Priest holes & history lessons: embracing our ancient faith

Nicholas Owen was canonized 364 years after his death.

Such is often the case with the Cath­olic Church, charged with curating a 3,000-year treasure trove of saints and stories, rovers and relics.

Owen’s tale is unlike any other. Born in Oxford, England in the mid-16th century, his devout family prepared him well for his remarkable life’s work. His father was as a carpenter who taught him the trade. Two older brothers became priests, bringing the sacraments to a hungry community.

There was much to be done in Eliza­bethan England, a dark and frightening time when Catholics were persecuted and priests were incarcerated or hanged. A “papist” caught converting an Anglican could be charged with high treason.

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