Patron of the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters
Feast Day: June 22
Born in 1478, Thomas More (1477-1535) received a well-rounded college education at Oxford. He knew several ancient and modern languages, and was well-versed in mathematics, music and literature. Eventually, he became a lawyer. Despite his legal and political orientation, he seriously considered joining either the Carthusians or the Franciscans, and observed asceticism. Since he was elected to the Parliament in 1504, he gave up his religious ambition, though not his disciplined spiritual life, and married Jane Colt, who tragically died in childbirth. He then married a widow named Alice Middleton, a devoted wife and mother.
King Henry VIII (1491-1547) showed fondness for Thomas, who eventually became the Lord Chancellor of England. The king wanted an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. The king then tried desperately to win his chancellor to his side considering his unquestionable integrity. But when Thomas resigned, he was charged with high treason because of his refusal to take the Oath of Supremacy, declaring the King as spiritual head of the Church in England, and affirming the validity of his new marriage to Anne Boleyn. Before he was beheaded in 1535, he said: “I die as the king’s good servant… but God’s first.” He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1886 and canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI.
The Faculty of Arts and Letters is UST’s most diverse tertiary academic unit, offering thirteen (13) bachelor’s degree programs, housed in nine (9) departments. As the Faculty continues to produce national artists, outstanding media practitioners, noted philosophers, linguists, sociologists, historians, and political experts among other professionals, they follow the lead of their patron, St. Thomas More, who did not compromise his own moral values in order to please the king, knowing that true allegiance to authority is not blind acceptance of everything that authority wants. In the year 2000, Pope St. John Paul II named St. Thomas More as patron of political leaders.
- Hardon SJ, John (ed.), The Treasury of Catholic Wisdom, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1995. catholicnewsagency.com