Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Constancy, in a time of heresy - Bl John Forest

Consumed by fire...and love - Blessed John Forest

The year is 1538 and, in a few days time, on 22nd May, Father John Forest, Franciscan Friar, is due to be put to death, in a most excruciatingly painful fashion, for his Faith.

He has received, in his prison cell, a letter of love and comfort from the troubled Catherine of Aragon, wife (soon to be ex wife) of King Henry VIII.

And now, in the manner of all good priests, ever concerned for the welfare of their sheep, he replies to Queen Catherine. The text is a direct copy so, at times, the grammar may seem a little odd…

“Most Serene Lady and Queen, my daughter most dear in the bowels of Christ, - When I read your letter I was filled with incredible joy, because I saw how great is your constancy in the Faith.

In this, if you persevere, without doubt you will attain salvation.

Doubt not of me that by any inconstancy I should disgrace my grey hairs.

Meanwhile I earnestly beg your steadfast prayers to God, for whose spouse we suffer torments, to receive me into His glory.

For it have I striven these four and forty years in the Order of St Francis.

Meanwhile do you keep free from the pestilent doctrine of the heretics, so that even if an angel should come down from Heaven and bring you another doctrine from that which I have taught you, give no credit to his words, but reject him; for that other doctrine does not come from God.

These few words you must take in lieu of consolation; but that you will receive from our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom I specially commend you, to my father Francis, to St Catherine; and when you hear of my execution, I heartily beg of you to pray for me to her.

I send you my rosary as I have but three days to live”

This letter should be read and re-read by those to whom false ecumenism is their main goal in life.

An account of Blessed John Forest's death will be posted on his anniversary - 22nd May.


  1. We need these examples of holiness constantly before us. And, we need to teach our children to be strong in the face of evil. Thanks for sharing this beautiful letter. And, thanks for adding the post-script on false ecumenism, one of my themes in conversations this week. There is only one Truth and He is found in the Catholic Church most truly..

  2. Thank you for the letter he wrote to Katherine of Aragon. From the latest biography of her by Giles Tremlet, I recall reading that she was very concerned for all who were suffering from Henry's dynastic and ecclesial changes.


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