Saint Anne Line
Jun 30, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast February 27
Patron Saint of Childless People, Converts, and Widows
Anne was the daughter of William Heigham of Dunmow, Essex, a gentleman of means and an ardent Calvinist.
When Anne and her brother converted to Catholicism, they were disowned and disinherited by their family.
In 1583, Anne married Roger Line, a convert like herself. But shortly after their marriage Roger was arrested for attending Mass and exiled to Flanders in Belgium, where he died in 1594.
Anne remained in London, where, despite her poor health, she was put in charge of two houses of refuge for priests in the city. But soon, the English authorities began to suspect the widow's activities and she removed herself to another location.
Then, on Candlemas Day in 1601, just as a Jesuit priest was about to celebrate Mass in Anne’s apartments, priest-catchers, men paid handsomely to root out Catholic clergy forced to celebrate Mass in secret, broke into the rooms.
On February 2, a blessing of candles traditionally takes place before Mass and a large number of people had gathered for the feast day. Quickly unvesting, Father Francis Page mingled with those in attendance as a form of concealment, but the altar prepared for the ceremony was all the evidence needed for Anne’s arrest.
She was imprisoned in Newgate Prison and later brought to trial at Sessions House. Anne was so weak from fever that she had to be carried in a chair to her trial on February 26. She was indicted under Elizabeth I's 1585 Act Against Jesuits and Seminarists (Elizabeth 27, Cap. 2) for providing haven to a Catholic Jesuit priest, and sentenced to be hanged at Tyburn.
The next day she was led to the gallows, bravely proclaiming her faith to the crowd before her sentence was carried out.
Anne had finally achieved the martyrdom for which she had prayed and is known as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.