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Blessed Robert Middleton


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Feast Day: April 3

Death: March 1, 1601
Blessed Robert Middleton, also known as Robert Middlemore or Middleton, was a Jesuit priest in the apostolic vicariate of England during the tumultuous reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He was born in 1571 in York, North Yorkshire, England. Little is known about his early life and education, but it is believed that he was strongly influenced by the Catholic faith from an early age.
Middleton joined the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits, and was ordained as a priest. As a Jesuit, he dedicated himself to the mission of spreading the Catholic faith in England, where Catholics faced intense persecution under the Protestant government. He worked diligently to provide spiritual guidance and support to the Catholic community, risking his own safety to perform his duties.
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Catholics faced severe penalties for practicing their faith. It was a time of intense religious turmoil, with the government actively suppressing Catholicism and seeking to establish Protestantism as the sole religion of the realm. This period, known as the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, saw numerous Jesuit priests and other Catholic clergy targeted and persecuted.
In late March 1601, Blessed Robert Middleton was arrested in Lancaster, Lancashire, England, for his steadfast adherence to the Catholic faith and his missionary activities. He was charged with a variety of offenses, including the celebration of Mass and promoting allegiance to the Pope. Despite facing interrogation, threats, and imprisonment, Middleton courageously remained steadfast in his devotion to the Catholic Church.
Ultimately, Blessed Robert Middleton was charged with treason and condemned to death. On April 3, 1601, he was executed, becoming one of the many martyrs of the Elizabethan persecution. His martyrdom and sacrifice served as an enduring inspiration to the Catholic community, who recognized his unwavering faith and dedication to the Church.
It was not until centuries later, on November 10, 1986, that Pope John Paul II decreed the martyrdom of Blessed Robert Middleton, recognizing his exemplary life and death, as well as his unwavering commitment to his faith. Just over a year later, on November 22, 1987, Pope John Paul II beatified him, officially declaring Robert Middleton as Blessed, a step towards canonization.
Blessed Robert Middleton's feast day is celebrated on April 3, the day of his martyrdom, as well as on November 22, alongside other Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales. His life stands as a testament to the resilience and courage of the Catholic community during a time of intense persecution, and his steadfast devotion serves as an inspiration for Catholics around the world.