Our Patron – St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274) was one of the great teachers of the medieval Catholic Church, honoured with the titles: Doctor of the Church, Angelic Doctor and the Prince of Catholic Theologians.
He was born in Aquino, close to the Benedictine Monastery of Monte Casino, in central Italy where he had his early education. Later he was sent for studies to Naples, where he was exposed to the writings of Greek philosopher Aristotle. After his priesthood, he was sent for further studies to Cologne, and was under the tutelage of St. Albert the Great (1200 – 1280). St. Albert was so impressed by Thomas Aquinas, he urged that Thomas be sent to one of the famous universities in Paris.
After obtaining the Ordination and Doctorate in Sacred Theology, he began teaching with such lucidity, accuracy and inspiration thus, attracting students in numbers; the University of Paris at that time accounted 30,000 students. Living at the court of Pope Urban IV in Paris with two Professorships to his name, Thomas Aquinas distinguished himself as the principal exponent of Scholastic Philosophy which interpreted Aristotle’s system in the light of Christian Teaching. In his relatively short life span of 49 years, he is known to have composed some sixty works. Far surpassing, everything else, was his unrivalled Summa Theological, a summary of Christian Philosophy and Theology. The beautiful Office and Mass for Corpus Christi, with its much loved hymns, Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris Hostia, were composed by him on the Pope’s orders.
Thomas Aquinas died while on his way to the Council of Lyons. He was canonized by Pope John XXII on 18th July, 1323, elevated to the dignity of ‘Doctor of the Church’ by Pope Pius V on 11th April 1567, and in 1918, his name was included in the code of Canon Law. Among other citations, St. Thomas Aquinas has also been declared the Special Patron of all Catholic Universities and Educational Institutions.
We are fortunate to have such an intellectual giant and a holy priest as our Patron Saint. Let this humble and hard-working intellectual be the light and guide to all our lecturers and students.