Posted in QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 22 September – St Thomas of Villanova OSA OSA (1488 – 1555)

Saint of the Day – 22 September – St Thomas of Villanova OSA (1488 – 1555) Religious Priest of the Order of St Augustine, Bishop, Confessor, Writer, Preacher, Teacher, Apostle of Charity, Mystic, Miracle-Worker often called “the Almsgiver” and “the Father of the Poor”, Reformer.   Born Tomás García y Martínez (1488 in Villanueva de los Infantes, Ciudad Real, Spain – September 8, 1555 in Valencia, Spain of natural causes).   Canonised on 1 November 1658 by Pope Alexander VII. Patronages – Villanova University and various cities. Attributes – A bishop distributing alms to the poor.

Giovanni Antonio Galli (Lo Spadarino), The Charity of Saint Thomas of Villanova,

St Thomas’ father was a miller, who regularly distributed food and provisions to the poor, as did his mother.   He grew up and was educated in Villanueva de los Infantes, in the Province of Ciudad Real, Spain, therefore the name Thomas of Villanueva.   Part of the original house still stands, with a coat of arms in the corner, beside a family chapel. In spite of his family’s wealth, as a young boy he often went about naked because he had given his clothing to the poor.

St.-Thomas-Villanova-Public-Domain-Image
St Thomas Villanova Dividing His Clothes
by Murillo

At the age of sixteen years, Thomas entered the University of Alcalá de Henares to study Arts and Theology.   He became a professor there, teaching arts, logic, and philosophy, despite a continuing absentmindedness and poor memory.   In 1516, he decided to join the Augustinian friars in Salamanca and in 1518 was ordained a priest.

He became renowned for his eloquent and effective preaching in the churches of Salamanca.   Thomas composed beautiful sermons, among which stands out the Sermon on the Love of God, one of the great examples of sacred oratory of the 16th century. Charles V, upon hearing him preach, exclaimed, “This monsignor can move even the stones!”.  Charles named Thomas one of his councilors of state and court preacher in Valladolid, the residence of the Emperor when on his visits to the Low Countries.

His scathing attacks on his fellow bishops earned him the title of reformer.   Some of his sermons attacked the cruelty of bullfighting.   He also had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary, whose heart he compared to the burning bush of Moses that is never consumed.

Within the Order, he successively held the positions of prior of his local monastery, Visitor General and Prior Provincial for Andalusia and Castile.   In 1533, Thomas sent out the first Augustinian friars to arrive in Mexico.   Charles V offered him the post of Archbishop of Granada but he would not accept it.

Bishop:
In 1544 he was nominated as Archbishop of Valencia and he continued to refuse the position until ordered to accept by his superior.   Given a donation to decorate his residence, he sent the money to a hospital in need of repair.   He began his episcopacy by visiting every parish in the Archdiocese to discover what were the needs of the people. Aided by his assistant bishop, Juan Segriá, he put in order an archdiocese that for a century had not had direct pastoral government.   He organised a special college for Moorish converts and in particular an effective plan for social assistance, welfare and charity.   In 1547 he ordained as a priest the future Saint Luis Beltrán, O.P., a noted missionary in South America.   Thomas started the Presentation Seminary in 1550.

He was well known for his great personal austerity (he sold the straw mattress on which he slept in order to give money to the poor) and wore the same habit that he had received in the novitiate, mending it himself.   Thomas was known as “father of the poor.”   His continual charitable efforts were untiring, especially towards orphans, poor women without a dowry and the sick.   He possessed, however, an intelligent notion of charity, so that while he was very charitable, he sought to obtain definitive and structural solutions to the problem of poverty;  for example, giving work to the poor, thereby making his charity bear fruit.   “Charity is not just giving, rather removing the need of those who receive charity and liberating them from it when possible,” he wrote.   He established boarding schools and high schools.Murillo_Thomas_of_Vilanueva_Heals_The_Sick.tiffsao-tomas-de-vilanovaSt. Thomas of Villanova 01Tomás_de_Villanueva

Thomas died in Valencia on September 8, 1555 of angina at the age of 67.   His remains are preserved at the Cathedral there.   St Thomas is the author of various Tracts, among which is included the Soliloquy between God and the soul, on the topic of communion. Francisco de Quevedo wrote his biography.   His complete writings were published in six volumes as Opera omnia, in Manila in 1881.Saint Thomas of Villanueva giving alms to the poor - (after) Paolo Di Matteisst thomas villanova LARGECamilo, Francisco, c.1615-1671; St Thomas of Villanuevacf6b1722767a3c8331253781d0bd557d--niches-st-thomas

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings.

4 thoughts on “Saint of the Day – 22 September – St Thomas of Villanova OSA OSA (1488 – 1555)

  1. Another lighted lamp has been rescued from under the bushel basket.
    How often do we read about this high quality of leadership?:

    “He organised a special college for Moorish converts and in particular an effective plan for social assistance, welfare and charity.”

    And here’s definitive proof that bishops could(!) and did implement programs and interventions that addressed (*together, at the same time*) both the secular and spiritual components of an issue ✌️:

    “He possessed, however, an intelligent notion of charity, so that while he was very charitable, he sought to obtain definitive and structural solutions to the problem of poverty; for example, giving work to the poor, thereby making his charity bear fruit. “Charity is not just giving, rather removing the need of those who receive charity and liberating them from it when possible,” he wrote.”

    Super kudos to this blog yet again for timely, investigative reporting! Great post! 👆👇👍✌️✊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great comment Stacy – yes this has (in the past) always been the mission of the Church and it’s holy Bishops and saints.
      If we consider St Benedict with his “Pray and Work – Ora et Labora – his Monks and their methods in all spheres, from agriculture, social culture to learning, changed the face of Europe in every way.
      Catholic action with the soul of prayer.

      Nowadays – we see little of either!

      Liked by 1 person

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