Meehan, Charles, Bl.

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Irish Franciscan priest and martyr; b. after 1639 (exact date and birthplace unknown); d. Ruthin, North Wales, Aug. 12, 1679. According to reliable contemporary sources, his surname was Mihan (modern Meehan), not Mahony as stated in a contemporary broadsheet. No details are available on his religious training and ordination. On Nov. 21, 1672, the Irish Franciscan provincial chapter approved him for hearing confessions of lay people. As a result of the edicts of banishment against bishops and regulars (167374), he fled to Flanders from Ireland. Early in November 1674 he was sent to pursue studies at the Franciscan friary in Hammelburg, Bavaria, and thence to St. Isidore's College, Rome (summer 1676). While returning to Ireland in 1678 his ship was forced onto the Welsh coast. He was arrested at Denbigh and imprisoned. At his trial (1679), during the Titus Oates scare, he admitted his priesthood and was condemned to death. He was hanged, cut down alive, and brutally butchered. Meehan was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 22, 1987 with George Haydock and Companions.

Feast: Feb. 12; May 4 (Feast of the English Martyrs in England).

See Also: martyrs of england and wales.

Bibliography: j. m. cronin, "The Other Irish Martyr of the Titus Oates Plot," Blessed Oliver Plunket: Historial Studies (Dublin 1937) 133153. c. mooney, "The Ven. Father Charles Meehan, d. 1679," Franciscan College Annual (Multyfarnham 1952) 9193; "Further Light on Father C. Meehan," Collectanea Hibernica 67 (196364) 225230. c. giblin, ed., Liber Lovaniensis (Dublin 1956) 131.

[b. millett]