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St. John Twenge



Last English saint canonized, canon regular, Prior of St. Mary's, Bridlington, b. near the town, 1319; d. at Bridlington, 1379. He was of the Yorkshire family Twenge, which family in Reformation days supplied two priest-martyrs and was also instrumental in establishing the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (q. v.) at Bar Convent, York. John completed his studies at Oxford and then entered the Priory of Bridlington. Charged successively with various offices in the community, he was finally despite his reluctance elected prior, which office he held until his death. Even in his lifetime he enjoyed a reputation for great holiness and for miraculous powers. On one occasion he changed water into wine. On another, five seamen from Hartlepool in danger of shipwreck called upon God in the name of His servant, John of Bridlington, whereupon the prior himself appeared to them in his canonical habit and brought them safely to shore. After his death the fame of the miracles wrought by his intercession spread rapidly through the land. Archbishop Neville charged his suffragans and others to take evidence with a view to his canonization, 26 July, 1386; and the same prelate assisted by the Bishops of Durham and Carlisle officiated at a solemn translation of his body, 11 March, 1404, de mandato Domini Papae. This pope, Boniface IX, shortly afterwards canonized him. The fact has been doubted and disputed; but the original Bull was recently unearthed in the Vatican archives by Mr. T.A. Twemlow, who was engaged in research work there for the British Government. St. John was especially invoked by women in cases of difficult confinement. At the Reformation the people besought the royal plunderer to spare the magnificent shrine of the saint, but in vain; it was destroyed in 1537. The splendid nave of the church, restored in 1857, is all that now remains of Bridlington Priory. The saint's feast is observed by the canons regular on 9 October.

BUTLER, Lives of the Saints; GASQUET, Henry VIII and the English Monasteries (London, 1889); STANTON, Menology (London and New York, 1892); State Papers, Rolls Series, Northern Registers; WALSINGHAM, Historia Anglicana (London, 1863-76); SURIUS, De probatis Sanctorum Historiis (Turin, 1875-80).

Vincent Scully.








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