Scots College celebrates St John Ogilvie

The 10th March is the Feast Day of St John Ogilvie a saint who played a significant part in the history of the Scots College.

John Ogilvie was born in 1579 into a Calvinist family in Keith. They were able to send young John to the continent for his education where he eventually became a Catholic at the end of the 16th century. He became a member of the Society of Jesus and by 1610 he was ordained a priest in Paris.

The new priest pleaded with his superiors that he should be allowed to return to Scotland to minister to the decreasing numbers of Catholics and so, by the end of 1613 John Ogilvie returned to the country he had left 17 years earlier. However, he was betrayed a little under a year later, refused to pledge allegiance to James VI of Scotland, saying he would not pledge allegiance the ing anymore than to an old hat. He was martyred in Glasgow in 1615, the only martyr of the Scottish Reformation.

Ogilvie_PrayerUpon the gallows he entrusted his soul to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints. His final words were, “If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me, but the prayers of heretics I will not have.” As he was pushed from the steps with a noose around his neck, he threw the rosary beads he had been hiding in his hand into the crowd. Legend has it that one of his enemies caught the beads and soon after, became a devout Catholic. John Ogilvie was martyred at the age of thirty six.

The following year on the first anniversary of his death the men of the Scots College in Rome pledged to train as priests to return and minister to the Catholics in Scotland. The 400th anniversary of that was commemorated by the college with a private audience with Pope Francis in 2016.

John Ogilvie was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI. In 1976, when a man was miraculously cured of cancer Pope Paul VI canonised John Ogilvie.

Today, the Scots College remembers the memory of St John Ogilvie on the 10th March with Mass and Lunch. It is the day in the college calendar when we invite professors from the various institutes in the city that Scots attend to thank them for their work with the community.


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