(NAPLES, AT THE ARCHBISHOP'S PALACE; 21 JULY TO 18 SEPTEMBER 1319)
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I. These are the minutes of the Enquiry into the life, morals and miracles of brother Thomas of Aquino of worthy memory, a friar of the Order of Preachers and Doctor of Sacred Theology, conducted by the reverend Fathers and Lords, by the grace of GOD, Humbert Archbishop of Naples and Angelo Bishop of Viterbo, assisted by the worthy Lord Pandulf Savelli, Papal Notary ... these persons being specially deputed to this task by our holy Father and Lord Pope John XXII; there being present, throughout the whole Enquiry, Peter John of Rocco-Tarani of the diocese of Sabina, a public notary by Apostolic and Imperial Authority, and Francis of Laureto of the diocese of Penna, a public notary by Apostolic and Regal authority; being specially commissioned by the Lords Inquisitors to draft an exact report in writing of the proceedings of the Enquiry; the same being written by me, Peter, the notary aforesaid.
II-V. Preliminaries to the Examination of the Witnesses. On Saturday, 21 July 1319, William of Tocco, O.P., prior of Benevento, presents letters from the Pope to the archbishop of Naples and the bishop of Viterbo; in consequence of which, and in the absence of the papal notary Pandulf Savelli, their Lordships appoint Peter John of Rocca- Tarani and Francis of Laureto to take a record of the proceedings (II). There follows the text of the letter of Pope John XXII to the said archbishop, bishop and papal notary, formally introducing the cause of brother Thomas of Aquino and ordering the examination of witnesses (III). On Monday 23 July litterae clausae from the Pope are opened and read, in the presence of the archbishop and bishop, prescribing the mode of interrogation of the witnesses (IV). There follow (i) a statement that, the archbishop being prevented by sickness from holding the Enquiry anywhere other than Naples, the witnesses have been cited to come before him in that city; and (ii) the form of the oath to be taken by the witnesses (V).
VI. Peter Grasso of Naples, a knight and functionary in attendance on the king; about sixty years old. Having declared that he himself had received miraculous favours from the said brother Thomas of Aquino, he was called before the lords Inquisitors and took the prescribed oath to speak the simple truth on whatever he knows, whether by sight, hearing or other men's report, about the life and miracles of brother Thomas; also to answer all questions truthfully, taking no account of love or hatred, prayers, or bribes, favours or inducements of any kind whatsoever. First then, concerning the life of Thomas, the witness said that ever since he was a schoolboy he had always heard this religious spoken of as a man of holy life, and that many held him to have been a virgin from his mother's womb; and that every day he said Mass before anyone else, and that since his ordination it had been his custom, after his own Mass and before completely unvesting himself, to hear another Mass through - the other priest being already vested before his own Mass was ended. This Thomas always did before starting the day's work. Moreover, apart from the interruptions required by nature, he never wasted any time in idleness or worldly occupations but was always either reading, writing, dictating, praying, or preaching.
Asked how he knew this, the witness said, partly by common report, partly from the testimony of religious or of students, and in particular from Lord Bartholomew of Capua, Chancellor to the king of Sicily, and from brother Reginald of Priverno (brother Thomas's socius) and brother James and other Friar Preachers whom he had heard from time to time talking of these things. Moreover, brother James of Viterbo, of the Order of the Hermits and at that time archbishop of Naples, had once remarked to the witness (in a conversation which turned upon learning and learned men) that no one who did not follow closely the writings of brother Thomas should lay claim to full knowledge of theology, since he was the master in this subject. Asked where he had heard these things, the witness said, wherever he had passed any length of time and particularly in the city of Naples.
VII. Asked about miracles worked by brother Thomas, the witness gave the following account of one. He had been afflicted with a complete paralysis of his right arm, so that he could not even raise his hand to comb his own hair or tie a scarf under his chin without help. This continued for about ten months until, in the Lent of 1316, he happened to be journeying to Rome, and, coming into the neighbourhood of Terracina, he turned aside to visit the grave of brother Thomas at the abbey of Fossanova. He had been told that Thomas lay buried there, and it had crossed his mind that perhaps the merits of the holy man might help to cure his arm; indeed he soon began firmly to believe that he would be cured. So, with two companions - Nicholas Filmarini and Henry Caracciolo, both knights of Naples like himself, and both eager to visit the tombs--he turned aside to Fossanova, leaving the other travellers to continue their journey to Rome. And entering the monastery courtyard, he met a monk who directed him towards Thomas's grave, pointing to it from some way off. It lay, the knight says, to the left of the high altar, covered with a sort of carpet. This he had removed, and then, kneeling on the ground and facing the grave, he prayed in these words: 'Lord God, who art wonderful in thy saints, through the merits of this thy saint restore strength to my arm.' Then he lay down flat on the grave; and at once he felt his arm grow stronger. For a while a kind of numbness remained about the joints as though the muscles were still sluggish; but this too had vanished by the end of the same day. Next morning he found his arm restored to perfect health; not a trace of the paralysis remained. Asked for dates, he said that the paralysis began in May I315 and continued until May of the year following, when the cure took place. Asked about the place and witnesses, he answered as above.
Nicholas, Abbot of Fossanova
VIII. On Tuesday, 24. July, at Naples in the archiepiscopal palace, the venerable Nicholas, abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Fossanova, was called before the Inquisitors and took the oath in the form stated above.
He said that in the time of Pope Gregory X of happy memory, brother Thomas, while on his way through the Campagna on the way to the Council of Lyons, fell ill at the castle of Maenza which belonged to the lord Annibaldo of Ceccano; and his condition worsening, he was heard by several people to say: 'If the Lord has chosen this time to come for me, I had better be found in some religious house.' So he got himself carried to Fossanova, about six miles distant from the castle and there he lay sick for about a month. And on arriving at the monastery door he was heard to say (so it was reported to the witness): 'Haec requies mea in saeculum saeculi, hic habitabo quoniam elegi eam'. And while he lay ill there the monks, much impressed by his reputation for holiness, used themselves to carry in faggots from the wood for his fire; for they thought it hardly fitting that animals should render this service to such a man. But when Thomas saw them doing this he would struggle to his feet, protesting, 'Who am I that holy men should bring me my fire-wood?'
