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