St. Thomas More (1478-1535)
Feast Day: June 22
Canonization: May 19, 1935
Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers and politicians, was born in London in 1478, son of a prominent attorney and judge during the reign of Edward IV.
Beginning in 1517, young King Henry VIII befriended More as close confidante, promoting him to important posts, knighting him in 1521, and appointing him undertreasurer of the Exchequer. More would later be the first layman appointed Lord Chancellor.
A devout Catholic husband and father, More was known for piety and skills as theologian and writer. But his reputation did not stop King Henry VIII from imprisoning his former chancellor for refusing recognition of Henry’s “marriage” to his mistress, Anne Boleyn. More also refused an oath recognizing Henry as the head of the Church in England.
Imprisoned over a year in the Tower of London, More was convicted of treason and beheaded in July 1535. His last words were, “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”