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Saint Thomas Aquinas

Confessor and Doctor of the Church. 

Blessed Thomas Aquinas was of noble descent on both sides of his family. When he was only a lad, he was given into the keeping of the Benedictines of Monte Cassino for education. Later he was sent to Naples to study; and there, at the age of nineteen, he entered the Order of Friars Preacher. This displeased his father and brothers, and he fled from their wrath to go to Paris. But, as he was on his journey, his brothers set upon him, and carried him off by force to the Castle of Monte San Giovanni, where they imprisoned him in the keep. Here they used every means to break him of his intention, and at last brought a woman into his room to seduce him from his purity. But the youth drove her out with a firebrand.

Being let down from a window, Thomas escaped. Later he went to Paris, and studied philosophy and theology under Saint Albert the Great. At the age of twenty-five he took the degree of Master, and gave public disquisitions on the philosophers and theologians with great distinction. But he never set himself to read or write till he had first prayed. At Naples he was once kneeling in very earnest prayer before an image of Christ Crucified, when he heard a voice which said: Thomas, thou hast written well of me; what reward wilt thou that I give thee? He answered: Lord, only thyself. He studied most carefully the works of the Fathers, but there was no kind of author then known in which he was not well read.

He was sent by Blessed Gregory X to the Council of Lyons, but on his way fell sick at the Abbey of Fossa-Nuovo. There during his illness he made an exposition of the Song of Songs. There also he died, on March 7th, in the year 1274, aged fifty years. He was canonized in 1323, and declared Doctor of the Church in 1567, and in 1880 was named the Patron of all places of learning. But for many generations he had already been known as the angelic Doctor.


O GOD, who hast enlightened thy Church with the wondrous learning of thy blessed Confessor Saint Thomas, and enriched the same with his holiness of life: grant, we beseech thee; that we may both understand aright the doctrine that he taught, and also follow in all things the pattern of his conversation. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1129-1130

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website.

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