By Mel Mantanona
The future St. Thomas More was born on Feb. 7, 1478 in London to a wealthy yet harrowing family. His dad, a lawyer and later a judge, had four wives, but all had died leaving his father a widower. He had five siblings though three of them passed away within a year of living. He attended the best schools growing up and began Latin and Greek studies at Oxford for two years before leaving to become a lawyer like his dad.
When he began practicing law, he felt a tug towards the lifestyle of the Carthusians, a contemplative order. He decided against joining the order, but always remembered those in it that helped bring out his faith. He later had four children with his first wife who died six years into their marriage; he later remarried. Thomas was known to adore his children, giving them the best education possible.
Thomas acquired many high positions in Parliament where he was known to be honest and effective, fighting for the Catholic faith. He ended up becoming extremely close to King Henry VIII.
As Henry pulled away from the Catholic Church and its teachings, Thomas stood strong in the faith by denying to sign Henry’s letter to the Pope asking for an annulment from his wife Catherine. Thomas’ friendship with the king became strained shortly after.
Thomas resigned from being Lord Chancellor because he felt pressured to support Henry’s schism from the Catholic Church and also refused to acknowledge the king as the head of the church.
With this and many more, the king piled up the charges against Thomas and he was arrested and imprisoned. He was tried in court with what was arguably a bias jury resulting in him to be perceived as if he committed treason despite a good defense of himself. He was convicted in 15 minutes and sentenced to be hanged. The king, remembering their friendship once, granted Thomas to be decapitated as an act of mercy.
He died a martyr in 1535 and his feast day is June 22. He was canonized on May 19, 1935 by Pope Pius XI. He is the patron saint of adopted children lawyers, civil servants, politicians, and difficult marriages.
Let us pray through the intercession of St. Thomas More for the courageous fearlessness to defend our true faith.
Information and photo from Catholic.org