Thomas Aquinas, one of the most important philosophers and writers of the early Christian church, was one of the few Catholic saints who was canonized without evidence of divine miracles attributed to him. He was canonized because of his writings and because of the holy and ascetic life he was said to have led. Aquinas swore off all worldly pleasures early in life, choosing chastity and poverty instead.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Aquinas was born in 1226 in Naples. He studied to be a doctor, and he was, by several accounts, a brilliant student; however, in his early 20s, he chose to enter a monastery and live a religious life. He was a prolific writer, penning at least 60 known works, many of which were concerned with reconciling religion and the secular philosophical thought of the day. Churches and universities alike invited him to teach and lecture, and he was the guest of many of Europe's top citizens.
According to the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas' Feast Day is celebrated on January 28. It was celebrated on March 7 prior to Vatican II, and some branches of Catholicism still choose to celebrate it then. Aquinas is the patron saint of universities, Catholic schools and students.