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(1629 – 1681)
St. Oliver was born in County Meath Ireland, in 1629. He studied for the priesthood in Rome and was ordained there in 1654.
He spent the beginning of his career teaching and serving the poor of Rome. In 1669 he was appointed Archbishop of Armagh in Ireland.
When a wave of English anti-Catholic persecution began in 1673, Archbishop Plunkett had to go “underground,” doing his pastoral work in secrecy while disguised and lived in hiding.
The English sent many Irish priests into exile and Catholic schools were closed. Convents and seminaries were suppressed. As Ireland’s archbishop, Plunkett was considered the one responsible for any rebellion or political activity among his parishioners.
Archbishop Plunkett was arrested and imprisoned. A sham trial took place in Ireland and he was taken to London. After deliberating for 15 minutes, a jury found him guilty of fomenting revolt. He was hanged, drawn and quartered in July 1681. He was the last Catholic martyr to be killed in England.
Pope Paul VI canonized Oliver Plunkett in 1975.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini from Franciscan Media (2020). St. Oliver Plunkett of the Day for July 2. In Franciscan Media www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-oliver-plunkett/