Nicholas Owen

1550-1606

St. Nicholas became a lay Jesuit brother in 1597. He served St. Edmund Campion and was once imprisoned for defending him against charges of treason. Later he was in the service of Henry Garnet, the Jesuit provincial, traveling with him, staying in the homes of recusants, where he constructed hiding holes for hunted priests. Nicholas built ingeniously conceived, impossible to find, hiding places that saved the lives of innumerable priests. He never discussed his work with anyone so that even under torture they would not be able to disclose the location of secret rooms. After several brushes with officials, Nicholas gave himself up to protect other Jesuits. He was brutally tortured but never betrayed the locations of his brothers. He died March 22, 1606.

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