The only explanation, which it is perhaps fitting to make, in introducing this interesting and classical work to the public, would concern the length of time it has been permitted to lie unknown. Every copy but one, so far as I know, has perished, and that copy lies as it were lost, neither referred to by historians, nor mentioned by bibliographers under its distinguished author's name. The explanation is that it originally did its work so well, that it would never have been wholly unknown, and that in altered forms it is popular enough. It has been translated into Latin and Spanish, and twice into Italian; it has also been abbreviated, remodelled and modernized. Its substance is therefore very well known, for this little book is in effect the germ of all the martyrologies that have been written about the sufferers under Queen Elizabeth. A long chapter of bibliography would be needed to set forth all the variously modified forms under which the contents of this book have reached us. I shall return to this subject later, but first a few words. about the author. Of William Cardinal Allen, it would be hard indeed to speak too highly. If we except Blessed Edmund Campion, there was perhaps no one among the English Catholics of his day who can be placed higher. Amid all the miseries and sufferings of persecution and exile his co-religionists greeted him as "our Moses," "Pater Patrire," "the man upon whom all depends," though it was he who most of all insisted on their enduring those miseries without flinching. The explanation is given us by Campion's words below, "Neither shall this Church here ever faile, so long as Priests and Pastors be found for the sheepe; rage man or devil never so much." It was, indeed, due to Campion that this assurance could be given, for it was his glorious zeal which enkindled the spirit of martyrs throughout the whole Catholic community; but it was not only due to Allen that" Priests and Pastors" were actually" found for the sheepe," but he had also been the first to foresee the way out of the difficulty. He had done so at the very moment when the fortunes of Catholicism seemed desperate, and he had devoted life, fortune, influence, everything to the building up of that seminary at Douay in which the "Priests and Pastors" were taught and ordained.
William Cardinal Allen, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1484151100, ISBN 13: 9781484151105