The eldest of seven children, Thomas Byles, 42, was raised in a Protestant family known for its social consciousness. After converting to Catholicism while at school in Oxford, England, Byles went to Rome where he was ordained in 1902. Father Byles' younger brother William also converted to Catholicism but moved to America and fell in love with a woman in New York. Byles was en route to America to officiate at his brother's wedding, which was planned for the Sunday after his arrival. Initially scheduled to travel on another White Star liner, Byles switched to Titanic at the last minute. In a letter he mailed from Cherbourg to his housekeeper, Byles commented on the size of the tenders bringing passengers from the French shore: "The tender is good sized, but by the side of Titanic she looks as though we could lay her on deck without feeling any inconvenience."