St. Alban Roe
(Bartholomew Roe 1583-1642)
The Primary Patron Saint of our Parish is one of the Forty English Martyrs canonized by the Church. Bartholomew Roe was born at Suffolk, England, in 1583 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. He was reared in a good Anglican home and later attended Cambridge University. It was while he was attending the university, during a summer break, that he visited the Abbey of St. Alban just north of London. At that time, the Abbey was a prison for Catholics. It was named after the first English martyr, Alban, our Secondary Patron Saint, who died around the end of the third century. It was at his Abbey that Bartholomew met a prisoner, whose name is unknown to this day, who inspired him to take a good hard look at the faith of his forefathers. Returning to Cambridge, this inspiration grew into faith and he was baptized. Not content with this, he decided to become a priest in Post Reformation England and he left for France to study for the priesthood.
He was accepted by the Benedictine Community in France, the same community that had fled Westminster during the reign of Henry VIII. He began to care for Catholic prisoners. He was soon imprisoned but continued to minister with his cheerful disposition.
He was finally ordered to die by hanging on January 21, 1642.
He was declared Blessed on December 15, 1929 and canonized in October 1970.
It is important to note that St. Alban Roe’s community returned later to England and is now situated at Ampleforth. The Benedictine Monks at the Priory are from the same community as St. Alban Roe.