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The Life and Legacy of Thomas Aquinas

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Saint Thomas Aquinas born as Tommaso d’Aquino on January 28, 1225 in Roccasecca Kingdom of Sicily now known as Lazio, Italy, did several things throughout his life. He was a Dominican friar, Catholic priest, philosopher, and Doctor of the church. Thomas Aquinas is one of the most prominent theologians and philosophers in the Catholic church. At the age of nineteen, St. Thomas tried to abandon his family and joined the Dominicans. His mother didn’t approve of his decision so she demanded for his brothers to capture him and lock him up at their castle in Rocca-Secca to prevent him from adapting to Dominican habits. His family didn’t want him to join them but he was determined. His brothers did everything in their power to keep him, they even hired a prostitute to seduce him but he scared her away with a fire iron. Two angels came in his bedroom while he was asleep that night and gave him some words to strengthen his determination to stay celibate. Two years later, St. Thomas finally managed to escape at night by sneaking out his window. He went to Naples and then to Rome to meet the Master General of the Dominican order. Later that year, he went to the University of Paris to further his education with Albert the Great.

His most outstanding contribution to the church was his writings simply because they expressed so many things. The writings displayed things such as harmony, the persistence of faith, human intelligence, and unity. Two of his most famous masterpieces were Summa theologiae, Disputed Questions on Truth and the Summa contra gentiles which are systematic compendiums of theology. He influenced Roman Catholic doctrine for several years and in 1917, he was adopted as the official philosopher of the church.

St. Thomas Aquinas was declared as the patron of all catholic students and universities in 1880. His life and legacy is celebrated on January 28th. St. Thomas was proclaimed a saint because he questioned the Resurrection of Jesus. He didn’t believe that it actually happened so he demanded to see proof of the scars and wounds of Christ crucifixion. Jesus showed him the wounds and St. Thomas became the very first person to recognize the divinity of Jesus. He died on March 7, 1274 and was canonized on July 18, 1323 in Avignon, Papal States by Pope John XXII. St. Thomas has several prayers but he prayed about wisdom and knowledge to Mary. In the prayer he says, “Mary, Mother of fair love and fear and knowledge and holy hope, through your faithful intercession, many though otherwise of modest talent, have made marvelous progress in learning and holiness I choose you as the guardian and patron of my studies…, I humbly ask you to obtain for me, through your intercession, the grace of the Holy Spirit. May it enable me to grasp with my mind, retain in my memory, and express by my words and my life, all that shall give honor to you and your Son and be blessedly conducive to my eternal salvation. Amen.” In this prayer, he’s honoring Mary and asking her to help him throughout his studies and help him remember and grasp the importance of his life. 

Saint Thomas Aquinas is one of the most influential and inspiring saints of all time and his work and legacy will never be forgotten.  

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