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Saint Oliver Plunkett

Archbishop of Armagh & Primate of All Ireland, Martyr
Born on 1 November 1625 in Loughcrew, County Meath, Ireland
Hanged, drawn & quartered at Tyburn, London
on 1 July 1681 (last victim of the Titus Oates Popish Plot & last martyr to die in England)
Beatified on 23 May 1920 in Rome by Pope Benedict XV
Canonized on 12 October 1975 in Rome by Pope St Paul VI (first new Irish saint for almost 700 years)
Major shrine - St Peter's Catholic Church, Drogheda
Feast - 1 July
In 1997 made patron saint for peace & reconciliation in Ireland

Pope St Paul VI's homily at the Canonization of Oliver Plunkett
12 October 1975 - in English

"Dia's muire Dhíbh, a chlann Phádraig! Céad mile fáilte rómhaibh! Tá Naomh nua againn inniu: Comharba Phádraig, Olibhéar Naofa Ploinéad. (God and Mary be with you, family of Saint Patrick! A hundred thousand welcomes! We have a new Saint today: the successor of St Patrick, St Oliver Plunkett). Today, Venerable Brothers and dear sons and daughters, the Church celebrates the highest expression of love - the supreme measure of Christian and pastoral charity. Today, the Church rejoices with a great joy, because the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, is reflected and manifested in a new Saint. And this new Saint is Oliver Plunkett, Bishop and Martyr - Oliver Plunkett, successor of St Patrick in the See of Armagh - Oliver Plunkett, glory of Ireland and Saint, today and for ever, of the Church of God, Oliver Plunkett is for all - for the entire world - an authentic and outstanding example of the love of Christ. And on our part we bow down today to venerate his sacred relics, just as on former occasions we have personally knelt in prayer and admiration at this shrine in Drogheda.

For the suffering undergone by Oliver Plunkett is another expression of the triumph and victory of Christ's grace. Like his Master, Oliver Plunkett surrendered his life willingly in sacrifice (cf Is 53, 7; Jn 10, 17). He laid it down out of love, and thereby freely associated himself in an intimate manner with the sufferings of Christ. Indeed, his dying words were: "Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Lord Jesus, receive my soul." The merits of the Lord's Passion, the power of his Cross, and the dynamism of his Resurrection are active and made manifest in the life of his Saint. We praise God-Father, Son and Holy Spirit - who gave the glorious gift of supernatural faith to Oliver Plunkett - a faith so strong that it filled him with the fortitude and courage necessary to face martyrdom with serenity, with joy and with forgiveness. Being put to death for the profession of his Catholic Faith, he was, in the expression of our predecessor Benedict XV, crowned with "martyrdom for the faith" (cf Apostolic Brief of Beatification, 23 May 1920: AAS 12, 1920, p 238).

And after the example of the King of Martyrs, there was no rancour in his heart. Moreover, he sealed by his death the same message and ministry of reconciliation (cf 2 Cor 5, 18. 20) that he had preached and performed during his life. In his pastoral activities, his exhortation had been one of pardon and peace. With men of violence he was indeed the advocate of justice and the friend of the oppressed, but he would not compromise with truth or condone violence: he would not substitute another gospel for the Gospel of peace. And his witness is alive today in the Church, as he insists with the Apostle Peter: "Never pay back one wrong with another" (1 Pt 3, 9). O what a model of reconciliation: a sure guide for our day! Oliver Plunkett had understood with Saint Paul that "it was God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the work of handing on this reconciliation" (2 Cor 5, 18). From Jesus himself he had learned to pray for his persecutors (cf Mt 5, 44) and with Jesus he could say: "Father, forgive them" (Lk 23, 31).

In his speech on the scaffold, his words of pardon were in fact: "I do forgive all who had a hand directly or indirectly in my death and in my innocent blood." O what an example in particular for all those who have a special relationship with Oliver Plunkett, for all those whose life he shared! As an illustrious son of Ireland he is the honour and strength of the people who transmitted to him the Catholic faith. In 1647 Oliver Plunkett, with five companions, was conducted to Rome by the well-known and revered Oratorian Peter Francis Scarampi; and for the next 22 years he remained in this City of Peter and Paul. As a student at the Irish College he is an example of fortitude and piety to the seminarians of today. For three years, after his ordination to the priesthood in 1654, Oliver Plunkett served as Chaplain with the Oratorians at S. Girolamo della Carità and visited the sick in the nearby Hospital of the Holy Spirit. As a minister of Jesus Christ and servant of fraternal love he is a pattern of zeal for his brother priests in the modern world. For twelve years he taught in the College of Propaganda Fide, and as an ecclesiastical professor he is a luminary of true supernatural wisdom to his colleagues today.

