mercredi 21 janvier 2015

Saint ALBAN-BARTHELEMY ROE et THOMAS GREEN, prêtres et martyrs

Saint Alban-Barthélémy Roe et Thomas Green, prêtres et martyrs

Membre de la Communion anglicane et élève à Cambridge, Alban Roe se convertit au catholicisme. Il poursuivit ses études au séminaire anglais de Douai et devint bénédictin en 1612, dans l'actuel Ampleforth. Pendant vingt-huit ans, il travailla dans la mission anglaise avant d’être arrêté. Après dix-sept années d’incarcération, il fut pendu à Londres-Tyburn, en 1642, sous le roi Charles Ier. Avec lui périt Thomas Green, emprisonné durant quatorze ans.     

Saint Alban-Barthélémy Roe

Un des quarante martyrs d'Angleterre ( 1642)

Membre de la Communion anglicane et élève à Cambridge, il se convertit au catholicisme. Il poursuivit ses études au séminaire anglais de Douai et devint bénédictin en 1612, dans l'actuel Ampleforth. Pendant 28 ans, il travailla dans la mission anglaise et fut arrêté. Il subit le martyre à Londres-Tyburn, comme tant d'autres. 

Il fait partie des Quarante martyrs d'Angleterre et du Pays de Galles qui ont été canonisés en 1970. 

À Londres, en 1696, saint Alban Roe, bénédictin, et le bienheureux Thomas Green, prêtres et martyrs. Sous le roi Charles Ier, l’un après dix-sept ans, l’autre après quatorze ans passés en prison, et tous deux d’un âge déjà avancé, furent ensemble pendus pour le Christ au gibet de Tyburn.

Martyrologe romain

Bartholomew Roe


English Benedictine martyr, b. in Suffolk, 1583; executed at Tyburn, 21 Jan., 1641. Educated in Suffolk and at Cambridge; he became converted through a visit to a Catholic prisoner at St. Albans which unsettled his religious views. He was admitted as a convictor into the English College at Douai, entered the English Benedictine monastery at Dieulward where he was professed in 1612, and, after ordination, went to the mission in 1615. From 1618 to 1623 he was imprisoned in the New Prison, Maiden Lane, whence he was banished and went to the English Benedictine house at Douai but returned to England after four months. He was again arrested in 1625, and was imprisoned for two months at St. Albans, then in the Fleet whence he was frequently liberated on parole, and finally in Newgate. He was condemned a few days before his execution under the statute 27 Eliz. c. 2, for being a priest. With him suffered Thomas Greene, aged eighty, who on the mission had taken the name of Reynolds. He was probably descended from the Greenes of Great Milton, Oxfordshire, and the Reynoldses of Old Stratford, Warwickshire, and was ordained deacon at Reims in 1590, and priest at Seville. He had lived under sentence of death for fourteen years, and was executed without fresh trial. They were drawn on the same hurdle, where they heard each other's confessions, and were hanged simultaneously on the same gibbet amidst great demonstrations of popular sympathy.


GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath., III, 36; V, 437; CHALLONER, Missionary Priests, II, nos. 166, 167; POLLEN, Acts of the English Martyrs (London, 1891), 339-43.

Saint Alban Roe
Fr Alban Roe was baptised Bartholomew sometime in 1583, in Suffolk. He attended Cambridge University, and while there experienced something that caused his conversion to Catholicism.
While visiting in St Albans, he heard that a Catholic recusant had been put in prison there for his beliefs, and chose to visit the prisoner, in order to argue him out of his superstitious ways. It did not work out like that, and the Catholic prisoner instead, persuaded Bartholomew that he needed change.
 In February 1608 he took up a place in the English College (a seminary) in Douai, eager to become a priest. He was expelled in 1611, however, for criticising the principal.
It so happened that a Benedictine house was given permission to establish itself at Douai in December of 1608, and it seems likely that young Bartholomew was acquainted with it. At any rate, wishing to avoid further embarrassment in Douai, he joined the noviciate at another English monastery, St Lawrence’s at Dieulouard in 1613. Once ordained he went to England where he worked in secret as a priest.
 In 1618 however he was imprisoned for being a priest in England - a ‘crime’ which carried the death penalty. Fortunately, he was released by King James I in a general amnesty in 1623 and banished. He returned to England however, and was re-arrested in 1625 and imprisoned in St Alban’s where his adventure had begun so many years before.
 Luckily for him, his friends had him removed to the Fleet prison in London where circumstances were much better. Indeed, like many others, he was allowed out into the streets of London by day so long as he gave his word (Fr. ‘parole’ ) that he would return by nightfall. He used his freedom to minister to many.
 While King Charles I governed without parliament, no imprisoned priests were executed. When the Long Parliament convened, however, the hangings began again in earnest (20 between 1641 and 1646 including Fr Alban). On the 21st January 1642, he and Fr Thomas Reynolds, a priest in his 80s, offered their last mass and were led to the gallows. They gave each other absolution.
 Just before his death, Alban asked the sheriff if his life would be spared if he renounced his Catholic religion and became an Anglican. The sheriff swore he would be spared if he did. Alban then said to all: “See, then, what the crime is for which I am to die, and whether my religion be not my only treason... I wish I had a thousand lives; then would I sacrifice them all for so worthy a cause.” They were allowed to hang until they were dead before being quartered.