Saint Thomas Aquinas, born in Roccasecca, Italy in 1225, died in Fossanova on March 7, 1274. He was a dominican friar whose works had an enormous influence on theology and philosophy, he is known as "Doctor Angelicus", "Doctor Communis " and "Doctor Universalis".
He was the most important classical proponent of natural theology and the father of Thomism. His influence on Western Thought is considerable and much of modern philosophy has been conceived as opposition to his ideas.
Unlike many contemporaries in the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas embraced the ideas of Aristotle - whom he referred to as "the Philosopher" - and synthesized Aristotelian philosophy with the principles of Christianity. Thomas best-known works are the "Suma Theologica" (Latin: Summa Theologiae) and the "Suma Contra Gentiles". His commentaries on Sacred Scriptures and on Aristotle are also an important part of his literary corpus. In addition, St. Thomas is distinguished by his Eucharistic hymns, which are still part of the Church's liturgy today.
Saint Thomas Aquinas was canonized on July 18, 1323 by Pope John XXII.
He is held up as the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood for having attained the ultimate expression of both natural reason and speculative theology. He was also proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pius V in 1568. About him, Pope Benedict XV declared:
"the Church declared the teachings of Thomas her own and this Doctor, honored by special praise from the pontiffs, the teacher and patron of Catholic schools."