St. Thomas More

St. Thomas More 1478 - 1535

was, of course, a man for all seasons...

...a classical scholar, a humanist, a statesman, a politician, a man of prayer, the author of the famed Utopia, a theologian, and a lawyer by profession.

And yet, St. Thomas More is also a man for our times and a model for us today as we strive to serve God in our social, religious, and familial relationships.

His contemporaries knew him to possess a keen wit, a merry sense of humor, and a great common sense. He was a warm and friendly man who always seemed more concerned about the needs of his friends than his own needs. His friendship extended to looking after the poor in his village and to singing in his church choir.

Inclined in his early years to the priesthood—he spent four years living the austere life of the Carthusian Order—Thomas eventually opted for married life. After the death of his first wife, who bore him four children, he married again—a widow, whose daughter he adopted. The family prayed together daily, and St. Thomas More himself set aside all Fridays for his own spiritual exercises.

Another example of his being a man for all seasons and for our time, St. Thomas More believed in the education of women—a truly radical notion for his time. His daughters were better educated than most men of this era.

Thomas More was a brilliant lawyer and, later, a very fine judge. Because of this distinguished service, he was appointed Lord Chancellor of England. Henry VIII, his court, and most of the English clergymen tried to persuade Thomas More to approve the king's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and to take the Oath of Supremacy—which acknowledged that Henry VIII was the head of the Church of England instead of the Pope.

More held firm to the teachings of the Catholic Church, despite knowing well that to remain steadfast meant certain execution. He was imprisoned and beheaded in London in 1535.

Four hundred years later (in 1935) he was canonized as a saint and martyr. His feast day is celebrated on June 22nd

"Lord, let me be able in argument, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, candid with my clients, and honest with my adversaries. Stand beside me in Court so that I will not, in order to win a point, lose my soul."

 - Sir Thomas More