The lectionary provides a rather bewildering array of readings to choose from for today - perhaps, on a day when there is a large number of saints to remember, one is given a choice of favourites! The first reading I have picked, Genesis 12, speaks to us of leaving our homes and families: this places us in some discomfort. When we look at todays (possible) lists of saints, then one common theme is that they did tend to move. And remember that there was no easy, ready way to communicate with those left behind - no telephone, no cheap postal service. If you set your hand to the plough, there was no turning back.
If you choose to remember the Carmelite Saints today, perhaps because you were taught by them in our nearby School (Whitefriars as was, St Edwards as is) then you may note that the feast relates to known and unknown saints. Perhaps most saints are unknown, not featuring in any calendar, because they often have the grace of a pure and genuine humility. I have been blessed with knowing several in St Gregory's Parish over the years, and so I shall choose to remember them in my prayers today. The other list of saints for today are those noted by our diocese: actually not canonised as Saints, but then, as said before - most saints are unknown.
Who will you choose?
All Carmelite Saints
On this day the Carmelite Order celebrates the memory of all its saints, those known and those unknown.
In other years: The Beatified Martyrs of Clifton Diocese
Thomas Alfield, seminary priest, Douai. Born Gloucester 1552. Ministered in Gloucestershire. Executed, Tyburn 6 July 1585.
Richard Bere, Carthusian Monk, was a nephew of Abbot Bere of Glastonbury, where he was born and attended the Abbey School. He was a priest of the London Charterhouse and was starved to death with eight other monks for upholding the Supremacy of the Pope. He died in Newgate prison on 9 August 1537.
John Bodey, schoolmaster. Born Wells. Studied law, Douai. Executed, Andover 2 November 1583.
James Fenn, seminary priest, Rheims. Probably ministered in Somerset. Arrested at Brympton. Executed, Tyburn 12 February 1584.
John Gavan, Jesuit. Born London 1640, but family from Norrington, Wiltshire. Ministered in Staffordshire. Executed in connection with Popish Plot, 20 June 1679.
John Hambley, seminary priest, Douai. Born St Mabyn near Bodmin, Cornwall, circa 1560. Arrested at Chard, released and again arrested. Executed Salisbury March 1587.
William Hart, seminary priest, Rheims, and then English College, Rome. Born Wells. Ministered in Yorkshire. After lengthy imprisonment executed, York 15 March 1583.
William Lampley, layman. Probably born at Gloucester, was tried for ‘persuading his kin to popery’. Executed at Gloucester sometime in 1588.
John Pibush was born at Thirsk and ordained at Rheims and then ministered in England. He was arrested at Moreton-in-Marsh, taken to London then brought to Gloucester. He escaped from the local jail, but was recaptured and sent back to London. After five years in jail was executed in 1601.
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. Born Farleigh Castle, Somerset. Daughter of Duke of Clarence. Governess to the Princess Mary, later Mary Tudor. Mother of Cardinal Reginald Pole, last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. Executed, Tower of London 28 May 1541.
Edward Powell, seminary priest of Welsh birth. Taught at Eton and Oxford. Rector of Bleadon, Somerset. Vicar of St Mary Redcliffe. Executed, Smithfield 30 July 1540.
Philip Powell, monk of St Gregory’s, Douai. Born in Breconshire. Ministered for 20 years at Leigh Barton on Exmoor. Executed, Tyburn 30 June 1646.
Alexander Rawlins, seminary priest, Rheims. Rather tenuous connections with diocese. Probably born Oxford 1560. Ministered mainly in the North East. Executed, York 7 April 1595.
Stephen Rowsham, seminary priest. Born in Oxfordshire circa 1555. Took orders in the established church but converted and went to Douai Abbey. Was imprisoned in The Tower, banished but returned. Executed, Gloucester 1587.
John Sandys, seminary priest. Born in Lancashire between 1550 and 1555, studied at Oxford and Douai. Arrested in Gloucestershire. Executed 11 August 1586, Gloucester.
Richard Sergeant, seminary priest. Born in Gloucestershire in the late 1550s. Studied at Douai Abbey. Ordained at Laon in 1583. He worked on English mission for three years, arrested and tried. Executed at Tyburn, 20 April 1586.
John Storey, layman. Born Salisbury. Educated Oxford. MP for Hindon, Wiltshire. Exiled for his religion and executed for treason, Tyburn 1 June 1571.
Henry Webley, layman. Born Gloucester, circa 1558. Charged with sheltering a priest, condemned and executed in London 28 August 1588.
Richard Whiting, Abbot and monk of Glastonbury. Last of long line of abbots, probably born Wrington, Somerset. With John Thorne, treasurer of the Abbey, and Roger James, sacrist, executed on the Tor following trial at Wells, 15 November 1539.