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Reliquary with Important Relic of the Blessed Francis Page, the last Jesuit Martyr of England

Baroque reliquary made of painted wood decorated by cherubs in four corners with two glass windows housing significant historically important first-class ex ossibus (of the bone) relic of the Blessed Francis Page, Jesuit Martyr of England. Inside of the reliquary, the relic is affixed to a velvet-covered board and identified in black paint in Gothic script on the front-side as Francis P, Mart. (Francis Page, Martyr). The Martyr is further identified on two labels affixed to the relic with his year of death noted as 1602 and secured by a seal of red Spanish wax with an imprint of a coat of arms of a French Cardinal. On the back of the velvet-covered board, there is a manuscript letter of testimony dated 1886 and certified by a seal of red Spanish wax with an imprint of a coat of arms of the Jesuit Order.

Translation of the Authentics document:

"The undersigned priest of the parish of Decize certifies having received and verified on the 3 April of 1883, this relic of the Martyr Francis Page who died in 1602. We have found the relic in a perfect state of preservation. And after having placed in its reliquary of wood surmounted by the image of the Holy Virgin Mother of God, we have sealed it with our seal. Done and sealed in this place the 25 April 1886."

Blessed Francis Page SJ (+1602) was the last member of the Society of Jesus who fell a victim to the edict by Queen Elizabeth of England enacting a capital punishment to Catholic priests and Jesuits in the country. Francis was a Belgian-born English Protestant who converted to Catholicism in order to win the hand of the woman he wanted to marry but discovered a call to become a priest as he learned more about the Catholic religion. He was arrested before he could enter the novitiate, but he took Jesuit vows shortly before his execution. When he came to London after being ordained in 1600, he was able to do ministry for over a year. He narrowly escaped arrest one time just as he was about to begin celebrating Mass. Fourteen months later Page was not so fortunate when he was recognized by a woman who made it her business to turn priests in so she could collect the reward. Page's trial on April 19, 1602, led to a predictable condemnation to die for high treason. He had applied to become a Jesuit but was not able to go back to the Continent to enter the novitiate. The night before he was killed he was allowed to join a Jesuit imprisoned in the adjoining cell; the young priest took vows as a Jesuit, a fact he proudly proclaimed the next day as he stood at the gallows, just before he was hung and then dismembered. Francis Page was beatified in 1929 and his Feast day is celebrated on April 20th. 

Additional Info

  • ID#: 02-RSLFR-28
  • Age: ca. 1886 in earlier reliquary
  • Origin: France
  • Materials: Painted wood, glass, paper.
  • Price: SOLD!
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