July 8th: Blessed Adrian Fortescue
Martyr and Knight of Devotion of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and of Rhodes and of Malta
Adrian Fortescue was born around 1480, the son of Sir John Fortescue of Punsbourne, Hertfordshire, England. A cousin of Anne Boleyn, he was made a Knight of the Bath in 1503 and was held in favor by King Henry VIII, taking part in the Wars of England against France in 1513 and 1523.
Widowed once and married twice, he had seven children. In 1532 he was received as a Knight of Devotion into the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and very recently (1530) of Malta.
In 1539 he was attainted of High Treason without trial by an act of Parliament which condemned fifty persons who opposed the ecclesiastical policies Henry VIII. He was beheaded on Tower Hill, London, on 9 July, together with The Venerable Sir Thomas Dingley, a Knight of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.
The Order of Saint John of Jerusalem has considered Sir Adrian to be a martyr of the Order, and has promoted devotion to him at least since the early seventeenth century. Pope Leo XIII declared him Blessed on 13 May 1895.
Blessed Adrian, pray for the Order and all its members, and for religious freedom for all persons.
O God, since all things are within your power, grant through the prayers of blessed Adrian, your martyr, that we who keep his feast today may become stronger in the love of your name and hold to your holy Church even at the cost of our lives. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This information was provided by Fra’ James-Michael von Stroebel. Click here to view the complete Calendar of Liturgical Celebrations Proper to the Order.
Pictured above is a painting of Fortescue located at the Collegio di San Paolo in Rabat, Malta.