Paine, John, St.

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English martyr; b. Peterborough, date unknown; d. Chelmsford, Essex, April 2, 1582. His family was probably Protestant, but the time and circumstances of his conversion are unchronicled. He entered Douai College in 1574 to study for the priesthood and was for a time made bursar of the college; this indicates that he had some experience in stewardship, probably as a servant of the Shelley family at Stondon Hall in Essex. While he was at Douai, he saw a vision of the figure of Christ rising from the Sacrament during the Elevation. This vision was the subject of the Bosworth Burse now in Leicester Museum. On April 7, 1576, Paine was ordained, and a few days later he set out for England with (St.) Cuthbert mayne. Paine made his way to Ingatestone Hall in Essex, where the old, widowed Lady Petre lived, an uncompromising Catholic. Here he remained in the guise of a steward until about February 1577 or earlier, when he was arrested and, for a brief time, imprisoned. After a visit to Douai he returned to Ingatestone some time before June 1578. He continued to work there until the middle of July 1581, when he was betrayed into the hands of George (Judas) Elliot, Edmund campion's captor, at Haddon in Oxfordshire. He was examined before Walsingham at Greenwich, then sent to the Tower and racked several times. In March 1582 he was taken to the dungeons of Colchester castle to await trial. He was charged with conspiracy against Queen Elizabeth and was sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. When offered his liberty if he would change his religion, he told the officials "to stop their foolish babbling." The sentence was carried out at Chelmsford on April 2, 1582. After praying, he protested that "his feet did never tread, his hands did never write, nor did his wit ever invent any treason against her majesty." Since he was so well known and loved in the district, the crowd would not allow the hangman to cut him down and disembowel him until he was dead. He was beatified by Leo XIII on Dec. 29, 1886 and canonized on Oct. 25, 1970 (see england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of).

Feast: April 2; May 4; Oct. 25.

Bibliography: w. allen, A Briefe Historie of the Glorious Martyrdom of Twelve Reverend Priests, ed. j. h. pollen, 2 v. (St. Louis 1908). b. c. foley, Blessed John Paine (Postulation pamphlet; London 1961). a. butler, The Lives of the Saints (New York 1956) 2:1617. b. camm, Lives of the English Martyrs, 2 v. (New York 190405).

[g. fitzherbert]