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Saint John Fisher College 60th


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"In the year of our Lord 1535, at 5:00 on Tuesday morning, June 22nd, the Lieutenant of the Tower of London awoke the sleeping John Fisher to deliver a message from King Henry VIII: the Bishop of Rochester was to be put to death that day before noon. Because the recently created Cardinal did not recognize Henry’s claim to be supreme head of the Church in England nor the validity of his marriage to Anne Boleyn, John Fisher was judged a traitor. In late May 1535, when the King was informed that Pope Paul III had created John Fisher a Cardinal, he wise-cracked that he would send Fisher’s head to Rome to receive the red hat. The imprisoned Bishop had been suffering a long physical illness, not at all helped by long hours of interrogation and a lengthy mock trial, when the news of his execution arrived. He turned over to catch some additional sleep asking the messenger to, “Awake me in an hour or two because I did not sleep well last night not for fear of death, but because I have been sick and am weak.” When the lieutenant arrived back at 9:00, the ailing Bishop was putting on his clothes. He asked the lieutenant to hand him his fur neck scarf to keep him warm for his ride to the place of execution. He did not want to become any sicker."

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