St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), famously known to Catholics as the Angelic Doctor, was born in Italy to prosperous parents of royal lineage. At the age of five he impressed everyone by continually asking, “Quid est Deus?” (What is God?) Recognizing the precocious intellect of their son, his parents sent him to the best Benedictine teachers for instruction. It was the dream of his mother that he might be Archbishop of Naples or even Abbot of Monte Casino. By his eighteenth year he transferred to a Dominican monastery for more advanced learning and began his life-long search for the answer to the burning question of his youth.
Aquinas Becomes a Dominican
Eventually Aquinas was convinced he did not want to return to the Benedictines and asked his Dominican superiors if he could wear the cloth of St. Dominic. They granted his request. His parents were enraged by their son’s decision, since the Dominicans were famous not only as scholars, but also as an order of beggars.