Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jesuit Provincial Was The Last Male Heir Of St. Thomas More

FATHER THOMAS MORE, S.J., the last English provincial of the old Society, was the last male heir of the martyr. He died in 1795, and through him the family heirlooms of various relics of his blessed ancestor came to Stonyhurst College. Father More had a sister, who was superioress of the English Canonesses of St. Augustine at Bruges, and he gave her the only relic of the body of the martyr that is known to exist—excepting, of course, the head. Half of the Bruges relic is now, by the kindness of a successor of Reverend Mother More, at Manresa, Roehampton. . The existence of this relic, descending in the family, speaks for the existence of a family tradition that the tomb of Saint Thomas had been opened some time after the martyrdom. A large collection of interesting relics of Saint Thomas is preserved by the Jesuit fathers in their college of Stonyhurst. The following description is from the Stonyhurst Magazine of February, 1887 :—
Link (here)

Photo is of St. Thomas More's hat (here)


Anonymous said...

The More jewels are now on long loan to the British Museum. They are not only of spiritual but historical significance as some of the pendents were painted by Holbein in portraits of St Thomas More and his family. His hat (which came from a different source from the jewels) remains at Stonyhurst.

Fr Thomas More SJ was a fine Jesuit who was Provincial of the English Province at the time of the Society's suppression in 1773. He and his brother both became Jesuits, leaving no male descendants to continue the main line. The More jewels were included as part of his patrimony as well as some Tudor portraits which have since disappeared.

The jewels are, of course, secondary relics. In the past, when the school attended Benediction every Sunday evening in the church at Stonyhurst, followed by prayers for the conversion of England, they were placed on thr gradine of the high altar with other relics of English martyrs. A few minor relics of St Thomas More survive at Stonyhurst but they are no longer venerated.

Joseph Fromm said...

Thank you for the wonderful update, the readers I am sure are most appreciative as am I.