Thomas Aquinas was an extremely influential philosopher and theologian who was important to the Church because his writings helped to solidify the Church’s doctrine. Aquinas’ writings on theology were so well received by the Church that he was declared a Doctor of the Church, a title given only to those whose teachings have been accepted by the Church as authoritative.
Early in his life, Aquinas studied at the University of Naples and then at the University of Paris. He received his doctorate in theology at the age of 27 and then returned to Naples where he became a professor at the Dominican monastery there. He stayed for three years before returning to Paris where he taught until 1256 when he was asked by Pope Innocent IV to join him in Rome. He taught there for five years before returning to Naples again as a professor at the Dominican monastery there. In 1269, he was asked once more by Pope Clement IV to join him on a diplomatic journey to France where they were negotiating with King Louis IX over territorial disputes between them.
Aquinas spent much time traveling throughout his life; however, he remained loyal to his religious order throughout it all and never left them permanently until his death in 1274 when he returned once again to Naples where he died peacefully at age 51.