S. Romauld. 19th June
S. Romauld was born at Ravenna, to an aristocratic family, in about 950. He renounced the world and led the life of a hermit, roaming around in search of a place in which to live his life of solitude. He died about 1027 alone in his cell. Many miracles were wrought at his tomb and an altar was erected above it in 1032. In 1466 his body was found to be still incorrupt and it was translated to Fabiano in 1481.
S. Alban - 20th June
S. Alban is traditionally associated with the Diocletian persecution and, according to Bede, he was a pagan of Verulamium (S. Albans) who was converted and baptised by a fugitive Priest whom he sheltered. When the governor sent soldiers to search his house, Alban disguised himself in the priest’s cloak, was arrested and condemned to martyrdom. S. Alban was the first British martyr and his shrine still stands in S. Alban’s Abbey.
S. Aloysius Gonzaga 21st June
Born in 1568 near Mantua, he was the son of a high court official (Ferrante Gonzaga), and entered the Society of Jesus at the age of seventeen, at the same time renouncing his inheritance. He was weighed down by ill-health throughout his life and contracted the plague whilst working at a hospital in Rome. He died in 1591.
S. Paulinus of Nola -22nd June
Born into a notable senatorial family in 355, Paulinus was educated in Bordeaux and became a consul in 378. He married and had a son who died in infancy. He possessed large estates which he renounced on his Baptism in 389. He and his wife then retired from the world and Paulinus was elected Bishop of Nola in 409. For the next 22 years he exercised a pastoral ministry at the service of the people and spent a great deal of money on his chosen church and city. He died in 431 and many of his writings have survived.
S.S John Fisher &Thomas More - 22nd June
John Fisher was born in Beverley, Yorkshire in 1469 and, after studying at Cambridge, became Bishop of Rochester in 1504. Rochester was the poorest Diocese in England and his was a pastoral ministry during which he was noted for his charitableness to the poor. He was also a persistent opponent of the errors of the Protestant Reformation. When the question of Henry VIII’s divorce from Queen Catharine of Aragon arose, Fisher became the queen’s chief supporter and most trusted counsellor and preached publicly about the divorce. When Henry married Anne Boleyn and Parliament passed the Act of Succession - acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne as legitimate heirs to the throne – Fisher refused to take the oath and was sent to the Tower. He was executed on 22nd June 1535 and canonised in 1935 by Pope Pius XI. Many schools bear his name in their title but only one is called The John Fisher School. That school is in Purley, Surrey, and was named before he was canonised.
Thomas More was born nine years later than Fisher, in 1478. He studied at Oxford, was married and had one son and three daughters. He was a lawyer, author and statesman and occupied many public offices – the most famous being that of Chancellor of England from 1529-1532. His writings include ‘Utopia’, and many prayers and letters revealing his spirituality. He was executed by Henry VIII as a traitor on 6th July 1535 for refusing to accept the King’s claim to be Supreme Head of the Church of England. He was canonised in 1935 and is the Patron Saint of lawyers and statesmen.
S. Ethelreda – 23rd June
Ethelreda was the daughter of Anna, a Christian king of the East Angles and was married at an early age to the Prince of the Gyrvii. On his death she withdrew to the Isle of Ely for a life of prayer. After five years, she returned to the world to marry Egfrid of Northumbria, but after twelve years became a nun and received the veil in about 672 from S. Wilfrid at Coldingham where her aunt was abbess. About a year later she founded the double monastery of Ely, of which she was abbess until her death in 679.