Tuesday 9 April 2019

John Ogilvie A Jesuit in Disguise 1579-1615 - Eleanor McDowell - CTS Saints of the Isles Series

Edmund Campion
CTS Saints of the Isles Series
Alexander Haydon
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860822162
eISBN 9781784694142
CTS Booklet B675

I love CTS books! There are so many great reads, and wonderful series. And this ‘Saints of the Isles’ is one of my favorite series to date. This is the fifth book in this series from the Catholic Truth Society that I have read. And I loved it. I have read over 60 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society in the last year. Many have been great reads, and books from several excellent series. I love this series that focuses on the Saints of the Isles. It has been inspiring, challenging, and encouraging to read about the Saints and Martyrs of the British Isles. Through my religious studies degree, with a focus on Roman Catholic Thought, I had encountered saints from all over the world, and the great and lesser known saints of Europe. But this series is opening my eyes to Saints that are part of my heritage, saints from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. These are incredible books about amazing saints. It is a part of our history we need to be reminded of. And to be inspired by.

That would be how I would summarize this series and this book on John Ogilvie, they inspire, they encourage, and they challenge us in our faith! The sections in this booklet are:

1. Discord and Reform
2. Church and State
3. A Life Apart
4. Prayer of the Heart
5. A Jesuit in Disguise
6. The Informer Proves his Worth
7. The King’s Jurisdiction
8. A Higher Power
9. “Mary, I’m Hungry”
10. Faith Rewarded

We are told in the preface:

“If “a life told is a life remembered” it is in this dignified spirit that this account of St John Ogilvie is written. Four hundred years have passed since St John’s untimely death and martyrdom at Glasgow Cross on 10th March 1615. He died to defend the right of religious liberty during the highly charged period of the Scottish Reformation.”

And we are told:

“He is Scotland’s only Catholic Reformation martyr. He was beatified in 1929 and canonised in 1976. His steadfast faith and courageous death reinforce the need to defend and uphold religious liberty as we mark the 400th anniversary of his martyrdom.”

This volume is the work of new scholarship. We are reminded that:

“As a result, a host of uncompromising and partisan views have littered pages of Reformation historiography, and perceptions of the Scottish Reformation have been vulnerable to half-myths and distorted facts. But, thankfully, advances in rigorous scholarship, particularly since the 1950s, have shed light on conflicting interpretations in a more even-handed manner. In order to gain a clearer understanding of St John Ogilvie’s life, we must be aware of the constraints and circumstances which shaped his priestly mission.”

But this book is more than a brief biography and introduction John Ogilvie. It is a synopsis of the Scottish Reformation. The story of Saint John Ogilvie, his life, training, mission back in Scotland, and martyrdom. It also has a summary of the cause for canonization including the account of John Fagan, whose miraculous healing was the required miracle for the cause of this saint. The book ends with a beautiful little prayer to this saint that I have started saying daily. 

I love this series, and this book. I am being blessed abundantly by learning about these saints. This is an excellent read, and I challenge you to give it a read. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Saints of the Isles Series:

Edmund Arrowsmith - John S. Hogan 
Margaret Clitherow - Jean Olwen Maynard
Edmund Campion - Alexander Haydon
John Southworth Priest and Martyr - Michael Archer
Saint Thomas More - Alvaro de Silva
John Ogilvie - Eleanor McDowell
Frances Taylor - Eithne Leonard
Mary Potter - Elizabeth Gilroy
John Fisher - Richard L. Smith
Robert Southwell - Fiorella Sultana De Maria
Ignatius Spencer - Fr. Ben Lodge
Sr Elizabeth Prout - Dominic Savio Hamer 
Forty Martyrs of England and Wales - James Walsh
Thomas Becket - J.B. Midgley

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