Bishop Fisher's Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms

The Episcopal Coat of Arms of The Most Rev. Gerard William Battersby
Further Description

The use of the wall and gate image is included to honor the Bishop’s Polish heritage. Bishop Fisher’s maternal great grandfather and great grandmother were both born in villages close to Poznań. Bishop Fisher’s paternal grandfather’s parents were born in Galicia in southeastern Poland. His paternal grandmother was born in the village of Targowiska, also in southeastern Poland.

The center, or honor point, of Bishop Fisher’s Coat of Arms references his Baptismal patron, Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542 -1621). The pine cone is found on the Bellarmine Family’s Coat of Arms as well as on the Coat of Arms of the Roman College (Gregorian) of which he was the once the rector. In Christian symbolism, the pine cone is seen as the crown of the Tree of Life and humanity.

The base point, or bottom part, of Bishop Fisher’s Coat of Arms features an area of wavy lines meant to express water, in particular the glacial waters that carved out the Great Lake Huron where he has a residence.

In the base point there is what is known in heraldry as a “cant” or visual pun. Three fishes alert the viewer to the Bishop’s last name. When the Bishop’s great grandfather immigrated to the United States, his first job was in the coal mines of West Virginia. There the Englishman he worked for had trouble pronouncing “Wojtowicz,” so he took his nickname, “Fish,” and said “from now on you will be known as ‘Fisher.’” Since that time, the family has used the appellation “Fisher.”

Above and behind the shield, there appears a processional cross in a shape called “vair.” The four sections roughly resemble that of a bell “The Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church and through her in the world, leads believers to the full truth, and makes the word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness.”Vatican II Dei Verbum 2.7.

At his ordination to the priesthood in 1992, Bishop Fisher chose a text from Paul’s letter to the Galatians, chapter 5, verse 13, and he reiterated it on the occasion of his ordination to the episcopacy: “Per Caritatem Servite Invicem.” In translation: “Out of love, place yourselves at one another’s service.” This is Bishop Fisher's motto found on the bottom of the crest.