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Why Catholics in Scotland want a statue for a martyred priest


mosaic of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie in St Aloysius Church in Glasgow. Photo credit: Lawrence OP via Flickr CC BY NC ND 20 CNA

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Glasgow, Scotland, Mar 23, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Four centuries after the martyrdom of St. John Ogilvie, Catholics in Scotland have launched a campaign to mark the place in Glasgow’s city center where he was executed for preaching the Catholic faith.

The Order of the Knights of St. Columba, a U.K.-based Catholic fraternal organization, is backing the effort, the Scottish Catholic Observer reports.

“There should be something,” said the order’s Supreme Knight Charlie McCluskey. “He’s the only Scottish martyr and there’s not even a plaque. Whether you are Catholic, Protestant, whatever, this was an historic event in the history of the city that should be marked.”

John Ogilvie was born in 1579 to a family of Scottish nobles in  Banffshire. Raised a Calvinist, he converted to Catholicism in 1596 while at Louvain, Belgium, after being educated at Catholic institutions. He later joined the Society of Jesus and was ordained a priest in Paris in 1610. He requested he be sent back to Scotland, which had become deeply hostile to the Catholic faith.

He was betrayed by someone who posed as a Catholic, and was then imprisoned for treason. He faced torture by officials who sought the names of other Catholics, facing sleep deprivation and needles pushed under his fingernails.

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