Asked how he knew this, the witness said that he was there at the time, and saw and heard for himself. He added that he saw brother Thomas receive the sacraments of the Church, with much fervour and reverence and tears, lying there with the sickness that caused his death. Asked about the time - the year, month, and day - the witness said he could not remember, except that it was in Lent. Asked who else was present when he saw and heard these things, he named Peter of Montesangiovanni and Octavian of Babuco, monks of Fossanova and both still alive. There had been many other witnesses, monks of the community, who were now dead.
Asked what else he knew about Thomas's life, he said he had always heard him spoken of as a man of great virtue, pure and holy, who said Mass every day when he was in good health and was always occupied in study or prayer; a virgin, too from his mother's womb. These things he had learned from the aforesaid Peter of Montesangiovanni, who got them from Thomas's confessor, and was himself personally acquainted with Thomas.
Asked about miracles - whether he knew of any worked through the merits of Thomas either before or after death - the witness said that when Thomas died his body was buried at first before the high altar, but then the monks, fearing it might be taken from them, transferred it secretly to St. Stephen's Chapel in the same abbey-church. But about seven months later Thomas appeared in a dream to a brother James, who was prior at the time, and said:'Take me back where I was at first.' So they took him back, with due solemnity. (This dream was and still is commonly talked about in the monastery.) And when the tomb was opened a delicious fragrance came out, filling all the chapel and cloister: whereupon the community sang the Mass Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, etc., in honour of Thomas as of a saint; they thought the Mass Pro defunctis hardly suitable for such a man.
All this the witness knew because he was there and saw it for himself; it happened about seven months after Thomas's death; but he could not be sure of the month or the day. Asked who were present, he said 'the whole community'.... Asked who had called him to the place where the fragrance was smelt, he said he himself smelled it; it drew him to where the tomb was.
IX. Asked if he knew of other miracles attributed to brother Thomas, the witness said that he had heard of many; and in particular that when Thomas lay sick in the castle of Maenza and was urged to eat something, he answered, 'I would eat fresh herrings, if I had some.' Now it happened that a pedlar called just then with salted fish. He was asked to open his baskets, and one was found full of fresh herrings, though it had contained only salted fish. But when the herrings were brought to Thomas, he would not eat them.
The witness spoke too of a Master Reginald, a cripple, who was cured at the tomb of brother Thomas.
Asked how he knew of these two miracles, he replied that that about the fish he had from brother William of Tocco, prior of the Friar Preachers at Benevento, who himself had it from several people at Maenza, where the event occurred. The other story he had from brother Octavian (mentioned above) who averred that he had seen it happen. And in the monastery these miracles were common knowledge.
Nicholas of Fresolino
X. On the same day, at the same place, Nicholas of Fresolino, a monk of Fossanova, was called as witness and took the oath. ... Touching the life and morals of brother Thomas, the witness said that he had always heard that he was a holy man and that he himself was present when brother Thomas came from Maenza to Fossanova. Brother Thomas was ill; and while he lay sick in the monastery he received the Lord's Body and the other sacraments with much devotion and tears. But as the witness was only a novice at the time, he has no knowledge, he says, of other details; except that he has heard from brother Peter of Montesangiovanni that when Thomas entered the abbey he said, 'Haec requies mea', etc. Asked as to when this happened, the witness said it was forty years ago and in February; and that Thomas died on the ninth of the month following, before the end of Lent... .
Octavian of Babuco
XV. On Wednesday, 25 July, in the same place brother Octavian of Babuco in the Campagna, priest and monk of Fossanova, took the oath in the prescribed form. ... He averred that the said Thomas was a man of pure and holy life, chaste, temperate in food and drink, diligent in prayer, fasting and study; that in prayer he shed tears; that he was most charitable, compassionate and humble, full of devout wisdom in his dealings with God and man. Asked how he knew all this, the witness said that he had known brother Thomas and spoken with him and done him services from time to time, and seen him say Mass and shed tears at the communion. Asked how long he had known Thomas before his death, he answered 'about four and a half years'.
Asked where he had seen and conversed with him and done him services, the witness said it was in the castle of Maenza, whither Thomas often came to visit a kinswoman of his, and also at Fossanova. Asked if he was sure that Thomas had persevered in holiness to the end, the witness answered that he was. Asked how he knew, he replied as before. Asked how long it was since Thomas's death, he said, 'about forty-six years'. He added that he had seen Thomas arrive at Fossanova from the castle of Maenza (where he had been taken ill) and stop in front of the choir in the abbey-church where he said, 'Haec requies mea', etc. The witness was present at the time and heard the words spoken. Asked who else was present, he said that besides himself there was brother Peter of Montesangiovanni, who was still alive, and many other monks of the same monastery whose names he could not remember.
Brother Thomas (the witness continued) was patient in his sickness, always gentle and no trouble to anyone. Asked if he had received the Sacraments during his illness, the witness said he had heard from other monks of the abbey that he had done so, and with reverence and devotion and many tears. Asked whether this was the illness that Thomas died of, he answered that it was.
Asked where the body of Thomas was buried, the witness said it was placed in front of the high altar of the abbey-church, but that it lay there only one day, for in the following night it was removed by some of the monks and buried in the chapel of St. Stephen; where it remained for about seven months, being finally taken back to the place in front of the altar. Moreover, when it was exhumed it was found to be intact and very fragrant, which caused the monks to carry it back to the former grave, chanting in procession. And next morning the Mass for a confessor, Os justi, was sung by the monks. Asked how he knew all this, the witness said he was present at the transporting of the body and at the Mass, which he sang along with the other monks. Asked who was the priest who celebrated, he said he could not remember.
Asked about Thomas's appearance, the witness said he was a tall man and stout, with a bald forehead; and that he seemed about fifty when he died.
