Also on this day, the 9th of July, Holy Church commemorates: the Martyrs of China; three Ursulines put to death during the French Revolution; a Polish Capuccin tortured to death at Dachau by the Nazis; and Blessed Adrian Fortescue, Knight of Malta, who was beheaded under Henry VIII.
I know somewhat more about that very model of a perfect gentle-knight; he is patron of one of the Melbourne chapters of the Dominican Tertiaries. From the 1982 Dominican Proper, which places his feast on the 8th of July on account of the Martyrs of Gorkum having the 9th already:
Born about 1476 of noble family in the county of Devon in England, he was a husband and father of shining virtue. A justice of the peace and knight of the Order of Malta, professing the rule of the lay Fraternity of St Dominic at Oxford, he imposed upon himself these norms of living ascetically, among others: to seek fulfilment of the divine good will in everything, always to follow the motions of the Holy Spirit in acting, daily to renew his good resolutions and diligently to accomplish all things, and to beg perseverance from God. By reason of his unconquered virtue, twice detained in prison, at length he was beheaded on the 8th or 9th day of July in the year 1539 because of his scorn of the oath that had to be taken of fidelity to the king in matters of faith. His cult was confirmed on the 13th day of May 1895 by Leo XIII.
Deus, qui admirábili spíritu pietátis ac fortitúdinis Beátum Hadriánum singuláriter roborásti, exáudi preces pópuli tui et præsta ut, glorióso ejus edócti exémplo, tibi magis quam homínibus obœdíre discámus. Per Dóminum…
(O God, you specially strengthened Blessed Adrian with a wonderful spirit of holiness and courage. Hear the prayers of your people and from his renowned example may we learn to be obedient to you rather than to human authority. Through...) [O.P. draft translation]
The Order of Malta appoints this prayer (1997):
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. Through...
Orations from the old Proper Mass granted to the Diocese of Birmingham (11th July):
Effunde super nos, quæsumus, Domine, spiritum constantiæ et fortitudinis, quo beatum Martyrem tuum Hadrianum pro tuenda catholica fide roborasti: ut eodem repleti, ad ejus gloriæ consortium pervenire mereamur in cælis; de cujus triumphali agone lætamur in terris. Per Dominum…
(Pour forth upon us, we beseech you, Lord, the spirit of constancy and courage wherewith you stengthened your blessed Martyr Adrian in the defence of the Catholic faith; that, filled therewith, we may deserve to attain a share of his glory in heaven, who rejoice on account of his triumphant contest on earth. Through…)
Munera nostra, Domine, benedictione sua perfundat Spiritus Sanctus; et nos in eadem fide constantes perficiat, quem beatus Martyr Hadrianus et vocis præconio et sanguinis effusione testatus est. Per Dominum... in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti…
(May the Holy Spirit pour down his blessing on our gifts, Lord, and make us steadfast in that faith to which the blessed Martyr Adrian bore witness both by the excellence of his voice and the shedding of his blood. Through…)
Tribue nobis, Domine, per hæc sancta quæ sumpsimus: beati Hadriani zelum et constantiam imitari; qui nos ad æterna desideria, et virtutis exemplo accendit, et martyrio roboravit. Per Dominum…
(Grant us, Lord, through these holy gifts which we have received, to imitate the zeal and constancy of blessed Adrian, who both by the example of his virtue incites us, and by his martyrdom strengthens us to desire eternal gifts. Through…)
Sir Adrian's Book of Hours is still extant, a holy relic conserved now by the Order of Malta's Grand Priory of England.
As the Martyrology traditionally concludes, "And elsewhere many other holy Martyrs and Confessors, and also holy Virgins. Thanks be to God."
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