Life of St. Thomas Aquinas

Patron of Catholic Schools and Students

When barely five years old, St. Thomas Aquinas was given to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino, Italy with his parents’ hopes that he would become a monk and later the abbot of the said monastery. In 1239 he was sent to Naples to complete his studies.

By 1243, Thomas abandoned his family’s plans for him and joined the Dominicans, much to his mother’s dismay. The Dominicans along with the Franciscans were the poorest of the religious orders at that time. They were beggars, mendicants who to survive had to beg for their food. That turned off his noble and rich family. On the order of his mother, Thomas was captured by his brothers and kept at home for over a year.

Once free, he went to Paris and then to Cologne, where he finished his studies with Albert the Great. He held two professorships at Paris, lived at the court of Pope Urban IV, directed the Dominican schools at Rome and Viterbo. His eloquence made him the most well known preacher of his time.

The Summa Theologiae, his last and, unfortunately, uncompleted work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology. He stopped work on it after celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, “I cannot go on… All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” He died March 7, 1274.