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Edmund Campion - A Life

Item Number: 20419

Catalog Code: ECAMP-P

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Edmund Campion - A Life

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Edmund Campion - A Life
by Evelyn Waugh


Evelyn Waugh presented his biography of St. Edmund Campion, the Elizabethan poet, scholar and gentleman who became the haunted, trapped and murdered priest as “a simple, perfectly true story of heroism and holiness.”

But it is written with a novelist's eye for the telling incident and with all the elegance and feeling of a master of English prose. From the years of success as an Oxford scholar, to entry into the newly founded Society of Jesus and a professorship in Prague, Campion's life was an inexorable progress towards the doomed mission to England. There followed pursuit, betrayal, a spirited defense of loyalty to the Queen, and a horrifying martyr’s death at Tyburn.


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St. Edmund Campion

Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 12/01

Also known as
    The Pope's Champion

    1 December
    25 October as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

    Son of a Catholic bookseller named Edmund whose family converted to Anglicanism. The boy planned to enter his father's trade, but earned a scholarship to Saint John’s College, Oxford under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth I's court favorite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Sought after speaker. Queen Elizabeth offered him a deaconate in the Church of England. He declined the offer, fled to the continent, and joined the Jesuits. Ordained in 1578.

    He spent some time working in Bohemia, then returned to London as part of a Jesuit mission, crossing the Channel disguised as a jewel merchant, and worked with Jesuit brother Saint Nicholas Owen. There he wrote a description of his new mission in which he explained his work was religious, not political; it became known as Campion’s Brag. Widely distributed, it encouraged many Catholics to remain loyal to their faith. It also led to Edmund's arrest, imprisonment and torture in the Tower of London, and martyrdom.

    24 January 1540 at London, England

    hanged, drawn, and quartered on 1 December 1581 at Tyburn, England; parts of his body were displayed at each of the four city gates as a warning to other Catholics; relics at Rome, Prague, London, Oxford, Stonyhurst, and Roehampton

    9 December 1886 by Pope Leo XIII

    May 1970 by Pope Paul VI; one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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