The Life of Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)
"The King's good servant, but God's first."
Thomas More was born in London, England on February 7, 1478, the son of Sir John More, a prominent judge. He was educated at St Anthony's School in London. As a youth he served as a page in the household of Archbishop Morton, who predicted that More would become a "marvelous man."
Thomas More has been described as “a man for all seasons.” He was a literary scholar, eminent lawyer, gentleman, father of four children, and chancellor of England. He was a deeply spiritual man, so he would not acknowledge King Henry VIII as supreme head of the Church in England. King Henry VIII had broken ties with Rome and refused to acknowledge the Pope as head of the Church because the Pope refused to grant his divorce from his wife, Catherine of Aragon. Thomas More would not compromise his own moral values to please the King. King Henry VIII tried desperately to win his chancellor to his side because he knew that More was a man “whose approval counted, a man whose personal integrity no one questioned.”
Although St. Thomas More was committed to the Tower of London to await trial for treason, he remained true to his moral values and his Christian faith, refusing to betray his conscience even at the cost of his own life. His story is an example of great courage.
Four hundred years later in 1935, Thomas More was canonized a saint of God. His story is relevant even today. In the year 2000, in fact, Saint John Paul II named him patron of political leaders. St. Thomas More was “the supreme diplomat and counselor . . . [who] did not compromise his own moral values in order to please the king, knowing that true allegiance to authority is not blind acceptance of everything that authority wants.”
St. Thomas More is the patron saint of:
Politicians, public servants
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint.
Based upon an article by Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.