(CH) Ralph McInerny on Thomas Aquinas for his Feast Day–The Dazzling ’dumb Ox’

Thomas Aquinas was born in the family castle at Roccasecca in 1225. At five, he began school at Montecassino, the great Benedictine monastery that was almost visible from the promontory on which the family castle stood.

The commanding site of the monastery offered military advantage, and the ongoing struggle between the forces of the emperor and those of the pope made Montecassino unsafe. Thomas was therefore enrolled in the University of Naples, where he first met members of the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans.

Like the Franciscans, the Dominicans were a mendicant order whose friars vowed to live faithfully in poverty, chastity and obedience. Dominic had wanted his followers to be well trained for the refutation of heresy, so the order also emphasized education.

Attracted by the Dominican ideal, Thomas joined the order in 1244. This shocked his family. They took him captive and held him for a year, seeking to dissuade him from his decision.

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Posted in Church History, Theology