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Maurus Corker

English Benedictine (1636-1715)

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Corker, MAURUS, an English Benedictine, b. in 1636 in Yorkshire; d. December 22, 1715, at Paddington near London. His baptismal name, James, he exchanged for Maurus when he entered the order. On April 23, 1656, he took vows at the English Benedictine Abbey of Lamspringe near Hildesheim, in Germany, and returned to England as missionary in 1665. Being accused by Titus Oates of implication in “the Popish Plot” he was imprisoned in Newgate, but was acquitted of treason by a London jury, July 18, 1679. most of this poem still survives, and is printed in the “Leabhar Imuin” or “Book of Hymns” (edited by J. H. Todd, Dublin, 1855-69). The language is of the most archaic type of Gaelic, and is interspersed here and there with phrases mostly taken from Scripture, but made to rhyme with each other as the Gaelic Hereupon he was arraigned for being a priest and sentenced to death, January 17, 1680. Through influential friends he was granted a reprieve and detained in Newgate. While thus confined he is said to have reconciled more than a thousand Protestants to the Faith. One of his fellow-prisoners at Newgate was the saintly Oliver Plunket, Archbishop of Armagh, with whom he formed an intimate friendship, and whom he prepared for his martyrdom, which took place, June 15, 1681. Some very interesting correspondence which was carried on in prison between these two confessors of the Faith was published in the “Irish Ecclesiastical Record” (September, 1883). On the accession of James II in 1685, Father Corker was released and kept at the court as resident ambassador of Prince-Bishop Ferdinand of Bavaria, the Elector of Cologne. In 1687 he erected the little convent of St. John at Clerkenwell, where religious services were held for the public, but which was destroyed by a mob, November 11, 1688, during the revolt against King James. Father Corker himself was obliged to seek refuge on the continent. In 1691 he was made Abbot of Cismar near Lubeck and, two years later, of Lamspringe, where he had made his religious profession. In 1696 he resigned as abbot and returned to England to continue his missionary labors. He is the author of various pamphlets proving the innocence of those condemned for implication in the fictitious “Popish Plot.”

MICHAEL OTT


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