Oliver Plunkett was, above all, a Bishop of the Church of God, serving as Primate of Ireland for twelve years. He was a vigilant preacher of the Catholic faith and champion of that pastoral charity which is fostered in prayer and manifested in solicitude for his brethren in the clergy - that pastoral charity which is expressed in zeal for the Christian instruction of the young, for the promotion of Catholic education, for the consolation of all God's people. Drawing strength from the inexhaustible fountain of grace, from the power of the Cross - which is itself eminently contained in the Eucharist, source of all the Church's power (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10), and in which the work of Redemption is renewed - he infused into his flock new strength and fresh hope in time of trial and need. Yes, Oliver Plunkett is a triumph of Christ's grace, a model of reconciliation for all, and a particular example for many - but Oliver Plunkett is also a teacher of the supreme values of Christianity. As the world enters the last quarter of the twentieth century and the concluding decades of this millennium, at a moment decisive for all Christian civilization, the testimony of St Oliver Plunkett proclaims to the world that the summit of wisdom and the "power of God" (1 Cor 1, 18) is in the mystery of the Cross.

And the Church raises her voice in solemn affirmation to authenticate and consecrate this testimony, and to reaffirm for this generation and for all time the true hierarchy of evangelical values in the world. The message of Oliver Plunkett offers a hope that is greater than the present life; it shows a love that is stronger than death. Through the action of the Holy Spirit may the whole Church experience his insights and his wisdom, and with him be able to hear the challenge that comes from Peter: "Put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Pt 1, 13). May the Church understand this as yet another call to renewal and holiness of life, knowing as she does that, by reason of the power of God, there is no limit to love's forbearance (cf 1 Cor 13, 7), and that even the sufferings of the present time cannot be compared with the glory that awaits us (cf Rom 8, 18). And so we exhort our dear sons and daughters of Ireland, saying with immense affection and love: "Remember your leaders, who preached the word of God to you, and as you reflect on the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday" (Heb 13, 7).

Let this then be an occasion on which the message of peace and reconciliation in truth and justice, and above all the message of love for one's neighbour, will be emblazoned in the minds and hearts of all the beloved Irish people - this message signed and sealed with a Martyr's blood, in imitation of his Master. May love be always in your hearts. And may St Oliver Plunkett be an inspiration to you all. And to the whole world we proclaim: "There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn 15, 13). This is what we have learned from the Lord, and with profound conviction we announce it to you. Venerable Brothers and dear sons and daughters: let us praise the Lord, for today and for ever Oliver Plunkett is a Saint of God!

Nel momento in cui da questa Roma degli apostoli e dei martiri sale il primo e ufficiale tributo di venerazione al novello santo, non possiamo dimenticare che di Roma egli fu ospite dal 1647 al 1669: cioè da quando vi giunse, poco più che ventenne, al seguito del Padre Scarampi, fino alla sua nomina a Vescovo di Armagh e Primate d'Irlanda. In Roma compì gli studi, in Roma fu ordinato sacerdote, in Roma esercitò il ministero a favore degli ammalati di S. Spirito, in Roma insegnò teologia nel Collegio di "Propaganda Fide" e fu Consultore nella Curia Romana. La granitica formazione della sua personalità di pastore e di maestro trova qui la sua propedeutica, la sua maturazione, la sua fioritura: e perciò, mentre ne godiamo spiritualmente, affidiamo alla sua intercessione anche la nostra diletta città di Roma, e in particolare le schiere dei giovani che vi si preparano al sacerdozio, lieta e imprevedibile riserva dell'avvenire della Chiesa.

Le zèle pastoral de St Oliver Plunkett, canonisé en ce jour, est d'abord un exemple saisissant et entraînant pour tous ceux qui portent la charge de l'épiscopat! Mais tette cérémonie, si réconfortante, est également pour les fidèles un appel pressant à l'union autour de leurs Evêques, pour avancer dans la Foi et pour collaborer davantage à 1'Evangélisation du monde d'aujourd'hui! Que le Seigneur vous donne à tous cette grâce de choix!

