Cardinal Basil Hume (March 2, 1923 – June 17, 1999) was born in Newcastle upon Tyne to Sir William Hume and Elizabeth Tisseyre.
His father was a Protestant heart doctor from Scotland, and his mother the French Catholic daughter of an army officer. He had three sisters and one brother.
He joined the Benedictine monastery at Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire at the age of 18. He took the name Basil when he made his final vows as a monk in 1945. He was ordained priest on July 23, 1950. On February 9, 1976, Pope Paul VI appointed him as Archbishop of Westminster, the highest ranking Catholic priest in England and Wales, and later that year, Cardinal. He was the first monk to be made Archbishop since 1850, when the Roman Catholic hierarchy was restored in England and Wales.
Cardinal Hume’s time in office saw Catholicism become more accepted in Britain than it had been for 400 years. 1995 saw the first visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Westminster Cathedral. He also read from the Bible at the installation ceremony of Archbishop Robert Runcie as of Canterbury in 1980.
In 1998, Cardinal Hume asked John Paul II for permission to retire, so that he could go back to his monastery at Ampleforth and spend some time fly fishing and watching Newcastle United Football Club. The request was refused. He was diagnosed with inoperable stomach cancer in April 1999.
On June 2 of that same year, Queen Elizabeth awarded him the Order of Merit. He died just over two weeks later on June 17th in London, aged 76. His funeral was live on national television and he was buried in Westminster Cathedral. Pope John Paul II said he was a “shepherd of great spiritual and moral character”.