Friday, May 2, 2014

A story you might not have heard about Thomas Aquinas

A while back I heard a story about St. Thomas Aquinas that I have found few people know about and would like to share it with you today.

Most people know that Thomas Aquinas was on his way to meet with the Pope for the upcoming Ecumenical Council at Lyons i
n France which was intended to find a way to bring the Orthodox back into communion. While headed there he hit his head on a tree branch and fell off his donkey.  (Isn't it odd that he was riding his donkey at this point, when at other times he refused to put such a burden on the donkey.  But he was old so give him a pass)

He was taken to the Cistercian monastery of Fossanova near Terracina in the Papal States (modern day Italy). He died there on March 7th in the Year of Our Lord 1274 and his body remained with the Cistercians at the monastery until the Dominicans called on them to return the amazingly in-corrupt body to their possession so he may be justly venerated by those he was closest to.  The Cistercians were not all too happy with this call from the Dominicans because they wished to keep the Saint in their possession.  Under pressure they relented and agreed to send him back, but here is the interesting part.

Relic of St. Thomas Aquinas
They decided it would be better to return him, not in the in-corrupt state he was in, but in a more efficient way.  The Cistercians boiled Thomas's in-corrupt body in wine leaving behind only the bones of the formally in-corrupt saint. Even more weird is the fact that when they boiled the saint in wine this left a pink hue entrenched in all of his relics to this day.  Another interesting thing is that, out of perhaps shall we call it pastoral concern, the Cistercians lopped off one of Thomas's in-corrupt hands and sent this to his living sister as a personal remembrance of her now deceased Saintly-Brother.  The hand, gloriously, remained in-corrupt for what its worth. 

Ok so thats the story... its an oddity, I will grant you. But it shows just how strange and in a morbid way beautiful the churches history is.

I recently finished an art piece of St. Thomas meeting with St. Louis IX.  I have posted the picures below because I am proud of the piece and give thanks to God for all his help

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