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Relics of martyrdom explored in new exhibition

12 March 2021

It marks the 50th anniversary of the canonisation of many of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales by Pope Paul VI in 1970

Stonyhurst College

The most renowned of the British Jesuit Province’s relics is a Holy Thorn given to Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1558 on her marriage to Prince Francis of France. It is believed to have been given to John Gerard SJ by the daughter of Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland, who was executed after a failed attempt to release Mary. The thorn is housed in a gold reliquary, with Mary’s pearls wrapped around it

The most renowned of the British Jesuit Province’s relics is a Holy Thorn given to Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1558 on her marriage to Prince Francis of ...

THE life-and-death stakes involved in faith in Britain the 16th and 17th centuries are explored in a graphic new exhibition online produced by the British Jesuit Province.

The exhibition, “How Bleedeth Burning Love: Relics of the Forty Martyrs”, takes its title from a poem by St Robert Southwell, who was executed at Tyburn in 1595, and has been put together by archivists at the Jesuit Collection and Stonyhurst College. It marks the 50th anniversary of the canonisation of many of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales by Pope Paul VI in 1970, as well as canonisations and beatifications at other times.

The story of each martyr is told in text and audio, illustrated with a relic where one exists, attesting not only to the brutal treatment of Roman Catholics in this period, but also to the risks taken by their co-religionists to retrieve fragments of bone or clothing.

Dr Jan Graffius, curator of the Stonyhurst Collections, says that the exhibition “relates the stories of some of the many men and women whose bravery and resourcefulness helped to keep the Catholic faith alive in those days. It also explores the extraordinary, and often perilous, journeys of these relics before they came into the sanctuary of the possession of the British Jesuit Province.”

www.jesuitcollections.org.uk

Click on the image (right) to see more from the exhibition

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