Today we celebrate the memory of three sweet little Catholic girls. NOT. These were three courageous Catholic women, who died for their faith, not in the arena in Rome ‘way back when, but in England in the 16th century. Pope Paul VI on this date in 1970 canonized forty martyrs of England and Wales. Many of those were priests and religious, but there were four laymen and three laywomen. They were:
Margaret Clitherow, a.k.a. “The Pearl of York”
http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-margaret-clitherow/ – pressed to death, which is what is sounds like, in York, 1586. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Clitherow
Saint Anne Line
http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-anne-line/ – hanged, at Tyburn 1601. From the book, They Died at Tyburn, she said “I am sentenced to death for harbouring a priest, and so far am I from repenting for having so done, that I wish with all my soul that where I have entertained one I could have entertained a thousand.”
Saint Margaret Ward
http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-margaret-ward/ – hanged, drawn, & quartered, Tyburn 1588. From the same book, “When brought to trial, she said that never in her life had she done anything of which she repented less; that death for such a cause would be very welcome to her, and that she was willing to lay down not one life only but many if she had them.”
Here is an EWTN reprint of a 1970 L’Osservatore Romano article on the canonization. The last few paragraphs there are moving and meaningful for today.