Scholastica, the twin sister of St Benedict, was born in Nursia, which is at the border between Umbria and Sabina. She consecrated herself to God from her earliest years and remained home with her father, while Benedict went off to Rome for his education. According to the Dialogues of St Gregory the Great - the only source we have concerning Benedict and Scholastica - it is likely that while Benedict was at Subiaco, Scholastica was at a monastery nearby. Later, in order to stay close to her brother, Scholastica followed him to Montecassino and entered a monastery at Piumarola. There she died at 547.
According to the Benedictine Calendar at the end of the 8th century, the feast of St. Scholastica was celebrated on February 10. By the 9th century it was celebrated throughout the monastic world and reached its widest diffusion between the 11th and 13th centuries. By the end of the 18th century her feast is found in the Roman liturgical books. We have no historical details concerning the translation of her relics to Le Mans, France, in the 7th century or from the archaeological investigation of her tomb at Montecassino in 1950.
Son of the Count of Aquino and a mother who was of German descent (it is said that she was related to the Barbarossa family), Thomas was born at the castle of Roccasecca, near Montecassino, Italy. As a child he was educated there by the Benedictines and from his earliest years he had a thirst for knowledge and truth. He later studied at the University of Naples, where he came into contact with the Dominicans and joined their ranks at the age of 18. His father was bitterly opposed to this choice and arranged to have Thomas kidnapped and held prisoner in the tower of the castle for 15 months. Liberated with the help of his sisters, Thomas proceeded to Paris for further studies (1245); then to Cologne, where he studied under St Albert the Great, and finally back to Paris (1256), where he became a Master of Sacred Theology at the age of 31. Together with St Bonaventure, he defended the right of the friars to teach at the University against the opposition of the diocesan clergy.
Between 1259 and 1269 he was in Italy, at the service of Pope Urban IV, and during that time he wrote the Catena Aurea to help the clergy better understand the word of God, the Summa contra Gentiles (at the request of St Raymond of Penyafort) to provide doctrinal material for missionaries to the Muslims, and the Divine Office for the feast of Corpus Christi. From 1269 to 1272 he was once again in Paris to defend the rights of the friars and to justify the use of Aristotle's philosophy in the study of theology. During this period he wrote his commentaries on various works of Aristotle and the greater part of his famous Summa Theologiae.
In 1272 Thomas was back in Naples to found a theological stadium, and to preach, teach and write. On December 6, 1273, while celebrating Mass, he received an interior inspiration to cease writing and teaching. Nevertheless, he did accept the invitation of Pope Gregory X to assist at the Council of Lyons. On the way to France he died at the Cistercian monastery at Fossanova, Italy, on March 7, 1274.
Thomas Aquinas was canonized by Pope John XXII in 1323. Pope Pius V proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church and in 1880 Pope Leo XIII declared him patron of all Catholic schools. Since the 16th century he has been called "the Angelic Doctor," and this for two reasons, as is stated in the Preface of the Mass: the purity of his life and the loftiness of his doctrine. Later he was given the title Doctor Communis because of the depth and breadth of his teaching. His feast is celebrated on January 28 because on that day in 1368 his relics were transferred to Toulouse, France, by order of Pope Urban V.