Nicholas of Priverno
XIX. On Thursday, 26 July, at the same place, Nicholas of Priverno, a lay-brother at Fossanova, was called as a witness, and, having taken the oath in the form described, was asked first concerning the life of brother Thomas of Aquino. He answered that he had seen Thomas lying ill at Fossanova, whither he had come from the castle of Maenza, where he had broken the journey he was making towards Lyons in order (the witness had been informed) to take part in the Council held in the time of Gregory X. It was since that date that the witness had heard of the holiness of Thomas and of his constant virginity; he had not seen or known him before. But he saw him, during that stay in the monastery, always humble, kindly and patient, never upset or annoyed in those last days of his life.... The witness had been told that Thomas had been invited to the Council because he was thought to be one of the wisest and best men in the world.
He said, too, that he had heard that when Thomas first entered the choir of the abbey-church he exclaimed, 'Haec requies mea', etc. Asked who had told him all this, the witness said he had heard of Thomas's holiness from brother James of Ferentino, at that time prior of the monastery, and from many others of the same community whose names he could not remember. Asked when he saw Thomas ill in the monastery, he said it was about forty-five years ago. He remembered him as a big stout man, with a dark complexion and bald. As for his age, he had seemed to the witness about fifty or sixty.
XX. Being asked whether he knew of any miracles worked by brother Thomas, either while still alive or after death, the witness said that a long while - about seven months - after Thomas's death, when his body was taken from the chapel of St. Stephen to the grave in front of the high altar, the witness saw the body intact and smelled a strong and sweet scent that came from it. And later, about fourteen years after Thomas's death, the grave was reopened at the request of one of his sisters, the Countess Theodora, who desired a relic of him; and one of the hands from the body was given to her. And the body was still intact and very fragrant.
Asked how he knew these things, the witness said he was present and saw them and smelled the fragrance both times. Asked about the times, he answered as before; but he could not recall the exact month or day. Asked who was present, he said that at the first opening of the grave nearly the whole community was there: they carried the body in procession with the cross and holy water and all solemnity; but at the second exhumation when the hand was given away, he named only brother Peter of Montesangiovanni, then abbot of the monastery, as present.
XXII. On the same day, at the same place, brother Peter Francisci ... a lay-brother at Fossanova was called as witness and took the oath. Asked about brother Thomas's way of life, he said that in the monastery and at the castle of Priverno and in all that region there was a common opinion that Thomas was a saint; but that he never knew the man himself, being too young ever to have seen him.
Asked concerning miracles, the witness said that before he entered religion he used to work as shoemaker for the monks in a workshop by the monastery. One day while taking a rest in that place he thought he would get up and have a drink; but just then a hairy man appeared by his bed and gripped his feet, pressing them down on the bed, and said, 'Don't move, I will bring you some water.' So he, thinking this was one of the monastery servants, answered, 'Very well, fetch me some water.' The hairy man then went out and soon returned with water cupped in the palms of his hands, and said, 'Drink!' But when the witness looked at the man he now seemed to have taken the form of a dog, excepting his face, which was still human, but hairy and terrible; and he gave out a horrible stench, so that the witness was terrified, and hid his face, crying, 'Go away, I will not drink!' And in that fear he lost almost all his strength, and could not speak all that day, and his hands and fingers became rigid, with the thumb of the right hand drawn back against his arm and the fingers of the left hand bent over so tightly that he could not straighten them at all. His feet too had become heavy, numb, and powerless. Indeed his whole body was rigid and motionless.
In this condition he was carried to his mother's house at Priverno, where he lay for eight days and got no better, though his mother tried all sorts of remedies. Finally someone suggested that he should be carried to the grave of brother Thomas. His mother took this advice and had him taken to the grave and laid on it. And a little while later he suddenly got up completely cured of the contraction and rigidity and able to walk about freely and praise God for his cure. Then he continued for a time working in the monastery as a layman; until, a year later, he took the religious habit. And ever since he has enjoyed good health, as he does now.
Asked about the time--the month and day--of the miracle, he said he could not remember except that it was harvest-time. Asked who was present, he said that brother Gregory from the castle of St. Stephen, a monk and priest of the monastery, was there, and also a Frenchman called Pierrot, a monastery servant now dead; besides his mother, who had come with him, but, being a woman, had to remain outside the abbey gates. She was delighted on hearing of the cure and returned to Priverno praising God; and ever afterwards, in thanksgiving to God and to brother Thomas, she made it a rule to fast for three successive days at the time of year when the miracle had occurred.
Leonard of Priverno
XXVI. On the same day in the same place, brother Leonard of Priverno, a lay-brother of the monastery, was called as witness and took the usual oath. Asked first about the life of brother Thomas, the witness said that while still in the world and since his entry into religion - in all about forty years now - he had heard brother Thomas spoken of as a holy man; he knew nothing else in particular about him.
Asked about miracles the witness replied that at the time when brother William of Tocco and his socius - Friar Preachers both and engaged in the enquiry concerning Thomas - were staying at the abbey of Fossanova they had the use of two mules to carry them about, and these had to be shod; and the witness, being a blacksmith, was required to see to this; and being bored by the work, this thought came into his mind: 'How these Dominicans pester and plague us with their brother Thomas! If he was really a saint why doesn't he work a miracle to settle the matter? And then these friars would leave us alone!' Now he had no sooner said this to himself than he felt a terrible pain in the right arm: and it became motionless so that he could not even lift his hand to his mouth. And so it remained until the following day; but then, remembering his evil thought, his conscience reproved him; and, going to the grave of brother Thomas, he laid his paralysed arm on it and remained there, praying for an hour; after which the arm suddenly became well again, so that on the following Monday he was able to resume his work; and from that time on he very gladly shod mules for the Friar Preachers.
Asked about the time - the month and day - the witness said that it happened in June of this year; the paralysis began on a Saturday between noon and vespers, and was cured at the tomb of brother Thomas on the Sunday morning following. Asked who was present at the cure, he said 'nobody'; but his assistants at the smithy saw him when paralysed and afterwards cured. Their names are James of Sonnino and Leo of Priverno.