La iglesia tiene desde hoy un nuevo modelo que imitar, un nuevo Santo. Se trata de Oliver Plunkett, un ejemplo sobre todo de solidez en la fe, por la que tanto hubo de sufrir, dejando un testimonio heroico de verdadero seguidor de Cristo. Ninguna dificultad, ningun esfuerzo, ningun sufrimiento fue capaz de doblegar la constancia intrépida de este hombre de Dios, que vivia de fe y que por ella todo soportaba. ¡Hermosa lección para el mundo de hoy!

Unser neuer heiliger, Oliver Plunkett, ist Bischof und Märtyrer. Durch seinen Martertod gab er seinen Verfolgern und der ganzen Welt das Zeugnis des Glaubens und der Liebe zu Christus. Denn durch die freiwillige Annahme des Todes um des Glaubens willen wird der Christ dem göttlichen Meister ähnlich, der durch seinen Opfertod das Heil der Welt gewirkt hat. Legen auch wir im persönlichen und öffentlichen Leben mutig Zeugnis ab für unseren Glauben und unsere Kirche."

Speech delivered by St Oliver at Tyburn
from the scaffold immediately before his execution

[St Oliver Plunkett wrote this speech during his final days in Newgate Prison, London, with the endorsement of Fr. Corker a fellow prisoner. It was printed for distribution shortly after his death. The original manuscript, in St Oliver’s own hand, is preserved in Downside Abbey, along with his final letters to Fr. Corker.]

"I have, some few days past, abided my trial at the King's Bench and now very soon, I must hold up my hand at the King of Kings' bench, and appear before a Judge who cannot be deceived by false witnesses or corrupted allegations, for he knoweth the secrets of hearts. Neither can he deceive any or give an unjust sentence, or be misled by respect of persons; he being all goodness, and a most just Judge, will infallibly decree an eternal reward for all good works, and condign punishment for the smallest transgression against his commandments. Which being a most certain and an undoubted truth, it would be a wicked act and contrary to my perpetual welfare, that I should now, by declaring anything contrary to truth commit a detestable sin, for which, within a very short time I must receive sentence of everlasting damnation after which, there is no reprieve, or hope of pardon. I will therefore confess the truth, without any equivocation, and make use of the words according to their accustomed signification. Assuring you, moreover that I am of that certain persuasion, that no power not only upon earth, but also in heaven, can dispense with me, or give me leave to make a false protestation. And I protest upon the word of a dying man, and as I hope for salvation, at the hands of the Supreme Judge, that I will declare the naked truth, with all candour and sincerity and that my affairs may be the better known to all the world.

It is to be observed that I have been accused in Ireland of treason and premunire and that there, I was arraigned and brought to my trial but the prosecutors men of flagitious and infamous lives perceiving that I had records and witnesses, who would evidently convince them and clearly show my innocence and their wickedness. They voluntarily absented themselves and came to this city to procure that I should be brought hither to my trial, where the crimes objected were not committed, where the jury did not know me, or the qualities of my accusers, and were not informed of several other circumstances conducive to a fair trial. Here, after six months close imprisonment, or thereabouts, I was brought to the bar, the third of May and arraigned for a crime, for which I was before arraigned in Ireland. A strange resolution, a rare fact, of which you will hardly find a precedent these five-hundred years past. But whereas my witnesses and records were in Ireland, the Lord Chief Justice gave me five weeks time, to get them brought hither. But by reason of the uncertainty of the seas, of wind and weather and of the difficulty of getting copies of records and bringing many witnesses from several counties in Ireland and for many other impediments of which affidavit was made, I could not at the end of the five weeks, get the records and witnesses brought hither. I therefore begged for twelve days more, that I might be in a readiness for my trial, which the Lord Chief Justice denied and so I was brought to my trial and exposed, as it were with my hands tied, to those merciless perjurers, who did aim at my life, by accusing me of these following points:

First, That I have sent letters by one Nial O'Neale, who was my page, to Monsieur Baldeschi, the pope's secretary; to the Bishop of Aix, and to Principe Colonna, that they might solicit foreign powers to invade Ireland; and also to have sent letters to Cardinal Bullion to the same effect.

Secondly, To have employed Captain Con O'Neale, to the French King, for succour. Thirdly, To have levied and exacted monies from the clergy of Ireland, to bring in the French and to maintain seventy-thousand men. Fourthly, To have had in a readiness seventy-thousand men, and lists made of them and to have given directions to one friar Duffy to make a list of two-hundred and fifty men, in the parish of Faughart, in the County of Louth. Fifthly, To have surrounded all the forts and harbours of Ireland, and to have fixed upon Carlingford, as a fit harbour, for the French's landing.

