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Fr Thomas Aquinas was a distinguished preacher and a zealous missionary, who earned for himself the hatred of the heretics by the assiduity and successful results of his preaching and labours in confirming the oppressed and persecuted Catholics in the faith, and in winning several back who had fallen into the errors of heresy.  He was captured, while engaged in his apostolic work, in the house of a hoble family recently converted by him.  The Puritans, having obtined information of his whereabouts through the treachery of a servant, invested the house on all sindes, like wolves raging for the blood of the preist, and threatened the inmates with all manner of excesses and cruelties if the Papist prest were not given up to them.  They searched the house in every part, but having searched in vain retired, and prepared to set it on fire.  Seeing the impending danger, Fr Thomas, more solicitous for the safety of others thatn for his own, came out of his own accord and surrendered himself into the hands of his pursuers, by whom, in their savage exultation, he was most cruelly beaten, bound with cords, and in that state carried almost lifeless to Drgheda, and there cast into prison, where he was left to languish for a considerable time.  Under treatment so harsh he suffered no expression of complaint to escape from his lips; but he bore all with joy, rejoicing to suffer for Christ, and deditation on the words of the Apostle: 'I am apprehended by the Lord.' (Phil 3:12)

Among many others imprisoned for the same cause, was a priest of the Order of St Francis, the Guardian of the Fransican community in Drgheda.  By him Fr Thomas was received with extreme joy, and with his assistance succeeded in procuring the sacred habit of the Order, with which he clothed himself in prison.  To prepare himself for the conflict, he carefully confessed to this Franciscan Father the faults of his whole life, celebrated Mass daily, thus fortifying himself with the bread of the Strong.  The remainder of the day he spent in comforting and encouraging the Catholic prisoers, in company with the good Franciscan.  He devoted the greater part of the night to mental and vocal prayer; he fasted continually, and chastised his body with great severity, in order to detach it from the love of this present life, and lest it should impeded his spirit from union with hits Lord, to whom he frequently offered the sacrifice of his life.  He besought the Blessed Mother of God and all the hevenly citizens to succour him in his struggle.

Early on the morning of the 6th of July, which the Fr was offering the Holy Sacrifice, a messenger from the Governer (Lord Moore of Mellifont) of the town announced to him that he was condemned to be hanged within an hour.  Fr Thomas received the announcemet of his fate umoved by the fear of death.  He thanked God, confessed again, and prepared himself for death.  When the time had come, he took a last leave of his fellow-preisoners, impolored the assistance of their prayers, and then resigned himself into the hands of the Puritan satellites.  These men, stronge to say, notwithstanding their abhorrence of all religious garbs and symbols, suffered him to retain his religous habit to the last.  Hlding a crucifix in one hand and a rosary in the other, he went forth to execution, joyously chanting the Litany of the Blessed Virgin.  On his way the heretical ministers sought to persuade him to adompt heir views; but they were repulsed by the good Father whom, fixing his eyes on his crucifix, asked them to say what might be the true faith of heretics, who believed or disbelieved according as each one liked for himself.  'Rather return,' he said to them, 'to the old faith taught by the Apostles, and hitherto professed by your own nation.'

A minister told him that, by authorization of the Governor, he could give him a choice of offices in the army, provided only he would 'repent and not perish.'  To this offer Fr Thomas answered that his duty was not to hesitate to die for the faith.  Towards the end of the journey, the Father was met by an unhappy woman condemned to death for her crimes.  Being provised pardon on condition of renoucing her religion, she was grievously tempted to apostatize; but a few earnest words of exhortation from Fr Thomas confirmed her in the faith, with the happy result that, having first made public profession of the true faith, she cheerfully faced her doom.

Having reached the scaffold, Fr Thomas was commanded to ascend, which he according did, professing the faith aloud in the meantime, and earnestly conjuring all the Catholics present to contedn for it manfully unto death.  But the Commander, fearing a tumult among the people, ordered the executioner to hasten his work.  Not without the intense amazement of the spectators, the rope, although a stout one, snapped, letting Fr Thomas fall to the ground, not dead but uncouscious.  The Catholics attributed this extraordinary circumstance to the intervention of divine Providence, that thus the cause of one unjustly condemned might be vindicated before the vast multitude of people.  Scarcely had he evived, when the Commander again ordered him to mount the scaffold; but here again the divine Power showed itself, for the holy confessor ascended with out difficulty, and speaking without the least trouble, he appealed to the Puritan officer to state the cause for which he had been condemned to die, protesting that this conscience was his witness that he had done not wrong to any man, nor commited any crime deserving of death.  The Puritan replied agrily: 'Why do you ask of me the cause of your condemnation; are you not a Papis, a priest, and a monk?'  'It is so; it is enough,' the Father replied: 'I am guilty of no crime.  Let it therefore appear to all men that I die for the Catholic faith and the religious profession, for which I also die gladly.'  THe Puritan now reminded him of the Governer's promises; that they yet remained good; that time enough yet remained in which he could change his mind.  But when he understood that he was offering suggestions to edaf ears, he ordered the executioner to end his work.

Not only were the Catholics profoundly grieved by the death of the servant of God, but many Protestants as well, who since they had dissented from the ancient fatih under pretext of liberty, considered that to put anyone to death merely on account of his religion was to destroy liberty.

The confessor's body was taken away and intered by the Catholics in the cemetery adjoing the Augustinian convent, recently wrecked by the Puritans.  God, to show that He has ever at heart the care of the honour of His servants, caused a brilliant heavenly light to shine over the Carmelite's grave on the following night.  The light was visible to the soldiers stationed at one of the gates of the town opposite, as well as to many other persons in the neighbourhood.  The soldiers, being of opinion that the light was brought there by Catholics burying their dead, went, forty strong, to the spot in which they thought the light had appeared.  In the cemetery they could see no one; all wa utter darkness; they were much terrified, and fled.  They saw it again when they returned to their station at the gate.  THe Captain himself next proceeded in the direction of the mysterious light, taking with im fifty men, but only to find the same utter darkness.  He immediately fled from the cemetery, terror-stricken, himself bravely leading the wway.  Having thus failed as a brave soldier, the Captain next, assuming a more puritanical frome of mind, declared with due solemnity that the light must have issued from hell with the devil, who had come to carry off the Papist's body along with his soul.

This irreverent remark having received but scant applause from his comrades, who had not yet quite recovered from their fear, abandoning his infernal theory, the Captain now swore by his Puritan soul that the Papsit was not buried there at all.  The event showed that in this too he was mistaken, for next morning he visited the grave, and found the body of the friar there calmly reposing.  He stripped it of the white mantle and scapular, carried both away with him, and went about relating to all he met his wondrous visions and experiences of the previous eventful night.  Another solier took away the friar's crucifix, which he refused to sell to the Catholics for any price, declaring earnestly that he would cherish it all his life as a most precious memorial of a man who had been unjustly put to death.