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St. Oliver Plunkett
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Religious Figure
    (November 1, 1629-July 1, 1681)
    Born in Loughcrew, Ireland
    Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland (1670-81)
    Convicted in England of high treason 'for promoting the Roman faith'
    Executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered
    Canonized by Pope Paul VI (1975)
    Preserved head displayed at St. Peter's Church in Drogheda, Ireland
    After being ordained as a priest (1654), he petitioned to remain in Rome rather than return to Ireland and face persecution by the English occupiers.
    He had a long-running feud with Peter Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland (but not All Ireland), about which of them ranked higher in the Church hierarchy.
    The Catholic Church did not get around to declaring him a martyr until 1918.
    For his canonization, the second miracle usually required for sainthood was waived.
    He was a victim of the anti-Catholic hysteria whipped up by Titus Oates.
    Despite a price on his head, he refused to leave Ireland and abandon his flock.
    Despite their dispute, when they were imprisoned together at Dublin Castle, he forced his way past the guards to administer last rites to Archbishop Talbot.
    His trial was held in London because of the belief that no jury in Ireland -- even an all-Protestant one -- would ever convict him.
    He was denied legal counsel for his defense and was not given time to bring witnesses from Ireland.
    Before his execution, he forgave the people responsible for his conviction and his death.

Credit: C. Fishel


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