Asked if he knew of any other miracles, the witness said he had heard that God had worked many others through brother Thomas, but that he knew nothing of them in detail, being only a novice in the monastery. His own cure, he added, was common knowledge in the monastery and the neighbourhood.
John of Adelasia
XXVII. On the same day, in the same place, brother John of Adelasia of Priverno, priest and monk of Fossanova, was called as a witness and took the oath. Asked about brother Thomas's way of life, he replied that many religious had told him (indeed it was everyone's opinion) that this Thomas was a holy man all his days, devoted to prayer, his mind absorbed in the things of God; that he was always a virgin; and that he said Mass every day; and that when dying he received the Lord's Body with great reverence and devotion, after saying these words: 'I have written much on the holy Body of Christ, and now I leave it all to the judgement of the holy Roman Church.' When he received Extreme Unction brother Thomas himself made the responses.
Asked for his authorities for these statements, the witness named brother Nicholas, now the abbot of Fossanova, brother Peter of Montesangiovanni, a former abbot, and a Friar Preacher, brother Richard, who is a nephew of that brother Reginald who was for long Thomas's socius.... Asked where he had heard the things he reports, the witness said it was partly in his own monastery, partly at Anagni, and in other places.
XL. On Monday, 30 July, at the same place, the noble lord and knight Henry Caracciolo of Naples was called as witness and took the prescribed oath. Asked concerning brother Thomas's life and habits, he said he had often heard men speak of this religious as very upright, pure and holy, as a great contemplative and man of prayer; and that he said his Mass daily and then assisted at another (or if impeded from celebrating himself, he would hear two Masses) after which he always studied; so that all his life (apart from time given to bodily needs) was passed in reading, writing, or prayer. Asked for his authorities, the witness named brother John of Naples, a Dominican and Master in Theology, brother William of Tocco, also a Dominican, and Lord Bartholomew of Capua, and many others.
James of Caiazzo
XLII. On Tuesday, 31 July, in the same place, brother James of Caiazzo, a Friar Preacher, was called as witness and took the oath. Asked concerning the life of brother Thomas, the witness said he himself had seen Thomas - a contemplative man, unworldly, absorbed in heavenly things; a great lover of solitude; very upright, too, and chaste and temperate, so that he never demanded special food, being content with what was served to him.... Each day he said Mass and then heard one; after which he would pray or study or write. Asked how he knew all this, the witness said that he had known Thomas. Asked where, he mentioned Naples and Capua. Asked about Thomas's appearance, the witness said he was a big man with a bald forehead. Asked how long it was since he had seen Thomas, he said it seemed about forty-five years, and that Thomas could have been about forty-six when he (the witness) saw him first.
Asked about miracles, the witness said he had heard of many worked through the merits of brother Thomas, especially of cures in various places. Asked where he had heard of these, he mentioned Naples and Capua and other places 'on both sides of the Alps'. ... His informants were many, both religious and men of the world, but especially Lord Bartholomew of Capua.
Peter of San Felice
XLV. On the same day, in the same place, brother Peter of San Felice, a Dominican, was called as witness and took the oath. Asked first about the life of brother Thomas, the witness said he was a very good man, both in himself and in his dealings with others, whom he desired to be even as he was. Humble and patient, he was never heard to use haughty or aggressive speech against anyone. He was a great contemplative, continually busy with prayer, study, or writing ... absorbed in the thought of God. At meal-times he was content with whatever was put before him - if indeed he noticed it at all. Asked how he knew these things, the witness said that he had lived in the same community with Thomas for a year as one of his students. He had also heard the like from many fellow Dominicans, especially from Reginald of Priverno and Benedict of Montesangiovanni. Asked where he had seen brother Thomas, he answered, 'In his cell and in the choir at Naples, and teaching and preaching.' He added that Thomas was tall and stout with a bald forehead.
Conrad of Sessa
XLVII. On the same day, in the same place, brother Conrad of Sessa, an old Friar Preacher and a priest, was called as witness and took the usual oath. Asked first about brother Thomas's way of life, the witness said that he was a holy, clean-living man - peaceful, abstemious, humble, devout, tranquil, and contemplative. His chastity was reputed to be virginal. Temperate in food and drink, so that he never asked for anything special. Unconcerned about his clothes. Every day he either devoutly said Mass himself or heard Mass, sometimes twice over; and apart from the time required for rest he was always either reading, writing, praying, or preaching. Asked how he knew all this, the witness said that he knew Thomas personally and lived with him for several years at Naples and Rome, and at Orvieto in the time of Pope Urban of happy memory, at whose command brother Thomas wrote his commentaries on the four Gospels. Asked whether this account of Thomas's life was true for the whole period in which the witness was acquainted with him, he said that it was Asked how long it was since he had first seen and known Thomas, he said it was sixty-two years ago; he himself being now seventy-seven - and indeed he looks no younger.
Peter of Montesangiovanni
XLIX. On Wednesday, 1 August, brother Peter of Montesangiovanni, an old monk of Fossanova and a priest, was called as witness and took the oath. He said he had known brother Thomas for a long while and in several places the castle of St. John at Marsico, at Naples and at Maenza, and at Fossanova itself. Asked how long he had known him, he said for ten years in all; they used to meet from time to time, and he always saw Thomas following the same way of life, right to the day of his death when the witness was able to minister to him.
He added that while Thomas was on the way to the Council of Lyons, in obedience to Pope Gregory X of happy memory, he called at the castle of Maenza in the diocese of Terracina, and, being rather tired, stayed there a few days. And brother James of Ferentino, the prior, at that time, of Fossanova, with the witness and brothers John of Piedemonte and Fedele (also monks of the monastery) went to see brother Thomas at Maenza. This visit lasted four or five days, in which time they saw him say Mass with great devotion and tears
Four days later brother Thomas rode over from Maenza to Fossanova with the said prior and monks and his own companions; and on entering the monastery, he said these words in the parlour:.Haec est requies mea in saeculum saeculi,' etc. And while in the monastery his condition grew worse, but he bore it most patiently; and received the sacraments of the Church reverently and devoutly, and especially the Body of Christ. Before receiving Christ's Body, he said in the presence of the whole community of monks and many Dominicans and Friars Minor, many beautiful things concerning it, and in particular this: 'I have taught and written much on this most holy Body and on the other sacraments, according to my faith in Christ and in the holy Roman Church, to whose judgement I submit all my teaching.' And having received the Body, he lingered on for three days and then fell asleep in the Lord. And a Friar Preacher who had for long been confessor to brother Thomas, preached at the funeral and said before them all: 'I have heard this holy man's general confession, and I bear witness that he was as pure as a five-year's-old child; he never felt the corruption of the flesh.' ...