Sixthly, To have had several councils and meetings, where there was money allotted for introducing the French. Seventhly, That I had a meeting, in the County of Monaghan, some ten or twelve years past, where there were three-hundred gentlemen of three counties; to wit, Monaghan, Cavan, and Armagh; whom I did exhort to take arms to recover their estates.

To the first, I answer, that Nial O'Neale was never my servant or page; and that I never sent letter or letters by him either to Monsieur Baldeschi, or to the Bishop of Aix, or to Principe Colonna. And I say that the English translation of that pretended letter, produced by the Friar MacMoyer, is a mere invention of his and never penned by me, or its original, either in English, Latin, Italian, or any other language. I affirm moreover, that I never wrote letter or letters to Cardinal Bullion, or any of the French King's ministers. Neither did any, who was in that court, either speak or write to me, directly or indirectly, of any plot or conspiracy against my King or my country. Further, I vow that I never sent agent or agents to Rome, or to any other court, about any civil or temporal affair. And it is well known, for it is a precept publicly printed, that clergymen living in countries, where the government is not of Roman-Catholics are commanded by Rome, not to write to Rome, concerning any civil or temporal affair. And I do aver, that I never received letter or letters from the Pope, or from any other of his ministers, making the least mention of any such matters: so that the Friar MacMoyer and Duffy swore most falsely, as to such letter or letters, agent or agents.

To the second, I say, that I never employed Captain Con O'Neale to the French King or to any of his ministers, and that I never wrote to him or received letters from him, and that I never saw him but once, nor ever spoke to him, to the best of my remembrance ten words; and as for his being at Dungannon or Charlemount, I never saw him in those towns or knew of his being in those places. So that as to Con O'Neale, Friar MacMoyer's depositions, they are most false.

To the third, I say, that I never levied any money for a plot or conspiracy, for bringing in French or Spaniards. Neither did I ever receive any, upon that account, from priest or friar; as Priest MacClave and Friar Duffy most untruly asserted. I assure you that I never received from any clergyman in Ireland, but what was due to me by ancient custom for my maintenance, and what my predecessors these hundred years past, were used to receive. Nay, I received less than many of them and if all that the Catholic clergy of Ireland get in the year, were put in one purse, it would signify little or nothing to introduce the French, or to raise an army of seventy-thousand men, which I had enlisted and ready as Friar MacMoyer most falsely deposed. Neither is it less untrue, (fourth) what Friar Duffy attested, viz that I directed him to make a list of two-hundred and fifty men in the parish of Faughart, in the County of Louth. To the fifth, I answer, that I never surrounded all the forts and harbours of Ireland and that I was never at Kinsale, Cork, Bantry, Youghal, Dungarvan, Youghal or Knockfergus, these thirty-six years past, I was not at Limerick, Duncannon, or Wexford. As for Carlingford I was never in it but once and stayed not in it, above half an hour. Neither did I consider the fort or haven. Neither had I it in my thoughts or imagination to fix upon it, or upon any other fort or haven, for landing of the French or Spaniards. And whilst I was at Carlingford by mere chance, passing that way, Friar Duffy was not in my company as he most falsely swore. To the sixth, I answer, that I was never at any meeting or council, where there was mention made of allotting or collecting of monies, for a plot or conspiracy. And it is well known that the Catholic clergy of Ireland, who have neither lands nor revenues, and hardly are able to keep decent clothes upon their backs, and life and soul together, can raise no considerable sum; nay cannot spare as much as would maintain half a regiment.

To the seventh, I answer, that I was never at any meeting of three-hundred gentlemen in the county of Monaghan, Armagh, Cavan, nor of one county nor of one Barony. And that I never exhorted gentleman or gentlemen either there, or in any other part of Ireland to take arms for the recovering their estates. And it is well known that there are not even in all the Province of Ulster, three hundred Irish Roman Catholics, who had estates, or lost estates by the late rebellion and it is as well known, all my endeavours were for the quiet of my country, and especially of that province.

