St. Thomas Aquinas, Patron Saint of Catholic Education

Manila Bulletin, January 28, 2007 | Go to article overview

St. Thomas Aquinas, Patron Saint of Catholic Education


TODAY, we remember the life and works of St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians of all time.

St. Thomas, known as Angelic Doctor, Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, Great Synthesizer, the Dumb Ox, and Universal Teacher, was born Thomas d'Aquino in 1225 of a noble family in the family castle at Roccasecca, Central Italy. At about the age of five, he attended his first school at the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino where an uncle was an abbot and his family had similar ambitions for Thomas. He took his higher studies at the University of Naples where he got into contact with members of the Dominican Order and, against the opposition of his family who wanted him to join the Benedictines, took the Dominican habit at the age of 19.

Shortly after, in May of 1244, his noble family intervened forcibly and had him abducted and imprisoned for a year to keep him out of sight. His mother tried to persuade Thomas to give up his membership in the Dominican order. His brothers even brought a woman to his cell but he remained steadfast in his vocation. After two years of captivity, Thomas was allowed to return to his order.

St. Thomas went to Paris to study from 1245 to 1248, after which he came under the guidance of Saint Albert the Great, who called him "the flower and glory of the world." In 1250, he was ordained a priest, then returned to Paris to teach at the Dominican house of studies. He wrote defenses of the mendicant orders, commentaries on Aristotle, some Bible-related works, usually dictating them to his secretaries, and lectured on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. …

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