St. Thomas Aquinas Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Mary Grace Miller

Mary Grace has taught first grade for 8 years and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is licensed in ESL.

St. Thomas Aquinas was an Italian thinker and theologian from the 13th century, famous for his belief in scholastics and for starting his own school of theology called Thomism.

Early Life and Education

Thomas Aquinas was a saint, but what happened in his life that led to sainthood? Let's jump right in!

Aquinas was born in Italy in 1225 to a huge family. He had eight brothers and sisters! He spent his childhood in a monastery, or a place where monks live and study, from ages 5 through 13.

An Italian monastery like the one St. Thomas Aquinas studied in.
monastery

After that, he returned to Naples, Italy, where he studied the work of the philosopher Aristotle. He went on to attend college at the University of Naples and continued to study religion. There he joined the Dominican order of monks, which was a different order than the one his family supported. They were so upset that he went against their beliefs that they had him kidnapped! He continued to study under this order and found that he believed that people should have lives full of spiritual service.

Beliefs

During the medieval period, people had a hard time figuring out how theology, or religious faith, and philosophy, or reason, could exist together. Aquinas believed that people could have both faith and reason and said that both kinds of knowledge came from God so it was alright to have both. This theory is called scholasticism and Aquinas' work popularized this theory.

A painting of St. Thomas Aquinas
aquinas

He believed that people could prove that God existed in five ways, including understanding that cause and effect was all under God's control, all movement in the world came from God, and that human intelligence was a gift from God. He also believed that God was all-powerful and that people could earn admission into heaven by abiding by moral and government laws. This connected to scholasticism, too, because he believed that following laws was based on reason. He had lots of followers and people who agreed with him, so he was very influential both while he was alive and for centuries after his death.

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