As a young boy, Thomas attended St. Anthony’s School. In 1492, he went off to Oxford University and in 1494 he left to become a lawyer.
He lived near a Carthusian monastery. Thomas found himself called to follow their lifestyle of simple piety.
As a member of Parliament, he often traveled and wrote letters to his four children. He was reputed as an honest and effective leader and wrote many great works, including “Utopia.”
Thomas was knighted and made Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer by King Henry VIII in 1521.
He became Lord Chancellor in 1529. During this time, Thomas worked tirelessly to defend the Catholic faith in England.
The relationship between Thomas and King Henry became strained after it became clear Henry was prepared to break away from the Church in Rome.
Thomas offered his resignation. When Anne Boylen’s coronation came about, he refused to attend the ceremony.
This greatly offended King Henry, who accused Thomas of accepting bribes and conspiring against him.
Thomas was ordered to take an oath acknowledging Anne Boylen’s position as queen, Henry’s self-granted annulment from Catherine, and the superior position of the King as the head of the church.
Thomas refused and locked in the Tower of London.
Despite his brilliant defense of himself and persuasive testimony, Thomas was convicted on July 1. As a final act of mercy, King Henry changed his punishment to decapitation.
St. Thomas was killed July 6, 1535. His body was buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London in an unmarked grave.
Thomas More has been widely remembered as a man of tremendous integrity, and he has since been described as a martyr.
St. Thomas More was beatified in 1886 and canonized in 1935.
He is the patron saint of adopted children, lawyers, civil servants, politicians and difficult marriages and his feast day is celebrated on June 22.
To learn more about St. Thomas More: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=324