Rowsham, Stephen, Bl.

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Priest, martyr; b. c. 1555 in Oxfordshire, England; hanged, drawn, and quartered March or April (?) 1587 at Gloucester. Upon completing his studies at Oriel College, Oxford, in 1572, he began a ministry in the Church of England. While serving at St. Mary's Church, Oxford, c. 1578, he became convinced of Catholicism. He made his way to Rheims in April of 1581, where he was ordained a Catholic priest (1582). He returned to England on April 30, 1582, but was recognized and arrested within days of his arrival. He spent half of the next three years confined to the "Little Ease" dungeon in the Tower of London, before being sent into exile. He stayed at Rheims from Oct. 8, 1585 to Feb. 7, 1586, then made his way back to his field of labor in the west of England. After a year's activity, he was apprehended in the home of the widow Strange at Gloucester, tried, and executed for his priesthood. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 22, 1987 with George Haydock and Companions.

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). j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891).

[k. i. rabenstein]