Saint Robert Southwell (c. 1561 – 21 February 1595), was an English Catholic priest of the Jesuit Order. He was also a poet, hymnodist, and clandestine missionary in post-Reformation England.
After being arrested and imprisoned in 1592, and intermittently tortured and questioned by Richard Topcliffe, Southwell was eventually tried and convicted of high treason for his links to the Holy See. On 21 February 1595, Father Southwell was hanged at Tyburn. In 1970, he was canonised by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
To mark the Feast, the short sermon below is delivered by a relative of the saint – Edinburgh-born priest, Father Andrew Southwell
It’s interesting, is it not, to reflect on the fact that in times of persecution from governments and false religions, Catholics have been willing to die in defence of the truths of the Faith. Yet, in times of internal strife, as in our times, when the Faith is under attack from within, in her liturgy, dogma and moral teaching, only a minority of the faithful is putting up a fight. Interesting?