By Melarie Mantanona
For the Umatuna Si Yu’os
St. Thomas Aquinas was a philosopher, theologian, and priest born in Italy in 1225 to a noble family and was expected to become a Benedictine monk. While going to school and studying Theology in Naples, he met members of the Dominican Order and decided to join that order instead of the Benedictines.
His family didn’t agree with his decision and so his brothers captured and imprisoned him in a castle until he changed his mind. He remained in captivity for one year, firm in his decision to become a Dominican monk despite his brother’s attempts to change his mind.
His brothers went as far as to send a prostitute into his room to tempt him to sin but he took a burning brand from the fireplace, chased the prostitute away, and inscribed the sign of the cross on the shut door with the brand.
Eventually Thomas’ mom let him escape through a window, returned to school, and joined the Dominicans. His classmates ridiculed him for being an introvert and his teacher spoke against them saying, “You call him the dumb ox, but in his teaching, he will one day produce such a bellowing that it will be heard throughout the world.”
Thomas traveled throughout Europe teaching, furthering his education, and writing some of the most influential books in his spare time. He acquired many positions in academia and was held in high regard by many.
In 1273, a sacristan of the Chapel of Saint Nicholas saw Thomas deep in prayer, crying, and levitating before an image of the crucified Christ. Christ is said to have told him, “You have written well of me, Thomas. What reward would you have for your labor?”
Thomas responded, “Nothing but you, Lord.”
St. Thomas Aquinas died on March 7, 1274 and was canonized by Pope John XXII on July 18, 1323. He is a Doctor (Angelic) of the Church and the patron saint of students and all universities.
His best-known book, “Summa Theologica,” is one of the most influential works used through the centuries in high schools, seminaries, and universities. He remains today one of the most notable theologian and philosophers having brought so many to Christ through his intellect.
Information and photo from http://www.catholic.org/saints