RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
Ref NoABSI/SJ/10
TitleSt John Ogilvie SJ (1579-1615)
DateEarly 20th century-c1979
LevelSub fonds
DescriptionThe material in this collection predominantly relates to the the canonisation of Ogilvie in 1976, and includes papers, medals, a cassette tape, and photographic material.
Admin_HistoryJohn Ogilvie, the son of a wealthy laird, was born into a Calvinist family at Drum-na-Keith near Keith in Banffshire, Scotland c1579. Although no record survives of his birth, it is known that he was 20 when he entered the Society of Jesus in 1599. He was educated in mainland Europe where he attended a number of Catholic educational establishments, under the Benedictines at Regensburg in Germany and with the Jesuits at the University of Olomouc and Brno in the present day Czech Republic. In 1596, aged seventeen, he was received into the Catholic Church at Louvain, Belgium. He joined the Society of Jesus 5 November 1599 at Brunn (Brno) and for the next 10 years lived in what is now Austria and Czech Republic, studying Theology and Philosophy and teaching in the Jesuit college in Vienna. In 1610 he was transferred to the French Province and ordained priest in Paris in 1611. After ordination he served in Rouen in Normandy where he made repeated entreaties to be sent to Scotland to minister to the few remaining Catholics in the Glasgow area, since it had become illegal to preach, proselytise for, or otherwise endorse Catholicism in 1550. In 1613 the Jesuit General, Claudio Aquaviva, consented to Ogilvie's desire to work in Scotland, and in autumn of that year he set off.

It was his hope that some Catholic nobles there would aid him, given his lineage. Finding none, he went to London, then back to Paris, and finally returned to Scotland in November 1613 disguised as a horse trader named John Watson. Thereafter he began to preach in secret, celebrating Mass clandestinely in private homes.

In 1614, he was betrayed and arrested in Glasgow and jailed in Paisley. He was tortured in an attempt to make him divulge the identities of other Catholics although he did not relent. Consequently he was convicted of high treason for refusing to accept the King's spiritual jurisdiction. On 10 March 1615, aged thirty-six years, he was executed at Glasgow Cross.

As a martyr of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation he was beatified in 1929 and canonised in 1976. He is the only post-Reformation saint from Scotland. His feast day is celebrated on 10 March.
Related MaterialFile on Ogilvie in papers of Clement Tigar SJ who served as a Vice-Postulator of the Cause of the 40 Martyrs at Farm St from 1966 until their canonisation in 1970. Documents include papers and pamphlets connected with the canonisation of Ogilvie, an Italian translation of C Desmond Ford SJ's book on Ogilvie, order of service for the Solemn Canonisation of Bl John Ogilvie SJ in the Basilica of St Peter 17 October 1976, photographs of a statue of Ogilvie and a plate showing the medieval precinct of Glasgow Cathedral, and an article by James Quinn SJ called 'Cavalier of Christ: John Ogilvie SJ' 1976.

Imprisonment of Ogilvie from John H. Pollens Transcripts of Documents from the Gesu (currently at the ARSI) 949.

For Foley's notes on Ogilvie's martyrdom quoting references from Jesuit Gen Archives and Scottish Archives see 46/9/9.

For a portrait see Philip Caraman SJ correspondence at 48/15/9.

For Fr Dillon's notes on martyrs including St John Ogilvie see 46/9/2/1.

Account of the capture of Ogilvie in 1615 in Scottish Jesuit Letters 1562-1752 f.26 Stonyhurst MS C.III.8

For Fr Joseph Stevenson's file on the Edinburgh exhibition in 1979 see 37/4/6/9.

See Martyrs' Cause papers DC/M.

See pamphlet collection.
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to archive material in the Jesuits in Britain Archives.
DS/UK/584Ogilvie; John (1579-1615); Saint; Martyr; Jesuit Priest1579-1615

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