Now, to be brief, as I hope for salvation, I never sent letter or letters, agent or agents, to Pope, King, Prince, or Prelate, concerning any plot or conspiracy against my King or country: I never raised sum or sums of money, great or small, to maintain a soldier or soldiers, all the days of my life. I never knew nor heard, neither did it come to my thoughts or imagination, that the French were to land at Carlingford, and I believe there is none who saw Ireland even in a map, but will think it a mere romance. I never knew of any plotters or conspirators in Ireland but such as were notorious and proclaimed, commonly called Tories, whom I did endeavour to suppress; and as I hope for salvation, I am and I was all the days of my life, wholy and entirely innocent of the treasons laid to my charge, and of any other whatsoever. And though I be not guilty of the crimes, deposed against me, yet I believe no man ever came to this place, who is in such a condition as I am; for if I should even acknowledge (which in conscience I cannot do, because I should belie myself,) the chief crimes of which I am accused, no wise or prudent man who knows Ireland, would believe me. If I should confess that I was able to raise seventy-thousand men, in the districts of which I had care; to wit, in Ulster; nay, even in all Ireland, and to have levied and exacted monies for the maintenance of the said army, from the Roman Catholic clergy and to have prepared Carlingford, for the landing of the French; all would but laugh, laugh at me. It being well known, that all the revenues spiritual and temporal of Ireland possessed by his Majesty's subjects are scarce able to raise and maintain an army of seventy-thousand men. If I will deny all those crimes, (as I did, and do,) yet it may be, that some, who are not acquainted with the affairs of Ireland, will not believe, that my denial is grounded upon truth, though I assert it, with my last breath. I dare venture further and affirm, that if these points of seventy-thousand men, etc. had been sworn before any protestant jury in Ireland, and had been even acknowledged by me at the bar, they would not believe me, no more than if it had been deposed, and confessed by me, that I had flown in the air from Dublin to Holyhead.

You see, therefore, what a condition I am in, and you have heard what protestations I have made of my innocence, and I hope you believe the words of a dying man and that you may be the more induced to give me credit. I assure you that a great peer sent me notice, that he would save my life, if I would accuse others. But I answered, that I never knew of any conspirators in Ireland but such as I said before, were notoriously known and proclaimed outlaws, and that to save my life, I would not falsely accuse any and thereby prejudice my one soul. Quid prodest homini…etc  To take away any man's life or goods wrongfully, ill becometh any Christian and especially a person of my calling; being a clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church, and an unworthy prelate. Neither will I deny, to have exercised, in Ireland, the functions of a Roman Catholic prelate, as long as there was any kind of toleration, and by preaching, teaching, and statutes, to have endeavoured to bring the clergy, of which I had a care, to a due comportment, according to their calling; but some of them would not amend and had a prejudice for me, and especially my accusers, to whom I did endeavour to do good; I mean the clergymen: who did accuse me, (as for the four laymen, viz. Florence Mac-Mover, the two Neals, and Hanlon, I was never acquainted with them). But you see how I am requited, and how by false oaths they brought me to this untimely death: which wicked act, being a defect of persons, ought not to reflect upon the order of St. Francis, or upon the Roman Catholic clergy. It being well known, that there was a Judas among the twelve Apostles, and that among the deacons there was a wicked man called Nicholas. And even, as one of the said deacons to wit, holy Stephen did pray for those who stoned him to death; so do I, for those who, with false oaths spill my blood; saying, as St. Stephen did, "O Lord! lay not this sin to them." And I beg of my Saviour to grant them true repentance and the grace never to sin any more. I do forgive them with all my heart, and also the judges, who by denying me sufficient time to bring my records and witnesses from Ireland, did expose my life to evident danger. I moreover forgive all those who had a hand in bringing me from Ireland, to be tried here, where it was morally impossible for me to have a fair trial. I do finally forgive all who did directly or indirectly concur, to take away my life, and I ask forgiveness of all those whom I ever offended by thought, word, or deed.

I beseech the All-powerful, that his Divine Majesty grant our King, Queen, and the Duke of York, and all the Royal family, health, long life, and all prosperity in this world and in the next, everlasting happiness. Now, that I have (as I think) showed sufficiently how innocent I am of any plot or conspiracy. I would I were able, with the like truth, to clear myself of high crimes committed against the Divine Majesty's commandments, often transgressed by me, for which, I am sorry from the bottom of my heart; and if I should or could live a thousand years, I have a firm resolution, and a strong purpose, by your grace, My God, never to offend you; and I beseech your Divine Majesty, by the merits of Christ, and by the intercession of his Blessed Mother, and all the holy Angels and Saints, to forgive me my sins, and to grant my soul eternal rest. Miserere mei Deus… etc. Parce animae peccatrici meae; In manus tuas Domine commendospiritu meum.

