St Thomas Becket or Thomas à Becket (Also St Thomas of Canterbury & St Thomas of London) (1118 Approx – 1170) was born in Cheapside, London. His father had progressed from being a textile merchant to a rental property owner in London. St Thomas often visited one of his father’s rich friends estates, where hunting and hawking were common sports.
At ten, St Thomas Becket attended grammar school and then at 20, went to Paris for a year. Later he worked as a clerk to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop entrusted him with several important missions to Rome and sent him to Bologna and Auxerre to study Canon Law. In 1154, he was appointed Archdeacon of Canterbury and a year later, Lord Chancellor.
In 1162, St Thomas Becket was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. However, soon after a rift developed between him and the King; the King sought to weaken his connection with Rome. At one stage, St Thomas fled to the Continent, remaining for two years. Despite peace agreements prior to his return, the conflict remained and King Henry’s anger towards St Thomas was interpreted by some, as a royal command to confront the Archbishop and “remove him”.
St Thomas was martyred by four knights at Canterbury Cathedral. His final words were, “For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death”.
St Thomas’ Feast Day is the 29th December. He is Patron Saint of Exeter College, Oxford.
St Thomas a Becket:
Pray that we will remain firm in our faith despite the trials and sufferings that may befall us.
Glory be to the…