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Saint John Roberts
Saint John Roberts

Saint John Roberts

Feast Day
Oct 25, 2012
<p>St. John Roberts was born in northern Wales, to John and Anna Roberts.&nbsp; He studied at St. John&rsquo;s College at Oxford.&nbsp; He however, left without earning a degree and entered as a law student at one of the Inns of Court.&nbsp; He traveled throughout the continent and more so, Paris, and through the influence of a Catholic fellow traveler, he was converted to Catholicism.&nbsp; By the advice of John Cecil, an English Priest, he decided to enter the English College, Douai in 1598. &nbsp;</p> <p>He left College the following year for the Abbey of St. Benedict, and was sent to make his novitiate at San Martin Pinario, Santiago de Compostela.&nbsp; He made his profession towards the end of 1600.&nbsp; He was ordained and set out for England in December 1602.&nbsp; Although a Government spy observed him, Roberts and his companions succeeded in entering the country in April 1603, but he was arrested and banished in May. &nbsp; He soon managed to return to England, and worked among the plague victims in London.&nbsp; In 1604 while preparing to leave for Spain with four postulants, he was arrested again. Not recognized as a Priest, he was released and again banished but he returned to England, once again. &nbsp;</p> <p>In 1605, he was found at the house of Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Percy, who was involved in the Gunpowder Plot.&nbsp; Although he was not found guilty of being involved, he again was imprisoned in the Gatehouse Prison at Westminster for seven months and then exiled again, in July 1606.&nbsp; This time he was gone for fourteen months, nearly all of which he spent at Douai where he founded and became the first Prior of a house for English Benedictine Monks, who had entered through Spanish Monasteries.&nbsp; This was the beginning of the Monastery of St. Gregory at Douai. &nbsp;</p> <p>In October 1607, Roberts returned to England.&nbsp; In December, he was again arrested and placed in the Gatehouse at Westminster.&nbsp; After several months, he escaped.&nbsp; He lived in London for about a year, and in May 1609 he was taken to Newgate Prison.&nbsp; He would have been executed, but the French Ambassador interceded on his behalf, and his sentence was reduced to banishment.&nbsp; He visited Spain and Douai, but returned to England within the year.&nbsp; He was captured again on December 2<sup>nd</sup>, 1610, just as he was concluding Mass.&nbsp; They took him to Newgate in his Vestments.&nbsp; On December 5<sup>th</sup>, he was tried and found guilty under the Act forbidding Priests to minister in England.&nbsp; On December 10<sup>th</sup>, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered along with Thomas Somers at Tyburn, London.&nbsp; His body was recovered and taken to St. Gregory&rsquo;s at Douai.&nbsp; He was Beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1886, and Canonized by Pope Paul VI as one of the representative &ldquo;Forty Martyrs of England and Wales&rdquo;. &nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><strong>Practical Take Away</strong></span></p> <p>St. John Roberts was a Priest that founded the Monastery of St. Gregory at Douai.&nbsp; He spent his 35 years on this earth, serving the Church, and for the promotion of the faith.&nbsp; He traveled extensively to England, assisting the Catholics with Sacramental needs, but was arrested many times, and deported.&nbsp; Finally, he was captured after concluding a Mass for the people of England, and imprisoned.&nbsp; He was found guilty and martyred for his faith.&nbsp; England, at the time, did not allow Priests to minister to the people of England, and he continually provided the Sacraments, always hiding and avoiding being arrested.&nbsp; His heroic virtue of ministering to God&rsquo;s people in England cost him his life.&nbsp; How far are we willing to go to bring our faith, and the love of God to those in need around us?&nbsp; Are we willing to risk our lives for it?&nbsp; We venerate him today, seeking his intercession in bringing the faith to those in need. &nbsp;</p>