Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 21 January – Blessed Thomas Reynolds (1562-1642) Priest Martyr

Saint of the Day – 21 January – Blessed Thomas Reynolds (1562-1642) Priest Marty.r Born in 1562 in Oxfordshire, England as Thomas Green and died by being hanged, drawn, and quartered on 21 January 1642 at Tyburn, London, England. Also known as – Richard Reynolds (not to be confused with the Saint of the same name, of the Order of Bridgettine Monks executed in England by Henry VIII), Thomas Green. Additional Memorials – 4 May as one of the 107 Martyrs of England and Wales, also known as Thomas Hemerford and One Hundred and Six Companion Martyrs, 29 October as one of the Martyrs of Douai, 1 December as one of the Martyrs of Oxford University. Thomas was Beatified on 15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI.

Painting in of Blessed Thomas in the English College, Valladolid, Spain

We believe Thomas was born in Oxfordshire (or possibly Warwickshire) into a Catholic family. In keeping with the necessity of the times, he left England to study for the Priesthood on the continent, initially going to Rheims before continuing his studies from September 1590 in the English College, at Valladolid, Spain, as one of its first students and finally, at another newly founded Jesuit institution, the English College of St Gregory in Seville.

Thomas was Ordained a Priest in Seville in 1592 and immediately returned to England, where he ministered to the recusant Catholic community until his arrest in 1606, in the wave of anti-Catholic measures that were taken, following the Gunpowder Plot of November 1605. Whilst the duration of his early years of ministry reflected the slightly less difficult times for Catholics during that period, the Gunpowder Plot changed the atmosphere, making it far more hostile.

Thomas was one of the Priests who were fortunate, in being just exiled from England rather than immediately Martyred, in response to the Plot. However, he soon returned and once more set about caring for Catholics in secret. This he continued for about twenty years until he was arrested in 1628.

He was put on trial and condemned to death but given a reprieve at the behest of the Queen, Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, a Catholic. Although imprisoned, he was kept under relatively mild conditions which included being allowed to receive visitors readily. Many Catholics visited him, not only to offer him care and support but also for his spiritual guidance and the Sacraments.

In 1635 he was one of a number of Priests who would pay a bond and then be released from prison which allowed him to minister to the local Catholic population in London on a regular basis. With the Crown at that time having Catholic sympathies and the rather more anti-Catholic feelings of Parliamentarians being diffused due to Parliament’s long suspension, this was a period when the pressures on Catholics were eased. It was due to this that a number of Priests were able to act in a similar manner to Thomas.

The financial needs of King Charles I forced him to recall Parliament in 1640. At this time, Parliament was increasingly being dominated by Puritan protestants who were hostile to Catholicism. As a result, conditions for Catholics and Priests became far more difficult with Priests, once more, being confined full time to their prisons. The trials and death sentences for Priests resumed and one of the early victims was Thomas. Now eighty years of age, by nature a gentle and slightly timid person and being somewhat infirm, Thomas admitted his fears of facing execution and how he would be able to manage the ordeal he was soon to undergo. He spent his final couple of days in prayer and asking for the prayers of his fellow Priests, imprisoned with him.

On the morning of his execution, 21 January 1642, Thomas was embued by grace with a sense of complete peace and serenity. He had been filled with the courage and strength of Christ, so much so, that he was no longer afraid of what lay ahead and using supplies that had been brought to him in prison, he said his final Holy Mass, before being summoned to his execution.

On arrival at Tyburn, he addressed the assembled crowd for nearly half-an-hour. He pointed out that in forty years work as a Priest in England, no-one could testify to him having ever uttered a word of treason and that his sole aim had been to ‘reduce strayed souls to the fold of the Catholic Church.’ He added that he had no desire to criticise or meddle with the actions of Parliament but rather, that God would bless them and teach them what to do best for the kingdom. He extended his prayers to the King and Queen and all the Kingdom which he hoped would flourish. He concluded by asking forgiveness of all he had offended and granting forgiveness to any, who sought it for actions against him, particularly in regard to his imminant death. Turning to the sheriff overseeing the execution, he specifically thanked him and for his patience whilst he addressed the crowd and prayed, that God would reward him for that, by one day making him a saint in Heaven. The sheriff in turn commended himself to Reynolds and was heard to remark to one of those present that he had never seen a man die like Thomas. Having finished his address, Thomas knelt to pray. He and Roe were placed in the cart, embraced one another, then recited the Miserere Psalm in turn, until the cart was pulled away.

