The Chancel Windows

St. Thomas Aquinas & St. Alphonsus Liguori

Photograph by Bill Blanchard

Thomas Aquinas is shown in the black and white habit of the Dominican Order. He holds a book to indicate his theological writings. The blazing sun on his habit is the symbol of God the Father, who was the inspiration for his theology.

Alphonsus Liquori, although he lived in the eighteenth century, in is depicted in the robes of a medieval bishop, similar to Augustine.


Thomas was born in 1226, the son of Landulph, Count of Aquino. When he came of age to choose his state of life, Thomas decided to enter the Order of St. Dominic, in spite of the opposition of his family. In 1243, at the age of seventeen, he joined the Dominicans of Naples. Some members of his family resorted to extreme measures over a two year period to break his constancy. They even went so far as to send a "loose woman" to tempt him. But all their efforts were in vain, and St. Thomas persevered in his vocation.


After making his profession at Naples, he studied at Cologne under the celebrated St. Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the "dumb ox" because of his silent ways and huge size; but he was really a brilliant student. After four years, he was sent to Paris. At the age of thirty-one, he received his doctorate. In 1261, Pope Urban IV called him to Rome where he was appointed to teach. St. Thomas not only wrote (his writings filled twenty hefty tomes characterized by brilliance of thought and lucidity of language), but also preached. Pope Clement IV offered to name him Archbishop of Naples; but he refused. He left the great monument of his learning, the Summa Theologiae, unfinished. On his way to the second Council of Lyons, ordered there by Pope Gregory X, he fell sick, and died at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova in 1274.

Thomas Aquinas was one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time. He was canonized in 1323, and declared Doctor of the Church in 1567 by Pope Pius V.


His feast day is January 28. He is the patron of students and of universities. He is known as the "Angelic Doctor."

Alfonso Maria Antonio Giovanni Cosmo Damiano Michele Gaspardo de Liguori was born on September 27,1696, at Marianella, near Naples, Italy. Raised in a pious home, Alphonsus went on retreats with his father, Don Giuseppe, who was a naval officer and a captain of the Royal Galleys. Educated at the University of Naples, Alphonsus received his doctorate at the age of sixteen. By age nineteen he was practicing law; but in 1723, he had a vision in which he was told to consecrate his life solely to God. In response, Alphonsus dedicated himself to the religious life, even while suffering persecution from his family. He was ordained on December 21, 1726, and he spent six years giving missions throughout Naples.


In 1732, Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Pope Benedict XIV approved the men's congregation in 1749, and the women's in 1750. He refused to become the bishop of Palermo; but in 1762 accepted the papal command to become Bishop of St. Agatha of the Goths near Naples. For thirteen years, Alphonsus fed the poor, instructed families, reorganized the seminary and religious houses, taught theology, and wrote. His austerities were rigorous, and he daily suffered from rheumatism that was beginning to deform his body. An attack of rheumatic fever, from May 1768 to June 1769, left him paralyzed. He finally was allowed to resign his see in 1775. He died peacefully on August 1, 1787, at Nocera di Pagani, near Naples. His writings on moral, theological, and ascetic matters had great impact and have survived through the years. Among the most significant are his Moral Theology and Glories of Mary. He was canonized in 1839. In 1871, Alphonsus was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX.


His feast day is August 1. He is the patron of confessors, moral theologians, and the lay apostolate.