Catholic Exchange: St. Thomas More, A Saint for the Persecuted Church

Today is the feast of St. Thomas More. He is one of the great English saints of the Church and he is a wonderful saint for those individuals who are undergoing persecution for their Christian faith. St. Thomas More was born in 1478 in London where his father was a lawyer and judge. He received a stellar education at St. Anthony’s school and became a household page for John Morton who was the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor of England. The Archbishop saw potential in More and nominated him for a place at Oxford University. He began his studies at Oxford in 1492 where he received a top notch classical education. His education and training would take him far in his adult life. He was a lawyer, politician, author, and eventually caught the eye of King Henry VIII and was appointed Lord Chancellor of England.

As a young man he considered the call to become a monk. He took this discernment very seriously and his friend Erasmus wrote of this period:

Meanwhile he applied his whole mind to the exercises of piety, looking to and pondering on the priesthood in vigils, fasts, and prayers and similar austerities. In which matter he proved himself far more prudent than most candidates who thrust themselves rashly into that arduous profession without any previous trial of their powers. The one thing that prevented him from giving himself to that kind of life was that he could not shake off the desire of the married state. He chose, therefore, to be a chaste husband rather than an impure priest.

Once More had settled the matter of his vocation, he became dedicated to his work and future family. He was eventually elected to Parliament in 1501 and married Jane Colt in 1505. They had four children together before she died in 1511. He dedicated his life to providing her with a strong education and bestowed that gift upon his daughters as well. In a surprising move, he re-married one month after her death. He was then married to a widow named Alice Middleton. She was older than him and devoted her time to carrying for his children, her daughter, and eventually Anne Crescare of whom he became guardian.

Read the rest over at Catholic Exchange…

4 comments

  1. Shelley Carda · · Reply

    “He was then married to a widow named Alice Middleton. She was older than him…”
    This contains a grammatical. In English the comparative takes a Nominative as an object, unlike Latin, which takes an Accusative. This would properly be “She was older than he…”, and can be extended for the full understanding, “She was older than he [was old]…”

    Please do not post this; it is meant for instruction and not to embarrass you.

    1. I am not embarrassed. Writers make grammatical mistakes from time-to-time and editors miss those mistakes sometimes. Thanks for the correction, but it isn’t always necessary to give writers a full grammar lesson when it was more than likely a quick mistake in the writing process. I actually do know the difference. Thanks and God bless!

  2. Dear Ms. Hull:

    I read with interest your article concerning the life of St.Thomas More, and I see so clearly how St. Thomas’s interecession can be a great source of comfort and strength for all serious Christians in the not too distant future. What’s coming for many of us, should not be lightly dismissed.

    I first became acquainted with Thomas More at the age of nineteen, when seeing the newly released movie, A Man for All Seasons, based of course on Robert Bolt’s play; I was fascinated by the story. I went on to read the play, and even purchased a recording of the movie dialog. In retropspect I see I wasn’t suffering from obsession, but was rather being molded for better things by the work of the Holy Spirit. I was being drawn into God, and I wasn’t even remotely aware of it at the time.

    By listening to the movie dialog repeatedly, and going on to read More’s works, I was entranced by the man’s clarity of mind, his moral vision, his courage, and of course his faith. I found myself having a personal and profound admiration and respect for a man of a different culture, century, and even a different religious tradition. At the time I wasn’t Christian, let alone a Catholic.

    To make a very long story short, I fought God’s invitation for thirty-three years,but eventually came to understand that I was called, and was baptized, and received into the Church. When I recite the Rosary, I always pray for St. Thomas’s intercession in my life.

    1. Thank you for sharing! What an amazing story. God bless you as you continue your journey.

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