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Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • Century: 13th Century
  • Patronage: Universities, Students, Catholic Schools, Academics, Against Storms, Against Lightning, Apologists
  • Feast Day: January 28th

Patronage – Universities, Students, Catholic Schools, Academics, Against Storms, Against Lightning, Apologists, Chastity, Pencil Makers, Philosophers, Publishers, Scholars, Theologians

St. Thomas Aquinas was a Priest and is a Doctor of the Church.  He was born in 1225 in Italy.  He came from one of the noblest families of the Kingdom of Naples with the title “Counts of Aquino”.  He was the son of Landulph, Count of Aquino, who when St. Thomas was five years old, was placed under the care of the Benedictines of Monte Casino.  He made great progress, surpassing all his fellow pupils in learning as well as in the practice of virtue, surprising his teachers.  When he became old enough, he renounced the world and entered the Order of St. Dominic.  He found opposition from his family.  He joined the Dominicans of Naples when he was seventeen.  His family fought him for two years, but he persevered in his vocation to become a Priest.  As a reward for his fidelity, God conferred upon him the gift of perfect chastity, which has merited him the title of “Angelic Doctor”.  

After making his profession in Naples, he studied at Cologne under St. Albert the Great.  He was nicknamed the “dumb ox” because of his silent ways and huge size, but was an extremely intelligent student.  He was appointed to teach in Naples.  It was also at this time that he started to publish his first works.  He was sent to Paris as a Priest, four years later, and at the age of thirty-one he received his doctorate.  While in Paris he became good friends with King St. Louis, and often dined with him.  Pope Urban IV called him to Rome where he was appointed to teach but he positively declined to accept any Ecclesiastical dignity.  He not only wrote and published his works, but also preached, which produced some of his greatest fruits.  He was even offered the position of Archbishop of Naples, but he refused.  

The great works of his learning, the “Summa Theologica” was unfinished.  Pope Gregory X ordered him to the Second Council of Lyons, and on his way he fell sick.  He died at the Cistercian Monastery of Fossa Nuova in 1274.  He was canonized in 1323 and declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V.  His influence on Western thought has been great, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or refutation of his ideas, particularly in areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.  St. Thomas is held in the Church to be the model teacher of those studying for the Priesthood, and indeed the highest expression of both Natural Reason and Speculative Theology.  The study of his works is a core of the required program of study for those seeking Ordination as Priests and Deacons, as well as for those in religious formation and students of Sacred Disciplines.  

Practical Take Away 

St. Thomas Aquinas was born in Italy, to one of the noblest families of his time.  He was sent to be taught by religious at the age of five, and at the age of seventeen joined the Dominican Order.  He became a Priest and a Doctor of the Church.  He earned a Doctorate and taught in Paris.  He was extremely learned in Natural Law, Metaphysics, and Political Theory.  His works are a core requirement of study for those seeking ordination as Priests and Deacons.  His work is just as relevant today as it was in the mid thirteenth century.