St. Thomas Aquinas (January 27)
St. Thomas Aquinas, the great medieval Doctor of the Church, was born near the great abbey of Monte Cassino in 1225. His father was a nobleman and his mother was of Norman descent. As a boy of five he began his schooling at the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino. In 1239 he began studies at the University of Naples. There, Thomas became friendly with the Dominicans and wished to become a member of their community, but his family resisted his wishes. In 1244, his brother led a troop of soldiers and forced him back to the family castle where he was confined for two years. During that time, family members used every method to dissuade him from his goal, but Thomas remained firm, using the time to learn the Scriptures by heart and to study philosophy.
In 1245 Thomas became a Dominican and then went to Cologne to study under St. Albert the Great - receiving his master of theology in 1256. Thomas became one of the Church's great theologians and thinkers. He taught at the University of Paris, traveled extensively throughout Italy and taught in many of the small towns and villages. In 1266 Thomas began his famous dissertation - The Summa Theologica.