These three martyrs lived in England at a time when the Catholic Church was under terrible torture by Queen Elizabeth I.
"Mr." Roger Dickenson was an Englishman from Lincoln who studied to become a priest in Rheims, France. Father Dickenson was then sent on a mission to England. There he worked as an undercover diocesan priest. He said Mass, helped Catholics receive the sacraments and strengthen their faith. He could not do it openly because he knew he would be arrested and put in prison or even killed. And although he was happy to die for Jesus, he was needed by the Catholic community, so they could practice their faith.
Ralph Milner was an uneducated farmer from Flacstead in Hampshire, who had a wife and eight children. He was brought up as a Protestant but was so impressed by the good example of his Catholic neighbors, that he took instructions and was received into the Catholic Church. On the day he made his First Communion he was put into prison for being a Catholic.
The prison guards respected and trusted Farmer Milner because of his good behavior. So for many years, he went on "parole" to find supplies of food and utilities. He also helped the prisoners with their spiritual needs by bringing them undercover priests. This is how he met Father Dickenson.
While on parole, he was of great help to Father Dickenson and Father Stanney, a Jesuit priest. Finally, the day came when Father Dickenson and Farmer Milner were both arrested when they were going around the local villages meeting the needs of the Catholics there.
They were taken to the Winchester jail and brought to trial together. Father Dickenson was charged for the crime of being a Catholic priest. Farmer Milner was charged with helping Father Dickenson perform his ministry.
The judge looked at Mrs. Milner and the couple's eight children and took pity on them. He wanted to free Milner at all costs. "All you have to do," he said, "is visit a Protestant church, just for a few minutes, to say you have been there. I'll let you go free to be with your family." Mr. Milner quietly and firmly refused saying he would rather die for his faith.
On July 7, 1591, he and Father Dickenson went bravely to their deaths where they were hung, drawn and quartered.
The third martyr, Lawrence Humphrey was born at Hampshire in England. With the help of Father Stanney, S.J., he was converted and became a Catholic. Lawrence was just twenty-one years old when he was arrested but he would not give up the faith he had so recently found. He too was hanged, drawn and quartered at the Winchester prison.
How deep is my faith and relationship with God? Am I ready to give my life for Him?