Feast Day: January 28
Born:1225 :: Died:1274
Thomas was the son of the Count of Aquino and was born in the family castle in Lombardy near Naples, Italy. . Thomas was one of nine children and was very intelligent, but he never boasted about it. He knew that his mind was a gift from God.
His parents hoped that he would become a Benedictine abbot some day. The family castle was in Rocca Secca, just north of Monte Cassino where the monks lived. Thomas was sent to the abbey for schooling when he was five and he was educated by the Benedictine monks there. When he was eighteen, he went to the University of Naples to finish his studies.
There he met a new group of religious men called the Order of Preachers. Their founder, St. Dominic, was still living. Thomas knew he wanted to become a priest and felt that he was called to join these men. So he secretly joined the Dominican order in 1244.
His parents were angry with him. When he was on his way to Paris to study, his brothers kidnapped him and kept him a prisoner in one of their castles for over a year. During that time, they did all they could to make him change his mind.
One of his sisters, too, came to convince him to give up his vocation. But Thomas spoke so beautifully about the joy of serving God that she changed her mind. She decided to give her life to God as a nun. After fifteen months, Thomas was finally allowed to follow his call.
St. Thomas wrote so well about God that people all over the world have used his books for hundreds of years. His explanations about God and the faith came from Thomas' great love for God. He writings touched the hearts of people because he was not trying to impress anyone. He just wanted with all his heart to offer the gift of his life to Jesus and the Church.
St. Thomas is one of the greatest Doctors of the Church and is considered the universal patron of universities, colleges, and schools.
Around the end of 1273, Pope Gregory X asked Thomas to be part of an important Church meeting called the Council of Lyons. While traveling to the meeting, Thomas became ill. He had to stop at a monastery at Fossanova, Italy, where he died. It was March 7, 1274. He was only forty-nine.
E-mail this page to a friend