Feast day: July 2
Saint Oliver Plunkett was born in Ireland in 1629 and educated for the priesthood in Rome. Ordained in 1654, Saint Oliver remained in Rome for a few years, working with the poor and teaching. He was then appointed as archbishop of Armagh in Ireland.
Anti-Catholic sentiment was particularly acute then, and the English were aggressively persecuting Catholics. Saint Oliver carried out his pastoral duties secretively and underground. Priests were being exiled, parochial schools shut down, and seminaries repressed. The English decided to hold Archbishop Oliver responsible for any rebellious activity carried out by the Irish. He was eventually arrested, charged with treason, and—after what was by all accounts a sham trial—hanged, then drawn and quartered.
He was the last Catholic martyr in England. He was canonized in 1975.
(Image in public domain-70)