New Exhibit on Thomas More Opens at Shrine
A new landmark exhibit on Thomas More, the English martyr whom St. John Paul II declared the heavenly Patron of Statesmen and Politicians, opened at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine on Sept. 16, 2016. The exhibit, God’s Servant First: The Life and Legacy of Thomas More, explores the life of the former Lord Chancellor of England who was executed during King Henry VIII’s reign for refusing to recognize the King’s self-declared supremacy over the Church in England.
Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst, over sixty historic artifacts are displayed, most from Stonyhurst College in England, which has been a repository of items preserved from destruction during the Reformation. These include St. Thomas More's personal crucifix, two of his hats, and a chasuble embroidered by Katherine of Aragon, the wife Henry VIII sought to divorce. Also present are first-class relics of St. Thomas More.
The exhibit also examines the impact that More’s saintly example had on the development of religious freedom in the United States. It includes the saddle chalice and pectoral cross that belonged to John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States and founder of Georgetown University.
Opening the exhibit were the Right Honorable Lord Alton of Liverpool, chairman of the Christian Heritage Centre, Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, and the Shrine’s Executive Director, Patrick E. Kelly.
In his introductory remarks, Supreme Knight Anderson reflected that, “In an era when many people look to secular authorities for inspiration and guidance on what is right and just, Thomas More’s example underscores the necessity of living our lives according to the dictates of a well-formed conscience.”