Five Franciscan Martyrs: Loyal to the Catholic Faith

On May 4, Franciscans recall the witness of five friars—Blesseds Thomas Bullaker, Henry Heath, Arthur Bell, John Woodcock, and Charles Meehan—who were executed in England and Wales in the 17th century because of their loyalty to the Catholic faith.

Founding English Franciscan friary at Douai

During the reign of Henry VIII, the Observant Franciscans had been staunch defenders of the king’s marriage to Queen Catherine and papal supremacy, and so were the first religious order in England to be suppressed in 1534. The friars met imprisonment, death or were scattered to the continent. During the late 16th century, a number of English Catholics came to Europe to join the Order, and in 1618 they founded an English Franciscan friary at the University of Douai, then in the Spanish Netherlands (English Catholic women also founded a Poor Clare monastery in nearby Gravelines).

Risking life to minister to underground Catholics

Four of

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