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Thomas Aquinas

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Saint Thomas Aquinas is acknowledged as the greatest Catholic theologian, and his Summa Theologica remains a cornerstone of Catholic interpretation.

Lived 1225/6 - 1274
Rank and group: Doctor, Dominicans
Feast day: 28 January
Patron saint: Academics, philosophers,
theologians, booksellers, colleges, universities
Attributes: Ox, chalice, star
Status: Roman Martyrology

His poetry also is renowned, with his hymns for the feast of Corpus Christi still the favorites in liturgical and extra-liturgical functions. Born to an aristocratic family, Thomas rejected wealth to pursue an austere life as a Dominican brother. Thought dumb in his youth, at the monastery he was discovered to have a great mind. He went on to live a learned life as a professor, outputting prolific writings along the way. Yet he claimed that his writings were so much straw relative to what could be learned in prayer.

Birth1225/6Thomas Aquinas was born at Roccasecca, near Aquino, Naples.
YouthTaught by Benedictines at Montecassino.
Thomas left his aristocratic family to lead a decidedly non-aristocratic life as a brother of the recently founded Dominicans. He was very large and very silent, and was known as the dumb ox.
Received his doctorate in theology at the University of Paris.
Paris1252 - 1260Thomas taught theology in Paris.
Orvieto1261 - 1264Thomas taught theology in Orvieto.
Rome1265 - 1267Thomas taught theology in Rome.
Viterbo1268Thomas taught theology in Viterbo.
Paris1269 - 1271Thomas taught theology in Paris.
Naples1272 - 1274Thomas taught theology in Naples.
DeathThomas died at Fossanova, near Rome, en route to the council of Lyons.
Doctor of the Church1567
Patron1880Declared patron saint of Catholic universities and centers of study.