For a final satisfaction of all persons, that have the charity to believe the words of a dying man, I again declare before God, as I hope for salvation, what is contained in this paper, is the plain and naked truth, without any equivocation, mental reservation, or secret evasion whatsoever, taking the words in their usual sense and meaning, as Protestants do, when they discourse with all candour and sincerity. To all which, I have here subscribed my hand the first of July. "

Oliver Plunkett

Quotations from St Oliver’s Letters

“This is the time for doing good. We must follow the example of sailors at sea. When the wind is favourable, they unfurl their canvas and skim swiftly across the ocean under full sail; but when it turns against them, they lower their sails and take shelter in some little port. While we have the present Viceroy, we will sail, and I will do all in my power to advance our spiritual interests.”

“I found serious divisions in them, but by the grace of God, all is now quiet in the dioceses which I have visited”.

“The province has not had greater peace in thirty years”.

“County Tyrone...all the Catholics in this county are leaseholders, not one gentleman possesses an inch of land”

“Apart from three, the nobles and gentry of the whole province of Ulster were deprived of their possessions, and from being landlords and proprietors have become leaseholders. They are unable to educate their children. The young priests ordained over the past seven years to fill the parishes vacated by the death of the older priests are very deficient in learning: they do not have schoolmasters fit to teach them, nor were Catholic masters tolerated, and thus even the sons of gentlemen deprived of learning and skill grew up to become rogues and highwaymen, and many of them were hanged...I called in the Jesuits into my diocese, I built for them from the foundations quite a comfortable house and two schools where they train up to 150 boys and 25 priests...I have supported for the past nine months two very learned and hard working fathers, a brother and a servant...I have kept them these nine months at my own expense, and have bought for them even the frying pan.”

“The last two months were spent in making a difficult and tiring visitation of my diocese, of which I shall shortly give a full account to Your Excellency... The journey through the mountains of the northern districts were very fatiguing and it made the running of my eyes much worse so that I can hardly write or read letters, even if they are large as headlines, but there was no check on my tongue from preaching in both the English and Irish languages”.

“I shall not spare myself fatigue...I did not give repose to brain, pen or even horses these four years, in a vast province of eleven dioceses.”

“What Alps and Apennines I have crossed the Lord knows”.

“There are bearded men of sixty who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation...It was not uncommon for the old and the infirm to be carried some distance to a mass-rock for confirmation ”

“There is nothing which gives me greater interior pain however, than to see the schools established by me thrown down after such expense. O what will the Catholic youth do now, so numerous and so talented.”

“I am exhorting the brethren to constancy and not to abandon their flocks, but to imitate the pastors of the first three centuries and withdraw to some corner of their districts until the storm passes. I shall retire to a hut in some wood or mountain in my diocese with some candles and books...We shall not abandon our flocks unless compelled to do so, we shall first try out the prisons and other torments, already we have suffered so much on the mountains, in huts and in caves, and have acquired the habit of suffering to the extent that it will be less inconvenient in the future...For if the captains fly, it is in vain to exhort the single soldiers to stand in battle”.

“Snow mixed with big hard hailstones was falling, a cutting wind was blowing into our faces and the snow and hail blew so strongly into our eyes and affected them so much that we are hardly able to use them even yet. Finally, after frequent danger of being suffocated by the snow in the valleys, we arrived at the house of a poor gentleman who had nothing to lose, but through bad fortune he had a stranger in the house, by whom we did not wish to be recognised, and so he put us in a fine room under the roof where we have remained without chimney or fire for eight days now, may it be for the glory of God and the good of our souls and of the flock committed to us.”

“For months and months we were in attics without a fire...the poor Catholic leaseholders are reduced to penury and cannot give us even a piece of bread... Milk is unobtainable since all the cows have died."

“I have however two consolations, one is interior, namely that I suffer for a good cause, and this will have its result, so I hope in the Divine Mercy, an eternal reward. The second consolation is in my books, which enable me to say that I am never less alone than when alone, never less solitary than when solitary”.

“If I were a man that had not good principles, I might easily have saved my life; but I had rather die ten thousand deaths, than wrongfully take away one farthing of any mans goods, one day of his liberty, or one minute of his life.” (Oliver’s words in Westminster hall before being condemned to death.)