When the sheriff offered Thomas a blindfold, he replied: “I dare look death in the face.”  The sheriff allowed the Martyrs to hang till they expired to spare them the suffering of being drawn and quartered, which he only carried out after they were dead. Catholics amongst the crowd, of which there were found to be many, came forwards to dip cloths in their blood to provide Relics for veneration.

Thomas Reynolds was Beatified by Pope Pius XI on 15 December 1929, therefore, he is among the group of One Hundred and Seven Martyrs of England and Wales. On the image below, our Blessed Thomas Reynolds appears at no 81, the 5th image on the second-last row.


Virgen de la Altagracia / Our Lady of Altagracia, Dominican Republic (c 1502), St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Child Virgin Martyr and Memorials of the Saints – 21 January

Virgen de la Altagracia / Our Lady of Altagracia, Dominican Republic (c 1502) – 21 January:

St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Child Virgin and Martyr
AND St Ambrose Reflection:

St Agnes of Aislinger
St Anastasius of Constantinople
St Aquila of Trebizond
St Brigid of Kilbride
St Candidus of Trebizond
Bl Edward Stransham

St Epiphanius of Pavia (c 439–496) Bishop of Pavia, Italy from from 466 until his death. Papal and Secular Mediator and Peacemaker, Known as – “Epiphanius the Peacemaker,” “The Glory of Italy,” “The Light of Bishops.
The Roman Martyrology for 21 January reads : “In Pavia, Saint Epifanio, Bishop , who, at the time of the barbarian invasions, worked zealously for the reconciliation of the peoples, for the liberation of prisoners and for the reconstruction of the destroyed City.

St Eugenius of Trebizond
St Gunthildis of Biblisheim

Blessed Josefa María Inés de Benigánim OAD (1625–1696) Nun of the Discalced Augustinian Nuns with the religious name of “Josefa María of Saint Agnes,” Virgin, Mystic, gifted with the charism of prophecy and counsel. She became known for her profound spiritual and theological insight as well as for her severe austerities she practised during her life. Her body is incorrupt. Blessed Josefa was Beatified on 26 February 1888, at Saint Peter’s Basilica by Pope Leo XIII.

St Lawdog
St Maccallin of Waulsort

St Meinrad of Einsiedeln OSB (c 797–861) “Martyr of Hospitality,” Martyr, Priest, Monk, Hermit. In 1039, the year of Meinrad’s Canonisation as a Saint, his remains were brought back to Einsiedeln. During the French Revolution, Meinrad’s relics were hidden at Tyrol, Austria, by Abbot Conrad Tanner and his reliquary is now enshrined in the Grace Chapel of the Abbey Church at Einsiedeln.
St Meinrad’s Life and Death

St Patroclus of Troyes
St Publius of Malta (Died c 112) Bishop
Blessed Thomas Reynolds (1562-1642) Priest Martyr
St Valerian of Trebizond
St Vimin of Holywood
St Zacharias the Angelic

Mercedarian Nuns of Berriz – Three pious Mercedarian Nuns at the Monastery of Vera Cruz, Berriz, Spain who are remembered together on the Mercedarian calendar – Cristina, Mary Magdalene and Mary of Jesus.

Blessed Martyrs of Laval – 19 Beati: Fifteen men and four women who were Martyred in Laval, France by anti-Catholic French Revolutionaries. The were born in France and they were Martyred on several dates in 1794 in Laval, Mayenne, France. They were Beatified on 19 June 1955 by Pope Pius XII at Rome, Italy.

  • Blessed André Duliou
  • Blessed Augustin-Emmanuel Philippot
  • Blessed François Duchesne
  • Blessed François Migoret-Lamberdière
  • Blessed Françoise Mézière
  • Blessed Françoise Tréhet
  • Blessed Jacques André
  • Blessed Jacques Burin
  • Blessed Jean-Baptiste Triquerie
  • Blessed Jean-Marie Gallot
  • Blessed Jeanne Veron
  • Blessed John Baptist Turpin du Cormier
  • Blessed Joseph Pellé
  • Blessed Julien Moulé
  • Blessed Julien-François Morin
  • Blessed Louis Gastineau
  • Blessed Marie Lhuilier
  • Blessed Pierre Thomas
  • Blessed René-Louis Ambroise

Martyrs of Rome – 30 Saints: Thirty Christian soldiers executed together in the persecutions of Diocletian. They were Martyred in 304 in Rome, Italy.

Martyrs of Tarragona: Augurius, Eulogius, Fructuosus.