The Feast of St. John Ogilvie, SJ

Jesuit saint and martyr, John Ogilvie.

Jesuit saint and martyr, John Ogilvie.

Today is the Jesuit feast of St. John Ogilvie, SJ, a 17th century martyr.

Born in Scotland to Calvinist parents, St. John Ogilvie would eventually convert to Catholicism while pursuing his education in Europe. While studying at the Jesuit College in Olomouc (located in the modern-day Czech Republic) he realized that he was being called to join the Society of Jesus. After his ordination, he was eager to return to his native Scotland.

During this time, Scotland was a Protestant country where Catholics were suppressed and living in hiding. St. Ogilvie, under the alias of John Watson, returned to his homeland in 1613 to minister to Catholics through the Mass and sacraments.

St. Ogilvie frequently traveled between Edinburgh and Glasgow to serve people in those respective cities. One of those individuals, Adam Boyd, betrayed St. Ogilvie and informed the local Protestant authorities who promptly arrested him in October 1614. In 1615, he was hanged.

St. Ogilvie is remembered for his bravery, selflessness and unwavering loyalty to the Church. He is the only Scottish saint to have been canonized in the Church since the Reformation.

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