|Church of The English Martyrs, York|
*This day, in 1587, Bl Alexander Crowe, Priest, met wth his death on the scaffold and received his martyr's crown. From humble origins as a bootmaker in York, he progressed to becoming a servant in the seminary at Rheims and was eventually accepted as a seminarian and ordained in 1584.
He arrived under cover in England in the same year and applied himself to the dangerous task of normal priestly duties for the best part of two years before he was arrested and put on trial at York.
He was found guilty and sentenced and, on the night before his execution, he was witnessed to be physically wrestling in his cell with an invisible adversary. He prayed continuously all the while. This continued for some time before he exclaimed "Laudate Dominum" and sank to the floor exhausted. Upon questioning he explained that Satan had attacked him 'in a monstrous form' and had told him that, as his soul was already lost, he should not wait for the gallows but commit suicide at once. At the point of his greatest mental and physical agony Our Lady and St John the Evangelist had appeared and put the devil to flight.
The following day, on the gallows, Satan made one last effort and threw Bl Alexander off the ladder.
He was not at all shaken and, getting up he smiled, re-mounted the ladder and continued to win his crown.
Blessed Alexander Crowe, Priest and Martyr 30th November 1587 -
ORA PRO NOBIS
* Modern calendar places the day of execution as the 13th November