St. Thomas of Villanueva September 22

giving alms to the poor“Thomas of Villlanueva was born of excellent parentage, in the town of Fuenlana, in the Diocese of Toledo in Spain, in the year of our Lord 1488, and was early taught godliness, and an especial pitifulness towards the needy. Of this grace he gave many examples while he was still a lad, whereof it is an eminent one that he more than once stripped himself of raiment of his own, in order to clothe the naked. He was become a man when the death of his father called him from Alcala, whither he had been sent to work as a student in the great College of St Alonzo. He gave all the inheritance which fell to him to feed poor unmarried women, and forthwith returned to Alcala, and finished his course in Theology. He was so eminent in learning that he was commanded to take a Professorship in that University, and delivered remarkable Lectures upon Philosophy and Theology. Meanwhile he ceased not earnestly to entreat of the Lord in prayer the knowledge of the Saints, and to know what was the path of life whereunto he was called. In course of time, by the inspiration of God, he entered the Institute of Hermits of St Augustine.

In the Order wherein he had professed, he was marked for all that maketh a good and edifying Friar, for lowliness, for long-suffering, for cleanness-of-heart, but, above all, for the warmth of his charity. Amid divers and hard works, he let his spirit never faint from prayer and study of the things of God. On account of his holiness and learning he was bidden to undertake the work of preaching, and, by the help of God’s grace, was the means of drawing countless souls out of the slough of sin into the way that leadeth unto life. Being raised to rule over his brethren, he so joined wisdom, justice, and gentleness with watchfulness and firmness, that he either established or restored in many places the original discipline of his Order.

He was named to the Archbishoprick of Granada, but, with excellent lowliness and firmness, he refused to take so high a place. However, not long after, he was forced by the commands of his superiors to accept the government of the Church of Valencia, which he discharged for nearly eleven years with the reputation of a most holy and watchful shepherd of souls. His elevation changed nowise his way of life, except to give greater scope to his wonderful charity by placing the revenues of a wealthy Church at his disposal to distribute to the poor. He did not leave himself even a bed that on which he was lying when he was called to heaven, he had only on loan from a person to whom he had shortly before given it as an alms. He fell asleep in the Lord upon the 8th day of September, in the 69th year of his own age, and of our Lord 1555. God was pleased to approve the holiness of His servant by miracles, both during his life and after his death, whereof are specially remarked that when he had utterly emptied his barn by giving away all his corn to the poor, it was suddenly found full again, and that a dead boy was raised to life at his grave. Finding him famous for these signs, and not a few others, Pope Alexander VII. enrolled him in the list of the Saints, and ordered that his memory should be held in remembrance upon the 18th day of September.”  Breviary 1910