St. John Payne

John Payne was born in Peterborough, England, in 1532. In 1576, he was ordained a priest by the Archbishop of Cambrei. Soon after, he went to live with Lady Anne Petre, widow of Sir William Petre, in Essex, staying in the “priest hole” in her house. He successfully converted many before he was arrested in 1581. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and racked before being accused and found guilty of plotting to murder the Queen in a preplanned trial. At his execution, Payne prayed for almost half an hour, then kissed the scaffold, and declared his innocence. The crowd became so sympathetic to him that they hung on his feet to hasten his death and prevent the need for quartering. His feast day is May 4.

Questions for Reflection:

  • Have you ever been wrongly accused of something? How did it feel? What was the consequence of being wrongly accused?
  • How do you stay firm when faced with obstacles?
  • How can you stop yourself from harshly judging others?