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Saturday, July 05, 2014

+ Blessed GEORGE NICOLS, Priest, 1589


BORN at Oxford, he was ordained at Rheims, and sent on the Mission, 1583. Oxford was the chief scene of his labours, and they bore fruit in abundance. Amongst the souls he won to God was that of a noted highwayman under sentence of death in Oxford Castle. 

Through the conversation of his Catholic fellow-prisoners he became thoroughly contrite, and longed to be able to make his confession. On the very morning of his execution Father Nicols came to the jail with a crowd of other persons, and, passing for a kinsman and acquaintance of the prisoner, after mutual salutations took him aside, heard his confession, for which he had carefully prepared the night before, and gave him Absolution. The prisoner, now wonderfully comforted, declared himself a Catholic, was deaf to all the persuasions of the minister to return to Protestantism, and suffered joyfully professing the faith. Father Nicols and Father Yaxley, his companion, were sent up to London with legs tied under the horses' bellies, being insulted all along the route. An Oxford undergraduate, who from compassion attended them on their journey, was confined for some time in Bedlam as insane. The priests were sent back to Oxford, and executed July 1, 1589.

" So the last shall be first and the first last, for many are called but few chosen."—MATT. xx. 16.

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