Who Was St. John Fisher?
Saint John Fisher (c. 19 October 1469 – 22 June 1535) was an English Catholic bishop, cardinal, and theologian. John Fisher was also an academic, and eventually served as Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.
He went on to introduce scholarships into education, working closely with Erasmus. and had a passion for education for all.
John Fisher was appointed the Bishop of Rochester at the personal insistence of Henry VII and was the priest for Margaret Beaufort, Henry’s wife. John Fisher later became the personal tutor of their son Henry VIII.
When Henry VIII famously tried to divorce Queen Catherine of Aragon, John Fisher became the Queen’s chief supporter. As such, he appeared on the Queen’s behalf in the legates’ court, declaring that he was prepared to die for faith. John Fisher refused to condone Henry’s later marriage to Anne Boleyn. As a result, he was condemned to forfeit all his personal estate and to be imprisoned.
John Fisher was executed by order of Henry VIII on 22nd June 1535 for refusing to accept the King as Supreme Head of the Church of England, over the Pope.
St John Fisher is the patron saint of our school because of his passion for education and his close links to Rochester and Chatham.
‘Fisher, Bishop of Rochester’: by Jacobus Houbraken after Hans Holbein
St. John Fisher Feast Day
Celebrating the feast day of our patron saint is definitely one of the highlights of our school calendar! Activities on the day are all whole school based. We begin with a whole school outdoor mass, inviting local clergy to celebrate with us.
Students and staff help to plan and prepare the liturgy including the music. Invitations are also extended to governors, local schools and members of the local parish and community. Following the outdoor mass, students return to their form rooms to learn more about our patron saint, in fun and engaging ways such as quizzes with competitions. This allows us to deepen our understanding of the role St. John Fisher played in the Catholic faith and in turn our own lives today. Students then return to the outdoor spaces and are free to engage in any of the many fun day activities. These activities include things such as outdoor games, sports challenges, beat the teacher games, charity stalls selling homemade treats and live music. One of the most anticipated aspects of the day is our finale ‘SJF’s Got Talent’. Students showcase their God-given gifts and talents for all to see. There are usually a wide range of acts, and it is a joy to see the students celebrate the abilities of those in our school family.