Gorkum, Martyrs of

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Nineteen priests and religious hanged by Calvinists because of their Catholic beliefs, in Briel near Dordrecht, Holland, July 9, 1572. They were beatified Nov. 24, 1675, and canonized June 29, 1867: Nicholas Pieck and Jerome Weerden, guardian and vicar of the Franciscan monastery of the Observance in Gorkum, and nine other Franciscans from Gorkum; a Canon Regular of St. Augustine, John Van Oosterwyk; a Dominican, John Van Hoornaer from Cologne, who had gone to the aid of the Franciscans when he heard they had been taken; two Premonstratensians, Adrian Van Hilvarenbeek and James Lacops; and four secular priests, Godfrey Van Duyen, Nicholas Janssen-Poppel, Leonard Vechel, and Andrew Wouters Van Heynoert. The anti-Spanish Calvinist "Sea Beggars," in the struggle for independence from Spain, seized Gorkum June 26, 1572, and imprisoned the religious, who were treated with cruelty by soldiers on the hunt for sacred vessels. On July 7 at the order of Admiral Lumaye, Baron de la Marck, they were marched to Briel half-naked in procession, singing the Litany of the Saints. There they were confronted with Calvinist ministers and subjected to lengthy interrogation. They were offered their liberty if they would abandon belief in the Real Presence and papal primacy. The magistrates of Gorkum and the Prince of Orange protested the illegal detention of the prisoners and demanded their release, but the admiral refused unless they would abjure the primacy of the pope. When they again refused, they were taken to a sacked and deserted monastery on the outskirts of Briel and hanged. One of the Franciscans was 90 years old, and two other martyrs were 70.

Feast: July 9.

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum, July 2:736847. f. van den borne, De Katholieke Encyclopaedie 12:9697. w. lampen, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 4:105758. g. marsot, Catholicisme 5:104.

[f. d. s. boran]