TODAY is the feast day of St Hyacintha Mariscotti, described as a virgin. Daughter of a noble family in the 17th century she showed no inclination for piety but was sent to a convent because she was too ill- humoured to keep at home. She scandalised the nuns by living in the worldly style to which she had become accustomed. Her sudden conversion came when, falling ill, she was visited by a priest who warned her that her soul was in mortal danger. After some backsliding, a second more serious illness set her back on the right path and she is recorded as admiring those who persisted in prayer even though they hated it.
30 January 1606: Sir Everard Digby (above) and three other Gunpowder Plot conspirators, were hanged, drawn and quartered in London. John Aubrey in Brief Lives records: 'When his heart was plucked out by the executioner (who secundum formam cried 'Here is the heart of a traitor]') he replied 'Thou liest]' '.
1649: Charles I executed, convicted of treason.
1933: Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany.
1948: Mohandas Karamchand 'Mahatma' Gandhi assassinated in his garden.
1972: Bloody Sunday in Londonderry; 13 marchers killed by British troops.