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O'Hely, Patrick, Bl.


Irish bishop of Mayo, martyr; b. west Ireland, probably Connacht (formerly Connaught), date unknown; d. Kilmallock, County Limerick, 1579. Little is known with certainty of his early career beyond his education in Spain and Italy by the Franciscans, his ordination, and his consecration as bishop of Mayo c. 1576. In this period of Irish history the Celtic clergy, and especially the hierarchy on the continent, were barred from relieving Irish Catholics at home of their shortage of priests and the Tudor government kept a constant vigil on all Irish harbors to prevent European-ordained clerics from returning. But Bishop O'Hely, with a number of clerical companions, slipped into Ireland by following a roundabout course through Dingle Bay into Kerry not far from Tralee. Although he eluded the royal guards who were assigned to search ships, he was turned over to the royal authorities by an informer a few weeks after his arrival. Following his arrest he was summoned before Sir William Drury, the king's representative at Kilmallock in County Limerick. O'Hely refused to deny his faith or recognize Queen Elizabeth I as head of the church. He and his close companion Father Cornelius O'Rorke (O'Rourke) were tortured, placed on the rack, their legs and arms broken with hammers, and sharp instruments wedged into the nails of their fingers and toes. After several days of torment both were hanged and their bodies suspended on the gallows for more than two weeks. O'Hely was beatified on Sept. 27, 1992.

Bibliography: w. m. brady, The Episcopal Succession in England, Scotland, and Ireland, A. D. 1400 to 1875, 3 v. (Rome 187677). j. s. crone, Concise Dictionary of Irish Biography (rev. ed. Dublin 1937). m. w. p. o'reilly, Memorials of Those Who Suffered for the Faith in Ireland (London 1868). a. j. webb, Compendium of Irish Biography (Dublin 1878). a. f. pollard, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900) 14:959.

[e. j. murray]

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