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Monday, September 29, 2014

+ Blessed WILLIAM SPENSER, Priest, 1589



BORN in the Craven district of York, he was educated by his maternal uncle, Horn, a Marian priest (Priest ordained in England before Elizabeth's reign.), at his benefice near Chipping Norton. He then entered Trinity College, Oxford, and became Fellow and Master of Arts in 1580. 

There, though outwardly conforming, he showed such zeal for the faith as to embitter the heretics and to win many youths by his instructions in Catholic doctrine. After two years thus living with a troubled conscience, he sought peace by leaving Oxford for Rheims, and in 1584 returned as a priest to England. His first care was the conversion of his parents, whom he contrived after much difficulty to meet in a field disguised as a labourer, with the result that they were both reconciled. His uncle also by his influence resigned his benefice, which he had only held by tampering with heresy, and found a home in a Catholic household He now devoted himself to the Catholic prisoners at York, and managed to secure a hiding-place with them in the Castle. After labouring with much fruit, he was arrested when on a journey and suffered with great constancy at York, September 27, 1589, thus washing out with his blood the heretical stains of his youth.

"Honour thy father and forget not the groanings of thy mother, and make a return to them as they have done for thee."—ECCLUS. vii. 29, 30.

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