On 24th July, the Church in this country celebrates the feast of St John Boste, one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Collectively, these Martyrs are celebrated in May, but St John Boste is celebrated today, the anniversary of his execution.
St John was born around 1544 in Dufton, Westmoreland. He was educated at Appleby Grammar School and Queen’s College, Oxford. Two years later he was back in Appleby, to become the first headmaster under the charter of Queen Elizabeth I.
St John converted to Catholicism in 1576, left England, and was ordained a priest at Rheims in March 1581. St John returned to England and worked as a missionary priest in Northern England. The authorities, who were against Catholics, wanted to arrest him. However, he evaded arrest for ten years before being betrayed to the authorities.
After having celebrated a clandestine Mass in 1594 held at Waterhouse the authorities stormed the building and found St John hiding in a ‘priest hole’ behind the fireplace.
Following his arrest, St John was taken to the Tower of London for interrogation on the rack. He was later taken to Dryburn, where he was hung, drawn and quartered. St John recited the Angelus prayer as he ascended the scaffold. St John denied he was a traitor by saying, “My function is to invade souls, not to meddle in temporal invasions.”
John Boste was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929 and declared a saint as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by Pope Paul VI in 1970. St John Boste, pray for us.
– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris