, Richard Horner
Christopher Wharton, Thomas Sprott, Robert Nutter, Edward Thwing, Thomas Palasor
John Pibush, Mark Barkworth, Roger Filcock, Thurston Hunt
James Harrison, Thomas Tichborne, Robert Watkinson, Francis Page
Matthew Flathers, George Gervase
Roger Cadwallador, George Napier, Thomas Somers
Richard Newport, John Almond
Thomas Atkinson, John Thulis, Thomas Maxfield, Thomas Tunstal
William Ward, Ambrose Edward Barlow
Thomas Reynolds, Alban Roe, John Lockwood, Edmund Catherick, Edward Morgan, Hugh Green
Henry Morse, John Goodman
Nicholas Postgate, John Wall, John Kemble