St. Thomas was born in Sicily in the year 1225. He died in 1274. The feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas is celebrated on Jan. 28. He is considered the patron saint of students and universities.
At the age of five he was placed in the care of the Benedictines of Monte Casino.
He became a Dominican priest against his families wishes. His brothers followed careers in the military. In an attempt to end his desires to become a Dominican, his brothers hired a prostitute to seduce him. According to legend, two angels appeared to Thomas to strengthen him and increase his determination to remain celibate. He thus became known as the “Angelic Doctor”.
St. Thomas studied at Cologne under St. Albert the Great. He was called “the dumb-ox” because he was so shy and quiet. He was also of a very large stature. Actually, he was quite brilliant, eventually being declared a doctor of the church.
After becoming a priest he was sent to Paris. In Paris he became a friend of the King, St. Louis, dining with him frequently. He was asked to teach at the age of 22. He has published many writings. The most well known are Summa Theologica and Summa Contra Gentiles. He also wrote Hymns of Adoration which are well known today. The belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is very evident in his hymns of praise and adoration.
His well known hymns are the following:
1. Panis Angelicus (Bread of Angels)
2. Adore te Devote (Humbly I adore thee)
3. O Salutaris hostia (O saving victim)
4. Pange Lingua Corperis (Now, my tongue, the mystery telling)
5. Tantum Ergo Sacramentum (Come Adore)