St. John Ogilvie

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

St. John Ogilvie

Priest, Confessor & Martyr

Feast Day March 10th

The just shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall hope in Him:

and all the upright in heart shall be praised.

Son of a Scottish laird, John Ogilvie was brought up in a Calvinist family. Sent to France to be educated, he ultimately converted to Catholicism. Becoming acquainted with the Jesuit Order, he requested admission, was accepted, and was ordained in 1610 in Paris.

After meeting two Jesuits who had undertaken clandestine missionary work in Scotland (since 1560 Catholicism was outlawed in the British Isles) he offered himself for the perilous mission. With orders to proceed to Scotland, he travelled under the name of John Watson, horse dealer.

Landing in Scotland in November of 1613, during nine months he provided spiritual support to clandestine Catholics and reconciled many to the Church in the region of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Betrayed, he was imprisoned and suffered various tortures but nothing could induce him to reveal the names of those he had helped. His patience, courage and gaiety aroused the admiration of his persecutors, but, in the end, he was condemned as a traitor who refused to acknowledge the religious supremacy of the king, and was hanged in Glasgow.

John Ogilvie was canonised in 1976, the only Scottish martyr of the Counter-Reformation.


We beseech Thee, almighty God: that through the intercession of blessed John Ogilvie, Thy Martyr, we may be delivered from all adversity that may happen to the body, and may be cleansed in mind from evil thoughts. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

A thought for the Day

From ‘The Following of Christ’ by Thomas A. Kempis

Thou must be willing, for the love of God, to suffer all things-namely, labours and sorrows, temptations, vexations, anxieties, necessities, infirmities, injuries, detractions, reprehensions, humiliations, confusions, corrections and contempt’s. I will reward thee most abundantly; I will be with thee in all thy tribulations.


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