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Celebrating two English martyrs

2016-06-22 09:12

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Celebrating two English martyrs

 

St John Fisher

He was a Yorkshire man, one of nine children who received a papal dispensation to be ordained at the age of 22. John Fisher, born in Beverley in October, 1469, subsequently became the Bishop of Rochester, then the poorest diocese in England. A theologian and an excellent administrator, the boy from Beverley ended up simultaneously running both, a diocese and Cambridge University. He also attracted the attention of King Henry VII, acting as his secretary and tutor to the two Princes, Arthur and the future Henry VIII. The problem began when Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon in favour of Anne Boleyn in the hopes of getting a son and heir. John supported Catherine and refused to sign the Act of Supremacy making Henry head of the Church in England. Accused of treason, John was beheaded at Tower Hill at the age of 65 on 22 June 1535.

 

St Thomas More

Thomas More was a Londoner. He was the father of four children, adopted father of a fifth and guardian of a sixth. That is why, in addition to being the patron saint of lawyers and politicians, he is also the patron of large families, adopted children and of widowers. Born in 1478, the son of a wealthy and successful lawyer, Thomas also studied law, eventually becoming a close friend of the future King Henry VIII and succeeding Cardinal Wolsey as Lord Chancellor of England. Unusually for his time, he insisted on educating his daughters. Accused of treason for refusing to sign the Act of Supremacy, Thomas was imprisoned in the Tower of London. His beloved daughter Meg became a particular support to her father during his captivity. Thomas was sentenced to death in a trial which lasted for 15 minutes and was beheaded at Tower Hill, aged 57, on 6 July 1535.

 

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Thomas More: Faith-filled Father

Barbara Yoffie

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