Patron Saints at SS Alban & Stephen Catholic Church in St Albans
Our Patron Saints
St Alban and St Stephen are the Patron Saints of our church, our parish and
two of our schools; St John Fisher is Patron Saint of another of our schools
- First English Martyr,
lived in Verulamium
(now St Albans)
- ??? - c. 287
day 22nd June
St. Alban was the first martyr of England, his own country. During a persecution of Christians, Alban,
though a pagan then, hid a priest in his house. The priest made such a great
impression on this kind pagan that Alban received instructions and became
a Christian himself.
In the meantime, the governor had been told that the priest was hiding
in Alban's house, and he sent his soldiers to capture him. But Alban changed clothes with his guest, and gave himself
up instead. The judge was furious when he found
out that the priest had escaped and he said to Alban, "You shall get the
punishment he was to get unless you worship the gods." The Saint answered
that he would never worship those false gods again. "To what family do
you belong?" demanded the judge. "That does not concern you,"
said Alban. "If you want to know my religion, I am a Christian." Angrily
the judge commanded him again to sacrifice to the gods at once. "Your
sacrifices are offered to devils," answered the Saint. "They cannot help you or
answer your requests. The reward for such sacrifices is the everlasting punishment
- First Martyr, lived in Jerusalem. -
??? - c. 35 - Feast
day 26th December
Stephen's name means "crown," and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's
crown. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The apostles
had found that they needed helpers to look after the care of the widows
and the poor. So they ordained seven deacons, and Stephen is the most famous
God worked many miracles
through Stephen and he spoke with such wisdom and grace that many of his
hearers became followers of Jesus. The enemies of the Church of Jesus were
furious to see how successful Stephen's preaching was. At last, they laid
a plot for him. They could not answer his wise argument, so they had men
lie about him, saying that he had spoken sinfully against God. Stephen faced
that great assembly of enemies without fear. In fact, the Bible says that
his face looked like the face of an angel.
The saint spoke about
Jesus, showing that He is the Savior, God had promised to send. He scolded
his enemies for not having believed in Jesus. At that, they rose up in great
anger and shouted at him. But Stephen looked up to Heaven and said that he
saw the heavens opening and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
His hearers plugged their
ears and refused to listen to another word. They dragged St. Stephen outside the city of Jerusalem
and stoned him to death. The saint
prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" Then he fell to his knees
and begged God not to punish his enemies for killing him. After such
an expression of love, the holy martyr went to his heavenly reward.).
St John Fisher
English bishop and martyr, born in Yorkshire
- Feast day 22 June
He received his masters degree in
1491 and thereafter occupied the vicarage
of Northallerton until 1494. He then became proctor at Cambridge,
at his college, Michaelhouse (later part of Trinity College), until 1501;
then as vice-chancellor of the university from 1501 to 1504; and finally
with a lifetime appointment as chancellor, beginning in 1504.
Meanwhile, as chaplain/confessor to Lady Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond
and Derby, and mother of Henry VII, Fisher became closely associated
in her endowments to Cambridge and in 1503 became the first Lady Margaret
Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. He had a great progressive influence,
promoting humanism, creating scholarships, and introducing Greek and Hebrew
into the curriculum. He brought in the world-famous Dutch scholar Desiderious
Erasmus to Cambridge as professor of Divinity and Greek.
In 1504, he became Bishop of Rochester and
Chancellor of Cambridge, in which capacity he
also tutored Prince Henry who was to become Henry VIII
As a churchman and humble servant of God, however, Fisher strongly opposed,
and wrote treatises against the Reformation, especially the doctrines of
Martin Luther. In 1527 he protested the plan of King Henry VIII
of England to divorce Catherine of Aragón, to whom Fisher was confessor.
In 1534, when he and the English statesman Sir Thomas More refused to take
the oath of the new act of succession (that Anne Boleyn was Henry's new wife
and legitimate heir to the throne), they were imprisoned in the Tower of
London. In May 1535, Pope Paul III made Fisher a cardinal. One month later,
the new cardinal was brought to trial, accused of the treasonous act of refusing
to accept Henry VIII as head of the church. He was sentenced
Half an hour before his execution, John Fisher opened his New Testament
for the last time and his eyes fell on the following words from St. John's
Gospel:"Eternal life is this:
to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to
do.. Now Father, it is time for you to glorify me with that glory
I had with you before ever the world was". (ref: John 17: 3 - 5).
Closing the book, he observed: "There is enough
learning in that to last me the rest of my life." St John Fisher was beheaded on 25 June 1535, and canonised
by Pope Pius XI in 1935.