St. John Fisher, Bishop and Martyr
Home » Behind the Catholic Counter » St. John Fisher, Bishop and Martyr

St. John Fisher, Bishop and Martyr

John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester
Born at Beverly, 1469 – martyred June 22, 1535, Tower of London
Canonizeed (with Saint Thomas More) 1935
Saint John Fisher studied theology in Cambridge, England and became Bishop of Rochester. His friend Saint Thomas More wrote of him, “I reckon in this realm no one man, in wisdom, learning, and long approved virtue together, meet to be matched and compared with him.”

Saint John Fisher and his friend Saint Thomas More gave up their lives in testimony to the unity of the Church and to the indissolubility of marriage.

Of all the English bishops, only Bishop John Fisher of Rochester publicly opposed Henry VIII’s mandatory Oath of Allegience, which unlawfully declared King Henry the head of the Church of England. The bishop’s stand ultimately cost him his life. May his example inspire all Catholics today, especially the bishops on whose courageous leadership the Church depends.

Reply to Bishops Stokesley, Gardiner and Tunstal, sent to the Tower by Thomas Cromwell to persuade Fisher to submit to the King:

Methinks it had been rather our parts to stick together in repressing these violent and unlawful intrusions and injuries dayly offered to our common mother, the holy Church of Christ, than by any manner of persuasions to help or set forward the same.

And we ought rather to seek by all means the temporal destruction of the so ravenous wolves, that daily go about worrying and devouring everlastingly, the flock that Christ committed to our charge, and the flock that Himself died for, than to suffer them thus to range abroad.

But (alas) seeing we do it not, you see in what peril the Christian state now standeth: We are besieged on all sides, and can hardly escape the danger of our enemy. And seeing that judgment is begone at the house of God, what hope is there left (if we fall) that the rest shall stand!

The fort is betrayed even of them that should have defended it. And therefore seeing the matter is thus begun, and so faintly resisted on our parts, I fear that we be not the men that shall see the end of the misery.

Wherefore, seeing I am an old man and look not long to live, I mind not by the help of God to trouble my conscience in pleasing the king this way whatsoever become of me, but rather here to spend out the remnant of my old days in praying to God for him.

On the scaffold he said to the people assembled:

Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church, and I thank God hitherto my stomach hath served me very well thereunto, so that yet I have not feared death.

Wheefore I do desire you all to help and assist me with your prayers, that at the very point and instant of death’s stroke, I may in that very moment stand steadfast without fainting in any one point of the Catholic faith free from any fear; and I beseech Almighty God of His infinite goodness to save the king and this Realm, and that it may please Him to hold His holy hand over it, and send the king good Counsel.

He then knelt, said the Te DeumIn te domine speravi, and submitted to the axe.

 (Women for Faith & Family,

Learn more about St. John Fisher

Br. Philip Grinslade
St. John Fisher, Bishop and Martyr Br. Philip Grinslade

Thank you for posting this information on St. Charbel, priest, hermit, and saint. Yestereay at the Mass celebrated in his honor and memory, I learned of his life for the first time. I myself follow the life of a hermit according the the simple rule of St. Francis of Assisi and under the inspiration of what I have been able to learn from the rules of other orders and their saintly examples.

Early in my youth I entered the Franciscan Order (O.F.M.) as an aspiratant to the priesthood as a Franciscan. When my mother's illness led me to choose to leave the Franciscan community to assist her in her last illness, I did not realize that this choice would lead me to live a life that would exclude a return to the cloister and religious life. In the interim I have sought to emulate the holy examples of those who have inspired me and the result is this simple life as a hermit which I try to live in the spirit of St. Francis.

However, I am greatly inspired by the life of St. Charbel and wonder if there is any possibility of my becoming a Maronite priest so I could emulate his life as a hermit and a priest?

Thank you for receiving and helping me in my effort to seek to follow the Will of God in this regard and to live my vocation according to God's grace and calling.

Sincerely and respectfully yours,

Br. Philip Grinslade

Read previous post:
Current Catholic Summer Reading Update

We are down to our last week of voting for the Catholic Summer Reading titles! The adult category has a...