Today is the feast of St Edmund Campion and his companions, St Alexander Bryant and St Ralph Sherwin, who were martyred with him on this day in 1581, so this is the 430th anniversary of their deaths. It is also designated as that of the martyrs of Oxford Universityin the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
I have been struck when reading about St Edmund by his bravura and sense of showmanship. He was clearly an immensely effective and moving preacher, and his eloquence in his advocacy of the Catholic case whilst in the Tower of London and at his trial deeply impressive. There is a panache in his leaving unsealed, allowing for its publication, his reasons for his mission - what became known as Campion's Brag but there is also his sense of daring in producing the Decem Rationes and having printed it secretly and then leaving copies in St Mary's, the University Church, in Oxford at the commencement service in July 1581. One can see why the government feared this one man so much.
The surviving portraits often fail to convey what must have been a lively and engaging as well as deeply serious personality. The posthumous painting in Prague seems somewhat lacking in the magnetism one senses St Edmund possessed:
Posthumous portrait of St Edmund Campion in the Klementinum in Prague
There is perhaps something closer to what made him both attractive and indeed compelling in this picture, although its source is not clear: