Saint of the Day ~ March 10

SAINT JOHN OGILVIE (1579-1615), priest and martyr

Today, the Church honors the life of Saint John Ogilvie, a former Calvinist who was martyred in Scotland during the Protestant Reformation.

John Ogilvie was born of a noble Scottish family in 1579 and was raised a Calvinist. The wealth of his family allowed him to be educated on the continent, and it is there that he became exposed to the religious conflict of the Reformation and the Catholic Counter Reformation.

After studying both sides, he decided to become a Catholic, mainly due to the Word of God and how the Sacred Scriptures were speaking to his heart, and also in part because of his respect for the martyrs and saints. John attended a variety of Catholic educational institutions and soon discovered a call to join the Jesuits at the age of seventeen.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1610 in Paris, France. In spite of the intense persecution of Catholics in Scotland, Father John petitioned to return to his homeland to evangelize its citizens and work with the oppressed Catholic laity.

He was greatly successful, secretly celebrating Mass for the faithful in a country where the celebration of Mass had been banned. Eventually, he was betrayed and turned into the authorities in Glasgow as a Catholic and insurrectionist [rebel]. After a long imprisonment in which he was repeatedly tortured to reveal the names of other Catholics, which he refused to divulge, he was tried on charges of treason and was convicted after three trials.

On March 10, 1615 at the age of thirty-six, Father John Ogilvie was sentenced to death by hanging in Glasgow, Scotland, and he earned for himself the martyr’s crown by refusing to acknowledge the king’s supremacy in spiritual concerns, all the while remaining faithful to Christ in all matters of his faith.

Saint John Ogilvie was canonized a saint by Pope St. Paul VI on October 17, 1976, and became Scotland’s first saint since the year 1250.

We commemorate his feastday on March 10.

(From,,,, and



(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for One Martyr)

“All-powerful, Ever-living God, You gave Saint John the courage to witness to the Gospel of Christ, even to the point of giving his life for it. By his prayers, help us to endure all suffering for love of You and to seek You with all our hearts, for You alone are the Source of life.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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