L. Asked if he knew of any miracles worked by Thomas in life or death or after death, the witness narrated the following which happened during that stay at Maenza. Thomas's health declined while he was there, and his socius, seeing his weakness, begged him to take some food: whereupon Thomas said, 'Do you think you could get me some fresh herrings?' The socius replied, 'Oh, yes, across the Alps, in France or England!' But just then a fishmonger called Bordonario arrived at the castle from Terracina with his usual delivery of sardines; and the socius (Reginald of Priverno) asked him what fish he had and was told (sardines). But on opening the baskets, the man found one full of fresh herrings. Everyone was delighted, but astonished too, because fresh herrings were unknown in Italy. And while the fishmonger was swearing that he had brought sardines, not herrings, brother Reginald ran off to tell Thomas, crying, 'God has given you what you wanted - herrings!' And Thomas said, 'Where have they come from and who brought them?' And Reginald said, 'God has brought them!'
Asked for his authority for this story, the witness said that the event took place within the four days that he himself spent at Maenza, along with the prior and the other monks mentioned above. He was present and saw everything and also ate some of the herrings--as also did brother Thomas himself and all the company, including Thomas's niece the Countess Frances (who was wife to Annibaldo de' Ceccano, lord of Maenza) and many other persons both secular and religious.
... Asked who were present at the event, he mentioned him- self and his prior and John of Piedemonte, and brother Fedele of Tuscany, and Reginald of Priverno, and an attendant on brother Thomas called James of Salerno. Asked if these men were still living, he said 'no'; he was the only one left. Asked why he happened to be then at Maenza, he said he had gone with his prior, under obedience, to visit brother Thomas. ... Asked how he knew that the fish were herrings, he said that he had seen salted herrings at the papal court at Viterbo, so that he knew herrings when he saw them. Besides, brother Reginald, who had eaten fresh herrings in the countries across the Alps, declared that these were herrings too. Asked how they had been cooked, he answered that some were boiled and some fried.
LI. Asked if he knew of any miracle worked by Thomas at the time of his death or afterwards, the witness said that while the corpse still lay in the bed in which he had died, and before it was washed, the then sub-prior of the monastery, John of Ferentino, who had lost his sight, was about to kiss the dead man's feet - as they all were doing because of his holiness - when it was suggested to brother John that he should lay his eyes against the eyes of Thomas. So he did this; and at once he recovered his sight fully and clearly.
Asked how he knew this, the witness said that he was present and saw this happen, in fact he was one of those who advised brother John to do as he did. Asked about the time---the month and day--he repeated that it was the day on which Thomas died, though he could not recall the exact day of the week nor the month.... Asked who else was present, he mentioned Francis, bishop of Terracina (of worthy memory), and the aforesaid brother Reginald, and four or five Friars Minor and many Friar Preachers and monks and lay-brothers of the monastery, to the number, in all, of about a hundred. ... Asked who had called him to see this miracle, the witness said that no one had called him; he had been continually at brother Thomas's bedside as he lay ill and was there when he died, ministering to him; in fact he was standing just beside the dead body; and he remained there afterwards, with some other monks, to wash it. So he saw the whole thing. Asked then what words brother John had used when he laid his eyes on Thomas's, the witness said he had not heard; the brother had prayed mentally. Asked how long he had seen this man suffering from loss of sight, he said for twenty days, during which time he could not recognise people and was unable to read. Asked how long he had known brother John subsequently enjoying the use of his eyes, the witness said that thenceforth for thirty years he saw him enjoying good sight.
LII. ... The witness added that after Thomas had been buried seven months in the chapel of St. Stephen, he was exhumed and taken to a place before the high altar, where theyburied him again. But when they exhumed him a sweet smell came out of the grave and filled all the chapel and even the cloister. And the clothes in which the corpse was wrapped were whole and entire, as was the corpse itself, except that the tip of the nose was missing. And some of the monks in order to make sure of that fragrance, came and put their noses right down on the body and so assured themselves that the sweetness came from the body and its clothing.... Then after seven years, the witness himself having now been elected abbot, he had the body again exhumed and transferred to a more honourable place, namely to the left of the altar (as one approaches it) and under a tombstone raised above ground- level. And in this disinterment also the same sort of fragrance was experienced, and again the body and its wrappings were found whole and undecayed, except that a part of the thumb of the right hand had gone.... Asked how he knew all this, the witness said that he was present at both translations of the body, and the second one he himself ordered, as abbot of the monastery. Asked concerning the times - the days and months - he said the first translation was seven months after brother Thomas's death, and the second one seven years after the first. The months and days he could not recall exactly, they were so long ago now....
William of Tocco
LVIII. On Saturday, 4 August, in the same place, brother William of Tocco, an old Friar Preacher and priest, and prior of Benevento, was called as witness and took the oath.... Asked first about Thomas's life, the witness said that he had seen him writing on the De generatione et corruptione, which was, he thinks the last of Thomas's philosophical works. He had also heard him preaching and lecturing. Many people came to hear him preach. He was a sweet-tempered man, humble and gentle; free from all worldly ambition; very pure and chaste, so that it was commonly believed that he had always been a virgin, and this was maintained by brother Peter of Sezze, the procurator of the Dominicans at Anagni, in a sermon preached at Thomas's funeral in which he (Peter) revealed that he had heard the dying man's general confession. In short, the entire life of Thomas was spent in prayer and contemplation, in writing or dictating, lecturing, preaching, or conducting disputations. And he never fussed about his meals or required anything special in food or clothing.
