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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Blessed John Woodcock, Franciscan, 1646


On hearing his sentence he was filled with inexpressible joy and exclaimed, "Praise be to God ; God be thanked." FF. Bamber and Whitaker, two secular priests, were condemned at the same time. The following night Father Woodcock spent in prayer and joyful contem­plation. At the dawn of day, August 7th, he and his two companions were led out in the usual way to execution. An immense and noisy crowd fol­lowed them with abuse and insult. The Catholics who were present were greatly edified and con­soled, and not a few Protestants were astonished at their constancy. Father Woodcock was the first to mount the ladder. After he had said a few words on the Catholic and Roman faith he was cast off, but by some accident,or through the carelessness of the executioner, the rope broke and he fell to the ground. He was stunned for a moment, but quickly recovered himself and rose to his feet unhurt. At the Sheriff's order he mounted the ladder again, and, after being thus hanged a second time, he was cut down and butchered alive. As the executioner's hand was within his body, " Jesus " broke from his lips.

" Thy dead men shall live, my slain shall rise again : awake and give praise, ye that dwell in the dust : for thy dew is the dew of the light: and the land of the giants thou shalt pull down into ruin."—ISA. xxvi. 19.

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