January 2006 - Volume 10, Issue 6

Saint of the Month

St. Thomas Aquinas - January 28

Painting of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Born in southern Italy, in about 1225, St. Thomas Aquinas was of noble descent, and was educated at the best schools. At the University of Naples, he showed exceptional ability in speech and logic. Influenced by the Dominicans, Thomas entered the religious life, which was unheard of for a person of his noble stature; his family, especially his mother, did not support his decision to become a poor friar. And when the Order sent Thomas to Rome, his brothers kidnapped him, at their mother"s insistence, and detained him in the hopes of changing his mind. They even tempted him with women, but Thomas"s virtue was too strong. During his two-year confinement, his sister brought him books on religion and philosophy, so that he continued to learn.

Realizing the futility of his imprisonment, his mother finally set Thomas free. He took his vows and was sent to Cologne to study. Thomas received his bachelor of theology in Paris and gained a reputation as an influential speaker. Before receiving his degree of Doctor of Theology, he successfully argued a case before the Pope, to excuse the friars from taking an oath with which they did not agree but which was mandated by the University.

Through his preaching and writings Thomas demonstrated that faith and reason could abide together. He was in great demand, but continued to write is Summa Theologica, a key treatise that helped fashioned the theological language of the Catholic Church. He even turned down the archbishopric of Naples so that he could lecture and write. Even on his deathbed in 1274, he continued to dictate his clear-minded ideas.

God our Father,
You made Thomas Aquinas
known for his holiness and learning.
Help us to grow in wisdom by his teaching,
And in holiness by imitating his faith.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Your Son, Who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit.
One God, for ever and ever.


From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives