St. Oliver Plunkett


 
Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 07/01


Patron Of: Archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland

Also known as
    Oileabhéar Pluincéad

Memorial
    1 July
    10 July in some part of Ireland

Profile
    Irish nobility whose family supported King Charles I, and the fight for national freedeom. Educated by Jesuits at the newly established Irish College, and in Rome. Ordained in Rome in 1654. Professor of theology from 1654 through 1669. Procurator for Irish bishops. Bishop of Meath, Ireland. Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland in 1669. Primate of all Ireland. Established the Jesuits in Drogheda, where they ran a school for boys, and a college for theology students. Extended his ministry to Gaelic speaking Catholics of the highlands and the isles of Scotland. Forced to conduct a covert ministry during the suppression of priests.

    Arrested and tried at Dundalk in 1679 for conspiring against the state by plotting to bring 20,000 French soldiers into the country, and for leveling a tax on his clergy to support 70,000 men for rebellion. Lord Shaftesbury knew that Oliver would never be convicted in Ireland, and had him moved to Newgate prison, London. The first grand jury found no true bill, but he was not released. The second trial was a kangaroo court; Lord Campbell, writing of the judge, Sir Francis Pemberton, called it a disgrace to himself and his country. Plunkett was found guilty of high treason "for promoting the Catholic faith," and was condemned to a gruesome death. He was the last Catholic to die for his faith at Tyburn, and the first of the Irish martyrs to be beatified.

Born
    30 September 1629 at Loughenew, County Meath, Ireland

Died
    hanged, drawn, and quartered on 1 July 1681 at Tyburn, England
    body initially buried in two tin boxes next to five Jesuits who had died before
    his head is in Saint Peter’s Church at Drogheda, Ireland
    most of his body is at Downside Abbey, England
    some relics in other churches in Ireland

Venerated
    17 March 1918

Beatified
    21 May 1920 by Pope Benedict XV at Rome, Italy

Canonized
    12 October 1975 by Pope Paul VI at Rome, Italy

Patronage
    archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland



All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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