St. Thomas was born at Fuentellana, Castile in Spain. From his kind parents, he learned to be very charitable with the poor. He did well in school and became a teacher of philosophy when he finished his studies.
Then he joined the Augustinian order as a priest. After he became a priest, he was given many important responsibilities. Later, he was made archbishop of the city of Valencia.
His priests tried to convince him to change his old, mended habit (long robe that priests wear) for new and nicer robes. However, St. Thomas told them his old clothes had nothing to do with his duty. He would take good care of the spiritual needs of his people.
Every day he fed hundreds of poor people. When he received a large sum of money to buy furniture for his house, he gave it to a hospital, saying, “What does a poor monk like me want with furniture?” No wonder he was called the “father of the poor”!
St. Thomas was very gentle with sinners at a time when most people were not. He encouraged rich people to be generous and follow his example too.
Once when he tried to encourage one man to change his sinful ways, the man angrily insulted him and stormed out of the room.
“It was my fault,” said the humble archbishop. “I told him a little too roughly.” Never would he permit anyone to criticize someone who wasn’t there. “He may have had a good reason for doing what he did,” the saint would say. “I, for one, believe he did.”
Before he died, St. Thomas of Villanova gave to the poor everything he had. He made sure that even his bed was sent to the jail for prisoners to use. St. Thomas died in 1555.
Reflection: “Answer me, O sinner!” Saint Thomas would say, “what can you purchase with your money better or more necessary than the redemption of sins?”
Prayer: O God, who didst endue blessed Thomas, thy bishop, with wondrous gifts of mercy to the poor : we humbly beseech thee ; that, at his intercession, thou wouldest pour forth on all who call upon thee the abundant riches of thy mercy. We pray through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.