Again, the witness said, on the authority of Reginald of Priverno, that Thomas's knowledge was not acquired by natural intelligence, but by the influence of the Holy Spirit; all his writing began with prayer, and in all his difficulties he had recourse to prayer, with many tears; after which he never failed to find his mind cleared and his doubts resolved. This the witness had heard himself from brother Reginald, who had declared the same publicly in the Schools, saying (and he wept as he said it) that Thomas had forbidden him to tell anyone of this during his lifetime.
LIX. For example, there was the occasion (of which the witness had heard from Francis de Amore of Alatri, vicar of the bishop of Nola, who had it from Reginald of Priverno) when Thomas was commenting on Isaiah, and, coming to a passage which baffled him, he prayed hard and fasted many days, begging God to show him what the text meant. And after some days Reginald heard Thomas speaking one night in his room with someone. Then the voices ceased, and at once Thomas called to his socius to light a candle and fetch the commentary on Isaiah and write to his dictation. So Reginald wrote for a while, until that hard text was explained; and then Thomas said, 'Son, go and rest now.' But Reginald got down on his knees and begged with tears to be told who that was with whom Thomas had been speaking. Then Thomas, himself weeping ... revealed that God in His mercy had sent the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul to teach him.... But he added: 'In God's name, I command you never to disclose this as long as I live.'
Asked for his authority for all he had said so far, the witness said that he had seen and known Thomas; they had been together at Naples at various times. He had also spoken with many religious and laymen who had personally known him, and in particular with brother Reginald, the socius, and with Lord Bartholomew of Capua.
LX. Asked concerning miracles worked by brother Thomas, in life or after death, the witness gave the following as an example of those commonly remembered among the Friar Preachers. Once, at Paris, Thomas, on rising in the morning, found that one of his teeth had grown in a way that hindered him in his speech. He had to conclude a public disputation that morning; so there was nothing for it, he thought, but to set himself to prayer. So he went and prayed, and after a while the tooth fell into his hand. He showed it to Reginald; and afterwards he used to carry it about as a reminder of God's goodness to him.
This story, the witness said, he had from Lord Thomas of San Severino, count of Marsico, who was a nephew of brother Thomas, and also from brother Tolomeo, the bishop of Torcello, who is now in the Curia with the cardinal-bishop of Sabina, and who was once a student under brother Thomas, and has written much about his holiness. The witness had this and other stories from brother Tolomeo when they met at the Roman Curia in the previous August. The count's report he thinks he had in November I3I6 .
He added that brother Tolomeo told him that once when Reginald, Thomas's socius, was ill with recurrent fever, brother Thomas took some relics of St. Agnes, which he wore hanging from his neck, and placed them on Reginald's chest, praying meanwhile to St. Agnes; and at once Reginald was cured. The witness heard this also at the Roman Curia, and at the same time as the previous story.
Again, he said that it was commonly stated by old friars of his Order - and he heard the same from the said lord count - that when brother Thomas was to become a Master in Theology, an old friar appeared to him as he was praying, to assure him that he would certainly receive the degree and that for the inaugural lecture he must take as his text, 'Rigans montes de superioribus suis, de fructu operum tuorum satiabitur terra.' The said lord count got this from the lips of Thomas himself, as he told the witness.
LXI. Again, the witness said that, returning from the Curia in late December of the previous year, he passed through Anagni, where he met brother Robert of Sezze, a well-known Dominican theologian and preacher. This Robert told the witness what his uncle (a certain brother Stephen, a worthy religious) had told him concerning Thomas's imprisonment in the castle of Montesangiovanni, when his brothers abducted him from the Order and tried, unsuccessfully, to make him discard his religious habit and, with it, all his good intentions; and of how his brothers sent a pretty girl to his room to allure him to sin; and of how Thomas, seeing her and feeling the first effect of her presence in himself, snatched a log from the fire and indignantly drove her out, and then, with the tip of the log, marked a cross on the wall in a corner of the room; and then prayed long and with tears to God that no carnal impulse might ever corrupt his mind or body. And so praying, Thomas fell asleep; and in sleep he saw two angels come to him.... And they bound his loins, saying: 'In the name of God we bind you with a chastity that will resist every temptation.' And he cried out with the pain of that binding, and so woke up; but to no one would he disclose the cause of that cry; until later he revealed it, with many other things, to his socius for the love he bore him.
LXII. Next, the witness gave an account of what he had been told by the Lady Catherine, a niece of brother Thomas and mother of Lord Roger of Morra, while staying at Marsico with the count of that place. He had gone there in the course of his enquiry about the miracles which God had worked through Thomas, undertaken at the order of the provincial of Sicily - the information, once collected, having then to be submitted to the pope. Lady Catherine, an old and devout lady, told the witness - in the presence of a judge and a notary and sworn witnesses - that she had heard from Thomas's mother, Lady Theodora, how one day a hermit came to the castle of Roccasecca and said to her: 'Rejoice, my lady, for the child you bear is a son whom you will call Thomas; and you and your husband will have a mind to make him a monk of Monte Cassino, but God has disposed otherwise, for he shall be a Preaching Friar, with no equal in his day for learning and sanctity.' And in fact (Lady Catherine went on) the boy was brought up at Monte Cassino, and then went to Naples, where he joined the Dominicans. And, his mother wishing to see him, he was pursued by his brothers to the priory of Santa Sabina at Rome; and later captured by them (who were serving under the Emperor Frederick) and sent back to his mother, still wearing the religious habit. And he was kept a prisoner until his brothers returned, meanwhile resisting every attempt to deprive him of the habit. And in prison he studied much and taught his sisters. And at last his parents and brothers, overcome by his constancy, gave him back to the Order; whereupon he was sent to study at Cologne.
Asked who received this testimony, the witness said it was made before the count of Marsico and his wife, the Countess Suana, and many of their household whose names he does not remember. Asked when this took place, he said 'last year' - in February, he thinks, but he cannot recall the day.
