Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

Patron of all Catholic educational establishments.

Feast day: January 28

Saint Thomas Aquinas is one of the greatest theologians in the history of the Church. His mind was so keen that it is reported that he could dictate to four scribes at the same time—each scribe working on a different chapter—picking up exactly where he had left off as he moved from one to the other.

His most famous work, the Summa Theologica (Latin for “Synthesis of Theology”), is still studied today. His work was considered radical for his time and was initially condemned because he drew on the works of any author—including Jewish and pagan writers—who had something true to say. However, within 50 years of his death, Aquinas’s writings became the standard for most scholarly study.

Despite his genius, he was given the nickname of “dumb ox,” because of his large size and silent ways. Evidently, Thomas Aquinas’s family did not approve of his decision to become a Dominican priest. His brothers held him captive and brought an attractive woman to him in an attempt to sway him from his calling, but Saint Thomas had a deep faith as well as a great mind, and he was not swayed from his calling. He is a perfect example of the Catholic understanding that faith and reason can coexist. (From The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, Third Edition [Saint Mary’s Press]) 

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