Blessed John of Rochester, Carthusian Fortitude

 Blessed John of Rochester, Carthusian monk and abbot of their charterhouse in London, was cruelly put to death on this May 11th in 1537, by order of King Henry VIII. The monks refused to acquiesce in the king’s seeking of the dissolution of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, so he could marry his paramour Anne Boleyn. They also refused the Oath of Supremacy, by which the king usurped the authority of the Pope, making himself ‘head of the Church in England’.  So, as he had done two years earlier with his former chancellor Thomas More, and the bishop of Rochester, John Fisher, Henry had them murdered, and martyred. Dom Rochester was taken to Tyburn with fellow Carthusian Dom James Walworth, hung, drawn and quartered, and their bodies left to hang in the public square until they decomposed and fell to pieces. In total, fifteen of the London Carthusians were put to death by direct order of the king. Their life of prayer, discipline and asceticism gave them the grace to see through Henry’s machinations, and resist his tyranny, and may be inspired by their example in our own time. 

Their souls live on in memory, and in glory, and the two we celebrate today were beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.

Blessed John of Rochester and all holy martyrs of England, orate pro nobis! +