LXIII. Again the witness said that while waiting at Fossanova for the bishop of Viterbo - whom the Pope had appointed one of the committee to enquire into the miracles of brother Thomas - on the day before the bishop's arrival a monk of that monastery, Dom Peter of Fondi (who was himself required as a witness in the case), said to the witness: 'Brother William, I can't go to Naples, the gout in my feet is too bad; but I am praying to our saint; perhaps he will help me.' But as he seemed to get no better, the witness also prayed for him with tears. And when the witness came again to the cloister where the sufferer was seated, he found the latter quite cured and walking about. And the next day he could ride off with the others to Naples. Asked when this happened, the witness said, 'on I7 July'. Asked who was present, the witness said the monk had been alone with his pain and his complaints when the words reported were spoken; but everyone knew of the sickness and also of the cure; though whether the others paid any attention to either, he could not say.
Again, during his stay at the monastery, said the witness, a woman came called Stefania de Rocca, from the castle of Sonnino, who was all swollen with dropsy. She came to the gate and begged for some relic of brother Thomas for whom she had conceived a devotion and through whose merits she believed she might be cured.... The witness went out to her with a number of the monks and some relies of Thomas; and when they had all prayed together there, he touched her breast with the relies. And on her way home she found herself cured of her disease; and sent her son back to inform the witness and the monks. And many people since have told the witness that she was perfectly cured from that day on. This happened, he said, on 12 June of this year.
LXIV. Again, on the next day of the same month and year, while the witness was in the monastery guest-house, a poor woman came from Carpeneto, called Mary de Nicolao; who declared before many there that she had been a paralytic, and while in this state she used to come and glean in the monastery fields, so far as she could, all trembling as she was. And the lay- brothers advised her to make a vow to brother Thomas - he would cure her. So she vowed to bring a lighted candle to his grave; and at once she was cured. The witness did not know the names of the lay-brothers concerned. Then there was Nicholas de Leone of Sonnino who was seized with such a pain in the hip, while working in a field alone, that he thought he would never get back to his house. But remembering the many miracles worked by God at the tomb of brother Thomas,... he vowed there and then to visit the tomb, barefoot and with a stone hanging from his neck; and at once he was quite cured; and the next day came and told the witness of this. Asked who else was present at the miracle, the witness said 'nobody - the man was alone in the field'. But Richard of Fondi, the sacristan, saw Nicholas come to fulfil his vow, with the stone hanging from his neck. This happened on 16 July of this year.
LXV. Again, the witness described the case of Nicholas Massimo of Priverno. This man had been struck on the right arm so violently that the bone was broken; and though the wound had healed, the bone remained broken, and Nicholas could not use his arm. But he allowed himself to be persuaded to make a vow to brother Thomas to pardon all his enemies and to bring a waxen arm to the saint's tomb. And having carried out this promise, he went to sleep; and on waking up, he knew that he was cured and began to bend his arm and work with it.... And the witness, wishing to see the matter for himself, sent for Nicholas; who came to the tomb and, baring his arm, showed it to the witness who touched it with his hand and was able (he thought) to feel the break in the bone. This happened, he said, in March of this year; he could not remember the day. Asked who else was present, he said that when Nicholas made the vow only his wife was present.
Again, there was Peter Balie of Priverno, whose sight gradually weakened for the space of ten years, until he was quite blind. He got himself led to the tomb; and, praying there and making a vow, he rose up with his sight fully restored. Asked when this happened, the witness said it was in the same year that Thomas died, but the month and the day he did not know. Nor did anyone remember who was present on the occasion; Peter himself told the witness about it, when they chanced to meet at the gate of Priverno.
Finally, the witness said that when he arrived at Fossanova he went to the sacristy and asked Richard the sacristan to show him the chest containing some of brother Thomas's bones. ... And when he opened the chest a strong scent came out of it, unlike any odour in nature. On his asking the sacristan about this the latter swore by the altar that he had not put anything on the bones to make them smell. They always had that scent. And the witness added that one experiences more or less of the scent according to the degree of one's devotion. He saw these relics first in the octave of Easter this year, and afterwards many times until he left the monastery on 15 July.
Anthony of Brescia
LXVI. On the same day, at the same place, brother Anthony of Brescia, a Dominican priest and student in the priory at Naples, was called as witness and took the oath.... He said that he had heard from Nicholas of Marsillac - a Friar Preacher and formerly chaplain and counsellor to the king of Cyprus, and before that a student under brother Thomas at Paris (where he lived in the same house with Thomas for a long time) - that brother Thomas was a holy and upright man, and in particular a lover of poverty; for example, he wrote the Summa contraGentiles on small bits of scribbling paper, since he had no other writing material.
Asked about miracles ... the witness said that he had often heard from brother Albert of Brescia, a lector at Brescia and a saintly man, that Thomas's holiness had been shown by miracles. This Albert was an ardent Thomist and would often say, in the course of his lectures, 'Dear brothers, I know that this man is a great saint in heaven.' So, having heard this many times, the witness and another student one day begged Albert to tell them why he was so sure of what he asserted. Brother Albert, being adjured in the name of God to explain his words, at last spoke as follows:
My dear sons, I am, as you know, an enthusiast for Thomas of Aquino's doctrine. I have always marvelled at his having attained to such wisdom and holiness so quickly; and I used often to pray to our Lady and Saint Augustine that his actual glory might be revealed to me. Now once as I knelt at our Lady's altar and prayed more fervently than usual, and continued praying, there appeared to me - awake as I was and praying - two venerable and radiant figures. One was wearing a mitre; the other, who wore the Dominican habit, had on his head a golden and jewelled crown and around his neck two necklaces, one of gold and the other silver, and on his breast a great jewel that lit up the church; his cloak too was woven with gems, but his tunic and hood were white as snow.
