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Ven. Henry Morse



Martyr; b. in 1595 in Norfolk; d. at Tyburn, 1 Feb., 1644. He was received into the church at Douai, 5 June, 1614, after various journeys was ordained at Rome, and left for the mission, 19 June, 1624. He was admitted to the Society of Jesus at Heaton; there he was arrested and imprisoned for three years in York Castle, where he made his novitiate under his fellow prisoner, Father John Robinson, S.J., and took simple vows. Afterwards he was a missionary to the English regiments in the Low Countries. Returning to England at the end of 1633 he laboured in London, and in 1636 is reported to have received about ninety Protestant families into the Church. He himself contracted the plague but recovered. Arrested 27 February, 1636, he was imprisoned in Newgate. On 22 April he was brought to the bar charged with being a priest and having withdrawn the king's subjects from their faith and allegiance. He was found guilty on the first count, not guilty on the second, and sentence was deferred. On 23 April he made his solemn profession of the three vows to Father Edward Lusher. He was released on bail for 10,000 florins, 20 June, 1637, at the insistence of Queen Henriette Maria. In order to free his sureties he voluntarily went into exile when the royal proclamation was issued ordering all priests to leave the country before 7 April, 1641, and became chaplain to Gage's English regiment in the service of Spain. In 1643 he returned to England; arrested after about a year and a half he was imprisoned at Durham and Newcastle, and sent by sea to London. On 30 January he was again brought to the bar and condemned on his previous conviction. On the day of his execution his hurdle was drawn by four horses and the French ambassador attended with all his suite, as also did the Count of Egmont and the Portuguese Ambassador. The martyr was allowed to hang until he was dead. At the quartering the footmen of the French Ambassador and of the Count of Egmont dipped their handkerchiefs into the martyr's blood. In 1647 many persons possessed by evil spirits were relieved through the application of his relics.

FOLEY, Records of the English Province S.J. (London, 1877-1883), I, 566-611; IV, 288-9; VII, 528, 658, 1198, 1200; CAHLLONER, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, II (Manchester, 1803), 151-1; TANNER, Societas Jesu (Prague, 1675), 126-131; HAMILTON, Calendar State Papers Domestic 1640-1 (London, 1882), 292.

John B. Wainewright.








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