John Ogilvie suffered terrible tortures, including being kept awake for eight days and nine nights, in an attempt to make him divulge the identities of other Catholics. Nonetheless, Ogilvie did not relent; consequently, after a biased trial, he was convicted of high treason for refusing to accept the King’s spiritual jurisdiction.
On 10th March 1615, aged 36 years, John Ogilvie was paraded through the streets of Glasgow and hanged at Glasgow Cross.
His last words were “If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me but the prayers of heretics I will not have”. After he was pushed from the ladder, he threw his concealed rosary beads out into the crowd. The tale is told that one of his enemies caught them and subsequently became a lifelong devout Catholic. After his execution Ogilvie’s followers were rounded up and put in jail. They suffered heavy fines, but none was to receive the death penalty.
As a martyr of the Counter-Reformation he was beatified in 1929 and canonised in 1976. He is the only post-Reformation saint from Scotland. Source
As we reflect on the life and martyrdom of St John Ogilvie in preparation for his Feast on 10 March, the question for discussion is in the headline: ARE martyrs an embarrassment given the commitment of the Catholic Church to playing down differences, pretending that Catholics and Protestants believe the same thing and generally being a very politically correct “Ecumenical Church”? Some Scots Catholics argue, for example, that there should be more public events organised by the hierarchy to mark the Feast of St John Ogilvie in the city (Glasgow) where he was put to death. Some ask if the public procession (known as “the Ogilvie Walk”) to the place of execution at Glasgow Cross, once peopled by parishioners from all over Glasgow (and beyond) be restored? If not, why not? Or is it the case that martyrs like St John Ogilvie really are, now, an embarrassment and even an obstacle to ecumenical goals?