Completing His Degree

Edmund’s return to school, to post-graduate studies, was like a class reunion for him. So many of his friends from Oxford had already preceded him but he was especially glad to find Gregory. It was his letters that had been so instrumental in his deciding to come. Edmund already had two degrees and a dazzling career before him with both support and funding from the government. But at Gregory’s urging, he gave it all up. After a few days of reacquainting, catching up on their lives since they last parted, they got down to business.

Though the “English College” was technically in France, at Douai, the students there were all English, Irish, and Welsh. Not popular with the neighboring community, Edmund and his companions kept mostly hidden, immersing themselves in their studies as few ever had before. Before long, his courses took him on a virtual tour of Europe: Rome, Brünn, Geneva, Milan, and finally Prague where he finished his schooling. His résumé was filled with honors and degrees and proofs of excellence. It was time for him to go home.

To England.

It had been a decade.

A friend met him in London and found him a place to stay. He’d move around a lot after that and it was often hard to track him down. He did a bit of writing and performed some of the small expected functions taken on after his years of study. But as lettered as Edmund was, there was still one more paper he waited for.

He got it on November 20, 1581 at Westminster Hall. That paper read, “Campion, Seditious Jesuit.” The guilty verdict was pronounced, for the treasonous crime of being a priest, and Edmund Campion thanked God. His last graduation ceremony came eleven days later by hanging, drawing, and quartering.

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