Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Saint Thomas of Canterbury

One saint I almost feel I know personally is Saint Thomas of Canterbury. At university I was tutored by the editor of his letters, and her enthusiasm for Thomas rubbed off. I took a course she taught on King Henry II, in which she spent almost as much time discussing Thomas as she did the king and his reign. My good luck!

Feast Day: December 29th

A Few Facts
Born 1118 in London, died 1170 at Canterbury
Ordained as archbishop of Canterbury 1162
Patron of clergy
Saint Thomas is often known as Thomas Becket, though he himself never used the surname, or as Thomas a Becket, which is a much later variation. His correct title is Thomas of Canterbury.

If All the Swords of England by Barbara Willard (published by Bethlehem Books)
Murder in the Cathedral by T.S.Eliot (play)

Online: Thomas Becket the Chancellor and Thomas Becket the Archbishop from Stories from English History by Alfred J.Church
Eyewitness account of the martyrdom of St Thomas
And my own version of the story of St Thomas: Murder at Canterbury

A Virtual Tour
Find Cheapside, the street where St. Thomas was born, on a map of the City of London. The City of London is the old city, now the financial district and only a small part of modern city. The ancient medieval streets still exist, but they are now lined with office blocks.

Any surviving remnants of the City St. Thomas would have known were destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666, which also destroyed the medieval St. Paul's Cathedral. You will have to make do with a visit to the "new" St. Paul's designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

Visit Canterbury Cathedral, the site of St. Thomas's martyrdom.

Activities for the Feast of St. Thomas
from Catholic Culture

Other Resources
Teaching activity from the British Library using original sources to investigated the story of St Thomas.
Links to articles and activities from
(Both of these are aimed at 11-12 year olds)

O God, for the sake of whose Church the glorious Bishop Thomas fell by the sword of ungodly men: grant, we beseech Thee, that all who implore his aid, may obtain the good fruit of his petition. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.


Katherine in TX said...

This is awesome. Thank you for posting all of these resources in one place.

Nancy Ruth said...

Such an interesting post. I didn't know that he should be called Thomas of Canterbury. I once saw Murder in the Cathedral performed in a Spanish mission church outside San Antonio Texas. I don't remember the quality of the performers at all because the place and the light, just after sunset, were so impressive.

Jennifer said...

Incredible! I can't wait to explore these links with Marianna. Thank you!

WRyan said...

This is one of my daughter's favorite saints. We read the Bethlehem Books when she was 11 and it inspired a lot of devotion in her. Thank you for all the information.

Jenn Miller said...

I always look forward to your posts especially for the English saints! Great information...thanks so much, Kathryn.