Blessed John Duckett and Blessed Ralph Corby
This is the second time the name Duckett appears as we go through the calendar of saints and blesseds. James Duckett, an English martyr, is celebrated on April 19. He was related in some way to one of today's martyrs, John Duckett. Both John Duckett and Ralph Corby were priests. They lived in the seventeenth century and died as martyrs for the faith in 1644.
Father John studied at the English college of Douay and became a priest in 1639. He studied for three more years in Paris, and spent several hours each day in prayer. Before being sent back to his persecuted England, he spent two months with the Cistercian monks, devoting that time to prayer and retreat. The young priest labored for a year in England. He was caught with holy oils and a book of rites. When his captors threatened harm to his family and friends if he did not confess his identity, he admitted that he was a priest. He was brought to prison in London. There he met a fellow priest, Ralph Corby, a Jesuit. Father Corby had been laboring in England for twelve years before he was caught celebrating Mass. The Jesuit order tried feverishly to save Father Corby. When the "reprieve" came, he insisted that Father John Duckett who was younger, use it. But Father John would not allow himself to walk away and leave his friend.
Actually, neither priest would have been allowed to take advantage of the reprieve. The judges ignored it and condemned both priests to death. On September 7, 1644, at ten o'clock, the two men mounted the cart that would take them to Tyburn, the scene of execution. Their heads were shaved and they wore their cassocks. Each made a short speech, then embraced each other. They would meet again in the presence of the Lord of glory.
Reflection: What do I do when innocent people suffer from injustice?