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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Blessed JOHN BECHE, Benedictine, 1539

He was Abbot of Colchester, and, like his brethren of Glastonbury and Reading, took the oath of Supremacy on it being tendered him in 1534 ; but he had a great devotion to Cardinal Fisher and Sir Thomas More, and they stood him in good cause at the end. When called upon to surrender the Abbey, he refused, denied the King’s right to take it, and asserted his loyalty to the Holy See, and for this speech he was committed to the Tower. At his trial in November 1534 he endeavoured to explain away what he had said, re-asserted the King’s supre­macy, and made a piteous appeal for mercv. But however lamentable his defection, he atoned for it fully by shedding his blood for the faith. He was sent down to Colchester and tried there by a special commission on the former charges. He was condemned, and suffered at Colchester, December 1, 1539. On his pectoral cross, still preserved, is inscribed: “ May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ bring us out of sorrow and sadness. This sign of the Cross shall be in the Heavens when our Lord shall come to judgment. Behold, O man, the Redeemer suffered for thee. He that will come after Me let him take up his cross and follow Me.”

“ Turn again, O God of hosts, look down from heaven and see and visit this vineyard . . . which Thy right hand hath planted.”—Ps. lxxix. 15,16.

The judge rides away after the trial at Colchester.

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