This is the story of our patron saint, St. Thomas of Villanova which we honor in this religious fiesta.
Bishop Confessor (1488 – 1555) St. Thomas of Villanova is best remembered as the “Almgiver” and the “Father of the Poor”.
Thomas was born in 1488 to Alfonso Thomas Garcia and Lucia Martinez Castillanos in Fuentellano but he grew in Villanova de los Infantes.
In 1504, he entered the University of Alcala and finished Master of Arts degree and Licentiate in Theology and taught Philosophy. He joined the Augustinian order in 1516 and was ordained priest in 1518. He taught theology in the University of Salamanca which is known worldwide up to the present. He became of the famous preachers of Valencia and Valladolid. High positions in the Augustinian order were handled by him.
In his order, St. Thomas of Villanova rose to Provincial and from Castille sent out the first band of Augustinian missionaries to Mexico. Then he was nominated to the position of bishop of Granada but refused such nomination. Nevertheless, under obedience he accepted the position of Archbishop of Valencia and which he has served from 1545 to September 8, 1555. Here he labored at reforming the mortals of both clergy and laymen; he did away with underground prisons: a money gift which he received from the cathedral chapter for use in his place was used for the rebuilding of fire guttered general hospital. Moreover, he founded a college for young clergy and another for poor students. Children of indigent parents and foundlings were likewise provided for in an orphanage. For the benefit of the working people, masses were said at very early hours.
Many miracles have been credited to him before and after his death. It was Cardinal Pardo of Toledo who ordained him; Pope Paul II whom beatified him in 1618 and Pope Alejandro VII who canonized him as Saint in 1658.
Thomas of Fuentellano is more popularly known as Thomas of Villanova. Yes, he is a humble servant and an obedient follower as well. His life was one of the continuous series of self-sacrifice and charitable acts, healing the sick and converting hardened sinners.
Thomas Castillanos Garcia is Thomas of Villanova.