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Blessed Francis Page


Blessed Francis Page

Feast Day: April 20

Death: April 20, 1602
Blessed Francis Page, also known as Francis Page of Harrow, was born around 1575 in Antwerp, Belgium. He came from a Protestant family and was raised in Harrow-on-the-Hill, England. However, as he grew older, Francis decided to convert to Catholicism and pursued his studies at the English College in Douai, France.
In 1600, Francis Page was ordained as a Catholic priest. He had a deep desire to serve the covert Catholics in England who faced severe persecution due to the anti-Catholic laws enforced by the government. These laws made it illegal for Catholic priests to practice their faith openly.
Returning to England, Francis worked tirelessly in carrying out his priestly ministry. He braved the dangers and risks associated with his mission, offering spiritual guidance, celebrating Mass in secret, and administering the sacraments to the Catholic faithful. His dedication to his flock earned him a reputation as a compassionate and steadfast priest.
Unfortunately, the authorities discovered Francis' activities, and he was arrested for the crime of being a Catholic priest. He faced imprisonment and a brutal trial that ultimately sentenced him to death. It was during his time in prison that Francis Page made the decision to join the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits, a religious order known for its commitment to education and missionary work.
On April 20, 1602, Francis Page was executed at Tyburn, London. His martyrdom is a testament to his unwavering faith, his commitment to serving the Catholic community in England, and his courageous decision to embrace the Jesuit tradition.
Blessed Francis Page, together with his companions who suffered martyrdom alongside him, is remembered as one of the Martyrs of Douai. Their feast day is celebrated on April 20, and they are also commemorated on October 29 along with the other Martyrs of Douai.
In recognition of his martyrdom, Pope Pius XI officially declared Francis Page as venerable on December 8, 1929, and beatified him on December 15, 1929. The Catholic Church honors Blessed Francis Page as a model of faith, dedication, and sacrifice, particularly for his selfless service to the persecuted Catholics in England during a time of religious unrest.