Edmund Campion become Catholic and gave up a promising career at Oxford and an invitation to Queen Elizabeth's court. His parents had converted to Protestantism, and he was studying for Anglican priesthood at the time.
Ordained an Anglican deacon, he could take no more. He had to become Catholic and left for Dublin and eventually Belgium where English seminarians were training during the persecution. There his missionary spirit drove him to the Jesuits in Rome and eventually to Austria for his novitiate and training.
When the English mission opened, he was one of the first sent over. Stopping in Rome, he continued the secret journey to England with some Jesuit companions.
They left for England basically knowing that their mission would end in death, but not just any death - martyrdom.
A couple of years ago, I visited the English college. On the wall hangs a list of all the seminarians and priests martyred on their return to England. It was almost eerie to hear the same halls reverberate with their footsteps.
Their days were numbered, yet somehow not even death scared them. It was worth it all just to have the chance fight for love and truth, to witness to Christ.
In his statement before leaving for England, "Campion's Brag", as it is called - his voice rings out with the mission clear,
"My charge is, of free cost to preach the Gospel, to minister the Sacraments, to instruct the simple, to reform sinners, to confute errors—in brief, to cry alarm spiritual against foul vice and proud ignorance, wherewith many of my dear countrymen are abused."