I might be risking the sin of pride by saying this, but we Jesuits have some pretty cool saints. One of the great unmerited blessings of this vocation is to be able to think of men like Francis Xavier, Peter Claver, and—today—Robert Bellarmine as elder brothers. And among those saints, I’ve always gotten a special thrill from the martyrs of the British Isles.
If, like me, you were avoiding homework yesterday by poring over transcripts of the papal visit to Scotland on Whispers in the Loggia (yes, I am a really big dork), you might have noticed that the Pope mentioned one of those Jesuits, St. John Ogilvie, as an example for the Scottish clergy.
John Ogilvie (1579-1615), was raised a Calvinist but converted to Catholicism at the age of seventeen. This meant he had to leave Britain to study on the Continent, first in Belgium and then in Germany and what is today the Czech Republic. There he studied in a Jesuit college and joined the Austrian province of the Society of Jesus.
He went through the usual lengthy formation process, was ordained in 1610, and wanted immediately to return to Scotland. His superiors thought Scotland too dangerous at first (and they were proven right), but he was finally able to sneak into his homeland in 1613 disguised as a horse dealer.