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(01/12) Feast/Memorial/Season of:


Blessed William Harcourt

William Harcourt (William Barrow, 1610-1679) was one of five Jesuits caught in the web of lies concocted by Titus Oates who accused the Jesuits of assassinate King Charles III and overthrow the government. Although the story was patently fictitious, the Jesuits paid with their lives. Barrow was one of five Jesuits caught in the web of lies concocted by Titus Oates who accused the Jesuits of assassinate King Charles III and overthrow the government. Although the story was patently fictitious, the Jesuits paid with their lives. Barrow was known on the mission as Harcourt and as Waring. Born in Lancashire, he attended Saint-Omer and entered the novitiate in Watten in 1632. He finished his studies in Flanders and was ordained there before returning to England in 1644. From 1671 to 1677 he served as financial manager for the English province, and in 1678 became superior of the Jesuits in London. When Titus Oates announced the alleged plot, police searched diligently for Barrow, but he changed his residence daily and used disguises effectively. He urged other Jesuits to leave the country and seek safety abroad, but he felt himself responsible to remain in London and attempt to care for his brothers in prison. A woman servant at one of the houses where he took refuge betrayed him to the police who arrested him on May 7, 1679. He was almost 70 years old and had worked 35 years on the mission.
 
For more details of this complex but fascinating story, see the entry under Blessed Thomas Whitbread.
 
Other English Martyrs

 

Originally Collected and edited by: Tom Rochford, SJ


 
The Complete List of Jesuit Saints and Blesseds