St. Thomas of Villanova (1488-1555)
Bishop, Archbishop, Educator, and Philanthropist
To believe, in the sense of the creeds, is to trust or to belove. This is an active belief, one visible in a person’s life. St. Thomas of Villanova believed, by this standard.
The saint was renowned for his almsgiving, even as a youth. Charitable works and humanitarian efforts marked his adulthood. He gave without stint as able, and lived simply, mending his own clothes and sleeping on a straw mattress. Furthermore, the saint purchased tools for indigent workmen, so that they could earn a living. And he provided food, clothing, and money. Both types of giving were necessary.
St. Thomas of Villanova entered university at age 16 and began to study theology, philosophy, and logic. Ordained a priest in 1517, the saint became preacher in the court of Emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain). He also established convents of his order, the Augustinians, in Mexico.
As Archbishop of Valencia (1545-55), St. Thomas of Villanova built hospitals, abolished underground prisons, founded two colleges, opened his official residence to the poor, scheduled masses at hours convenient for working people, and encouraged nominal Christians to cease to be merely nominal. He died of angina in 1555, at age 67.
Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church, including your servant, St. Thomas of Villanova. May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith, so that we may serve and confess your name before the world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35
1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21
John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47