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Ralph Ashley, Venerable

Martyred Jesuit laybrother (d. 1606)

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Ashley, RALPH, VENERABLE, martyr, a Jesuit laybrother, first heard of, it seems, as cook at Douay College, which he left April 28, 1590, for the English College at Valladolid. Here he entered the Society of Jesus, but after a time returned to England because of ill-health. He fell in with Father Tesimond (Greenway), who eulogizes very highly the courage he had displayed among the Dutch heretics, by whom he had been captured during his journey. He landed in England March 9, 1598, and was sent to serve Father Edward Oldcorne. Eight years later the two were arrested at Hindlip, near Worcester, and were committed to the Tower, together with Father Garnet, and Nicholas Owen, another lay brother, servant to Garnet. The two servants were terribly tortured, Owen dying of his torments, while the reticent answers and trembling signatures of Ashley’s extant confessions bear eloquent testimony to his constancy. He was ultimately remanded with Oldcorne to Worcester, where they were tried, condemned and executed together, April 7, 1606, giving an admirable example of heroically faithful service.


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