Monday, October 25, 2021

Saint Thomas More – Feast Day – June 22

Saint Thomas More was also known as Sir Thomas More. He was a lawyer, judge, statesman and social philosopher born on February 7 1478 in London, England, and died on July 6 1535 at the age of aged 57 in Tower Hill, London, England. His feast day is celebrated on June 22 every year in the Catholic Church and on July 7 in the Church of England.

Saint Thomas More Biography
Saint Thomas More
Saint Thomas More
Date of Birth February 7 1478
Place of Birth Milk Street, London, England
Profession Social philosopher, author, Lawyer, judge, statesman, and Lord High Chancellor of England
Place of Work England
Date of Death July 6 1535 (aged 57)
Place of Death Tower Hill, London, England
Feast Day June 22
Beatification By Pope Leo XIII on December 29 1886 in Rome, Italy
Canonization By Pope Pius XI on May 19 1935 in Vatican City
Patron Saint of
  • Statesmen
  • Politicians 
  • German Catholic youth organisation (Katholische Junge Gemeinde)

Saint Thomas More Life History

Sir Thomas More was the second-born of six children, born on February 7 1478 in Milk Street, London, England. His father was Sir John More was a lawyer and a judge and his mother was Agnes.

Thomas More was educated at St Anthony’s School. He served John Morton, the Lord Chancellor of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1490 to 1492 in his house. Morton thought highly of the More and saw a great potential in him.

In 1492, More began his studies at Oxford studying under Thomas Linacre and William Grocyn. More became a student at Lincoln’s Inn in 1496, and graduated in 1502, when he was called to the Bar.

Thomas More wanted so much to become a monk and between 1503 and 1504, he lived near the Carthusian monastery near London and took part in many spiritual exercises with the monks. After much thought, he decided to serve God as a layman where he married Jane Colt in 1505 and stood for election to Parliament in 1504. From time to time he would engage in flagellation a practice of the Third Order of Saint Francis.

Thomas More and his wife were blessed with four children namely Margaret, Elizabeth, Cicely, and John before she died in 1511.

Within thirty days of Jane Colt’s death, More married Alice Middleton, a widow with a daughter, to head his household and care for his small children. They did not get any children together.

Thomas More educated all his children without gender discrimination and was proud of all their accomplishments.

On the political front, More was elected to Parliament to represent Great Yarmouth in 1504 and began representing London in 1510. Here, he served the City of London diligently, and gained the reputation of an honest and effective public servant.

In 1514, he was appointed as a Privy Counsellor and in 1521, he was made an under-treasurer of the Exchequer.

Thomas More continued to become more and more influencial in London and in government and in 1523, he was elected as member of parliament (MP) for Middlesex and the House of Commons elected him as the Speaker. In 1525 More became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, where he exercised judicial and executive power over of northern England.

Thomas More succeeded to the office of Lord Chancellor in 1529 After Thomas Wolsey, The archbishop of York fell our of King Henry VIII’s favour. He supported the Catholic Church and felt the Protestant Reformation was heresy. When Martin Luther made a call to destroy the Catholic Church, More saw it as a declaration of war.

Thomas More remained steadfast in acknowledging the supremacy of the Pope as Successor of Peter as aopposed to the King of England. In 1529, the parliament of England passed a law that made it a criminal offence to claim that any power outside England was more powerful or superior to the King of England.

More declined to sign a letter asking Pope Clement VII to annul the marriage between King Henry and Catherine of Aragon in 1530. He also refused to sign the Oath of Supremacy of the King of England. Therefore, on May 16 1532, he resigned from his role as Chancellor of England.

In 1533, Thomas More snubbed the coronation of Anne Boleyn as the Queen of England. This made King Henry to take action against him. He was accused of complicity in the case of Elizabeth Barton, The Holy Maid of Kent, a Catholic nun who had prophesied against the marriage of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn but the charges were dropped.

On April 13 1534, More was asked swear his allegiance to the parliamentary Act of Succession. He accepted, but refused to accept the spiritual validity of the King Henry VIII’s marriage with Anne Boleyn. He tightly stuck to the teaching of papal supremacy in Church matters over that of the King on England.

With this, there was enough evidence to have the King arrest Thomas More and charge him with treason. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

During the trial, Thomas More stated that although he had not taken the oath, he had never fought against it publicly and therefore his silence should be taken as his “ratification and confirmation” of the new the parliamentary Acts. He therefore declined any invitation to answer any questions regarding his stance on the matter.

Saint Thomas More Birth

He was born on October 19 1469 in Beverley, Yorkshire, England

Saint Thomas More Death

Before his sentencing, More said that no temporal man can take over the role of the Pope. On July 6 1535 he was decapitated at Tower Hill with the final words that he died “the king’s good servant, and God’s first.”d

Beatification

Saint Thomas More was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on December 29 1886 together with St John Fisher and 52 other English Martyrs.

Canonization

Saint Thomas More was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 19 1935 together with St John Fisher after English Catholics presented a petition.

Saint Thomas More Feast Day

In the Catholic Church, his feast day is celebrated on June 22 jointly with that of St John Fisher. This is the date of John Fisher’s execution. In the Church of England, it is on July 6, the date of St Thomas More’s execution.

Relics

Sir Thomas More’s body was kept in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula next to that of St John Fisher. Thomas More’s head was placed on a pole on London Bridge but his daughter Margaret, rescued it later.

Saint Thomas More is the Patron Saint of 

Statesmen, Politicians and German Catholic youth organization (Katholische Junge Gemeinde)

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