St. Anne Lyne


Anne Heigham was born in England to wealthy Calvinist parents. Anne was raised during the time when the government persecuted the Catholic Church in England. They hunted priests and imposed the death penalty on them and on anyone who aided them for whatever reason. Anne was one of the many Catholic housewives (St. Margaret Clitherow) who helped priests have secret meetings in her home to celebrate Mass and to administer other sacraments.

When Anne and her brother became teenagers, they both converted to Catholicism. Their parents opposed the decision and consequently disowned and disinherited them and forced them to live elsewhere.

Anne later married a fervent Catholic named Roger Lyne. Roger did not obey the English authorities with pressures to conform to the Protestant church. He said: “If I must desert either the world or God, I will desert the world, for it is good to cling to God.” He suffered great financial losses because of this and was eventually arrested for attending Mass. He was eventually released but put in exile and later died.

After becoming a widow early in her married life, Anne continued to harbor priests and allow Mass in her home. All the while, she ran a guest house, managed the finances, did the housekeeping, and was hospitable to her guests as well as strangers.

On the feast of Candlemas, as a Mass was about to start, the authorities inspected her house and found the altar. Anne was indicted, tried, and convicted for harboring priests. She was brought to the gallows the next day in London. There, she kissed the gallows, recited a few prayers, made the Sign of the Cross and was hanged. She was executed with two priests, one being her confessor, Fr. Roger Filcock, S.J.

When asked about her harboring priests the day before her execution, Anne said: “Where I have received one, I would to God that I had been able to receive a thousand.” Anne Lyne was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.