Tuesday, June 22, 2010

English Martyrs: Ss Thomas More, John Cardinal Fisher, and Alban


This is the feast of Ss Thomas More and John Fisher in several calendars, among them the BDW, the Novus Ordo, and if memory serves in a local calendar or two in the traditional rite. Their feasts are observed locally in England on July 9 in the traditional rite, which was the date of St Thomas More's martyrdom. June 22 is the date Bishop Fisher was beheaded and was once his sole feast day. (The picture above, from the Wikipedia site, is of Bishop Fisher's old Cathedral of Rochester, considerably rebuilt in the 19th century. It was originally dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle but under Henry VIII that was changed to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary.)

There is a good life of St John in the old Catholic Encyclopædia here and one of St Thomas More here. There is a fine book-length biography of St John Fisher by E. E. Reynolds (which I think is back in print?) and at least two of St Thomas More by the same author.

Perhaps co-incidentally (although St Teresa professed not to believe in co-incidence but in Providence) today is also the feast of St Alban, the first English martyr. So long as you're paging through the Encyclopædia you could give a look at the article on St Alban. But if you do, you'll have to endure Fr Thurston, S.J. harrumphing and looking askance with every sentence. The Wikipedia page isn't nearly as grumpily skeptical. And it has a picture of St Alban's shrine.