Saturday 25 August 2007

St John Fisher's Half-sister Lived in my Parish

Thanks to people in this parish who research things and write books, a book about the history of Catholicism in this part of the world was published. Then in June we were given prayer cards with some prayers from St John Fisher, written in the Tower of London.

Also, in that little pamphlet was a brief summing up of his sister's life. Sr Elizabeth White was a nun in the only of monastery of Dominican sisters in England at that time. There also lived in that monastery the sisters of two of the Carthusians, Bl William Exmew and Bl Sebastian Newdigate, who were executed days before St John Fisher was beheaded. The monastery was dissolved by Henry VIII and though the community returned under Queen Mary, were forced to leave by Queen Elizabeth's Visitors in 1559, ending their days in exile in the Low Countries. We now have the Priory Shopping Centre in the town. I don't know if it's the same site.

I like to think that St John Fisher must have visited his half sister, especially as we are in the Diocese of Rochester and as I live just off the old London Road must have passed by.

By coincidence, my parents live in one of the many St John Fisher Parishes and in 1985, the 50th anniversary of the first Mass in that town since the Reformation, they organised a trip for the Youth Club to visit his cell in the Tower of London. I also went with my Mum to see St John Fisher's Calendar, which lists all his actions as Bishop. It was on loan from Kent to East Sussex and was in Lewes of all places. Looking back it is amazing that we didn't have to wear gloves to handle the folios. She wanted to find a reference to their parish. Unfortunately, although she can read Latin fine, the hand-writing was illegible past reading the dates. Still a priviledge that we saw it.


Mulier Fortis said...

Ooooh.... what was the book, and is it on sale anywhere?

leutgeb said...

Well it's green, hard back and my copy is on loan to my parents, but I can get it for you. Title 'The Catholic life of D_____.' I think.

They did sell it in Smiths in D____. I would imagine it was a single print run. I'll have a look in the 'Holy Shop' (cupboard really) on Sunday.

There's a lovely photo inside of the then PP meeting JPII in St Peter's Square with everyone looking very smiley. The sort of photos rarely seen until the invention of blogs.