Gerard, Miles, Bl.

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Priest, martyr; alias William Richardson; b. ca. 1550, Ince, near Wigan, Lancashire, England; hanged, drawn, and quartered at Rochester, April 13 or 30, 1590. Before beginning his seminary studies at Douai, then Rheims, Gerard was tutor to the children of Sir Edward Tyldesley, at Morleys, Lancashire. He was ordained at Rheims, April 7, 1583, then was a professor at the English College there for several years. On Aug. 31, 1589 (O.S.), he started for England with five companions. When the sailors at Dunkirk refused to take more than two passengers, the priests flipped a coin. Gerard and Bl. Francis Dickenson won passage. Upon landing at Dover (November 24, N.S.), they were arrested. At first they hid their true identities. After confessing that they were Catholic priests, they were brutally tortured and condemned as traitors in London. Jesuit Father John Curry wrote shortly after their execution that they "gave a splendid testimony to the Catholic Faith." Gerard and Dickenson were beatified by Pius XI on Dec. 15, 1929.

Feast of the English Martyrs: May 4 (England).

See Also: england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of.

Bibliography: r. challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ed. j. h. pollen (rev. ed. London 1924; repr. Farnborough 1969). j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891).

[k. i. rabenstein]