The collect for today, the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274), Priest, Friar, Poet, Doctor of the Church (source):
who didst enrich thy Church with the learning and holiness
of thy servant Thomas Aquinas:
grant to all who seek thee
a humble mind and a pure heart
that they may know thy Son Jesus Christ
to be the way, the truth and the life;
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Born into a noble family near Aquino, between Rome and Naples, St. Thomas was educated at the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino until age thirteen, and then at the University of Naples. When he decided to join the Dominican Order, his family were dismayed because the Dominicans were mendicants and regarded as socially inferior to the Benedictines. Thomas’s brothers kidnapped and imprisoned him for a year in the family’s castle, but he finally escaped and became a Dominican friar in 1244.
The rest of Thomas’s life was spent studying, teaching, preaching, and writing. Initially, he studied philosophy and theology with Albert the Great at Paris and Cologne. Albert was said to prophesy that, although Thomas was called the dumb ox (probably referring to his physical size), “his lowing would soon be heard all over the world”.