John Ogilvie, born in 1579, when the Protestant ‘reformation’ had taken hold in Britain, not least his (and my own) native land of Scotland under the apostate John Knox, was raised in his first formative years by a Calvinist father. However, along with many young noblemen, he was sent to the Continent to be educated by the recently-founded Jesuits, who had already made a name for themselves for having the best schools and curricula (adopting what had always been considered a Catholic liberal arts program, their famous ratio studiorium).

Young Sir John soon realized the truth of Catholicism, in contrast to the obvious errors, theological, historical and spiritual, of Knox’s Presbyterianism, and, at the age of 17, was received into the Church. Soon afterwards, he joined the Jesuits themselves in 1599, and, after a solid decade of formation, was ordained in 1610.

Father Ogilvie spent his all-too brief priestly ministry as a missionary first in London, then Paris, and finally amongst his own people Scotland, where Catholicism and the sacraments were outlawed under pain of death; it was here, not far from where he was born, after working for a year clandestinely as a priest under the pseudonym ‘John Watson, horse-trader’ that he was betrayed.

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