SAINT THOMAS OF VILLANOVA
Saint Thomas, the glory of the Spanish Church in the sixteenth century, was born in 1488. A thirst for the science of the Saints led him to enter the house of the Austin Friars at Salamanca. Charles V. listened to him an oracle, and appointed him Archbishop of Valencia. On being led to his throne in church, he pushed the silken cushions aside, and with tears kissed the ground.
His first visit was to the prison; the sum with which the chapter presented him for his palace was devoted to the public hospital. As a child he had given his meal to the poor, and two thirds of his episcopal revenues were now annually spent in alms. He daily fed five hundred needy persons, brought up himself the orphans of the city, and sheltered the neglected foundlings with a mother's care.
During his eleven years' episcopate not one poor maiden was married without an alms from the Saint. Spurred by his example, the rich and the selfish became liberal and generous; and when, on the Nativity of Our Lady, 1555, St. Thomas came to die, he was well-nigh the only poor man in his see.
Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed.