Whitaker, Thomas, Bl.

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Priest, martyr; alias Starkie; b. c. 161114 at Burnley, Lancashire; d. Aug. 7, 1646, at Lancaster under Charles I. He received his first education at the school where his father, Thomas Whitaker, was master. Through the influence of the Towneley family, he received his seminary education at the English College at Valladolid, Spain. Following his ordination (1638), he returned to England, where he ministered in Lancashire for five years. He was arrested once during this period, but escaped while being transferred to Lancaster Castle. On Aug. 7, 1643, he was seized at Place Hall, Goosenargh, and confined to Lancaster Castle. During his three-year imprisonment he became known for his spirit of continual prayer and his charity to fellow inmates. Before his trial he made a month's retreat in preparation for death. 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]

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Whitaker, Thomas, Bl.

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