Feast day: June 22
Saint Thomas More is perhaps the most famous English saint because of the play and subsequent movie based on his life, A Man for All Seasons. Thomas More was an educated man who was also deeply religious. He considered becoming a priest before deciding on a married vocation and a career as a lawyer. He had a rich family life, raising three daughters and one son, and after his first wife died he married again. Thomas spent every Friday in prayer, and his family read Scripture at mealtimes and shared evening prayer.
Unfortunately, Thomas More, along with many others, was the victim of King Henry VIII’s persecution of Catholics. The unusual thing was that Thomas More was a good friend of the king, who admired Thomas More’s wit and loyalty. King Henry rapidly promoted Thomas through a series of public offices to chancellor, a position second only to the king’s in power and authority. Then King Henry made a series of demands that in essence declared the king to be the supreme religious leader of the Church of England, instead of the Pope.
Thomas More refused to give in to the king’s demands. As a result, Thomas was imprisoned for 15 months, lost all his titles and lands, was convicted of treason in a bogus trial, and was beheaded. His last words were that he remained “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” (From The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, Third Edition [Saint Mary’s Press])
(Image via Wikipedia)