Monday, November 21, 2011

St Thomas More Husband and Martyr

St Thomas was born in London in 1478.  Thomas studied at Oxford University and then embarked on a legal career.  In 1505 he married Jane Colt and had four children, 3 daughters and a son.  The marriage was a very happy one but Jane died in 1511.  Shortly after Thomas married a widow Alice Middleton, who was a woman full of common sense and a good stepmother for his children.

Thomas was a many-sided personality, made up of intellectual sophistication, moral honesty, gentleness, loyalty to his king and affection to his wife, friends and children.  Thomas was always a man of prayer with daily recitation of the Little Office, he wore a hairshirt all his life.

King Henry V111, impressed by Thomas's ability appointed him to a succession of high posts, and finally made him Lord Chancellor in 1529.  Thomas resigned in 1532 at the height of his career, when Henry persisted in holding his own opinions regarding marriage and the supremacy of the Pope.
Thomas was imprisoned in the Tower on 13th April 1534,[with his good friend St John Fisher] where he stayed for the remaining 15months of his life.

Many efforts were made to induce Thomas to conform, but in vain, he was condemned to death.  He was executed on Tower Hill on 6th July 1535.  His last words were that he died for the Catholic Church and was the king's good servant, but God's first.  Thomas was beatified in 1886[with John Fisher] and canonized in 1935.

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