Born in 16th century Scotland to a respected Calvinist family, Ogilvie received his education in various Catholic establishments across mainland Europe. Amidst all the religious turmoil, he decided to become a Catholic himself. He was ordained a priest in 1610, and repeatedly asked to be sent to preach in Scotland, where, after 1560, it had become illegal to preach or otherwise endorse Catholicism. Eventually, he returned to Scotland disguised as a horse trader named John Watson and began preaching secretly in private homes. Less than a year later, he was betrayed and arrested. He was severely tortured in order to make him reveal the names of other Catholics. When he did not relent, Ogilvie was convicted of high treason and publicly hanged and disemboweled on March 10, 1615. As he was pushed from the stairs, he threw his concealed rosary beads into the crowd. There is a tale that one of his enemies caught them and became a devout Catholic for the rest of his life. John Ogilvie’s feast day is March 10.
Questions for Reflection:
- Have you ever been persecuted for your beliefs? Have you ever persecuted others for theirs? What led you to do so?
- How can you support those in minorities?