Amazed by this sight, Albert fell at the feet of those figures, begging to be told their names. Then the mitred figure said to him:
Brother Albert, why this astonishment? Your prayer has been heard. I am Augustine, Doctor of the Church; I am sent to declare to you the doctrine and glory of Thomas of Aquino, here at my side. For he is my son indeed, who faithfully followed the apostolic teaching and my own, and so illuminated the Church. To this these jewels bear witness, and particularly the gem on his breast which signifies the purity of his intentions as defender and declarer of the Faith. The other gems signify his many books and writings. He is my equal in glory, except that in the splendour of virginity he is greater than I.
The witness and the other student whom brother Albert told of this were forbidden by him to reveal it to anyone, unless a Canonisation Enquiry should be undertaken concerning Thomas's miracles. Asked who were present when Albert made this statement, the witness said there was no one but himself and his companion, a brother Giannino of Brescia now dead. The statement was made nine years ago, in January (he could not recall the day), and in brother Albert's cell.
LXVII. The witness also said that he had heard from the same brother Albert that, when Thomas died, the lord Albert the German, being then at table in the refectory (it was during Lent) suddenly began to weep; and, on the prior asking him the reason, Albert said to the prior and all the community: 'I have sad news for you; brother Thomas of Aquino, my child in Christ and a light of the Church, is dead. This God has revealed to me.' The prior took note of the time, and later verified that it indeed coincided with the time of Thomas's death .
The witness added the following statement made to him by brother Nicholas of Marsillac, counsellor and chaplain to the king of Cyprus, a learned and holy man who had been a pupil of Thomas in Paris. This Nicholas said: 'Brother Anthony, I was with brother Thomas at Paris, and I declare before God that I have never known such a lover of purity and poverty. For instance, he wrote the Contra Gentiles on scraps of paper, though he certainly could have had good writing paper if he had asked for it; but it was like him to pay no heed to trifles.' Asked when these words were said to him, the witness answered that it was thirteen years ago, in September, but he could not recall the day. Asked who else was present, he said that brother Peter of Mantua was there, and several others whose names he has forgotten. Asked about the place, he said it was in the Dominican school at Nicosia, on the island of Cyprus.
John di Blasio
LXX. On Monday, 6 August, in the same place, the lord John di Blasio, a judge of Naples in the service of Her Majesty Queen Mary of Sicily, was called as witness and took the oath. ... He said that he had known brother Thomas for five years and more, meeting him in the refectory and in his cell; besides having heard him preach from time to time over a period often years, including the whole of one Lent when he preached on the text Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. He preached with his eyes shut and his mind in heaven.
And one day, while visiting Thomas in his cell, the latter went out on to an open terrace. Then the witness saw a devil, in the form of a black man clothed in black; and Thomas also saw it, and rushed at it with his fist raised and struck it, crying, 'Why do you come to tempt me?' Whereupon the devil vanished.... Asked how he knew it was a devil, the witness said that on another occasion he had seen it in a crystal, when an exorcism was being performed to recover a book which had been stolen from a student; and it was the same devil which he saw appear to Thomas. Asked about the time of day, he said it was about nine in the morning. Apart from himself and Thomas and the devil, no one else was present. This happened at Naples, on a sort of terrace by Thomas's cell.
Bartholomew of Capua
LXXVI. On Wednesday, 8 August, his excellency Lord Bartholomew of Capua, Chancellor and Protonotary of the kingdom of Sicily, was cited as witness and took the prescribed oath. Asked what he knew - and how he knew it - of the life and miracles of brother Thomas of Aquino of revered memory ... the witness described the sources of his knowledge as follows.
When as a mere lad he came to the University of Naples, he began often to visit the Dominicans in that city; and so became acquainted with brother John of Caiazzo, a man of some eminence and a good scholar, who had known brother Thomas very well and been his pupil both at Paris and in the kingdom of Sicily. In those days there were also other Friar Preachers in Naples of much distinction and learning and religious dignity, such men as Eufranone of Porta, James of Manzano, Troiano, Matthew of Castellammare, Hugh of Maddaleno, and John of San Giuliano. This last-named friar, a very old man of great virtue and humility, was commonly supposed to have received brother Thomas into the Order.
From John of Caiazzo and John of San Giuliano, as well as from common report, the witness learned that the father of brother Thomas, who was a powerful nobleman, sent his son as a child to Monte Cassino with a view to his eventually becoming abbot of that monastery. Well, Thomas grew up an example to all, and then, at the University of Naples, where he took the Arts course, he surpassed all his companions in study. And, his judgement maturing very quickly, he entered the Order of Preachers while still a boy in years. The Friars, fearing Thomas's father, took measures to get the youth out of the kingdom and safely on the road to one of their centres of study; but his father's influence caused him to be captured and imprisoned in one of the family castles, where he was kept closely guarded for more than a year. His father tried to make him put on the habit of a monk or a layman's dress, but in vain . Meanwhile Thomas had begged and obtained from his brothers, when his imprisonment began, a Bible and a breviary. The Bible he then studied so deeply that he understood most of it by the time of his release. This happened when his father at last understood that nothing could shake the lad's constancy; so he yielded to the prayers of his wife and set his son free . And that constancy and purity of young Thomas in prison, brother John of San Giuliano never tired of praising, according to the witness.
LXXVII. Again, the witness declared that it was commonly believed by those who had known Thomas, and especially by the Dominicans already named (men of considerable authority), that the Holy Spirit dwelt in him. For the expression on his face was always so lively, sweet, and gentle; he was so entirely detached from the world; always studying, lecturing, or writing for the good of his fellow Christians. From brother John of Caiazzo we know that Thomas was always the first to rise in the night for prayer; and when he heard the others coming to pray, he would at once retire to his cell. The witness himself often saw Thomas - and he saw him as often as possible - and he seemed always recollected and untrammelled by this world. Common report said he was a virgin clean and pure.... No one ever heard him say an idle word. In scholastic disputations - so often the occasion for intemperate flights of language - Thomas was always gentle and humble, never windy-worded or pretentious. Even at meal-times his recollection continued; dishes would be placed before him and taken away without his noticing; and when the brethren tried to get him into the garden for recreation, he would draw back swiftly and retire to his cell alone with his thoughts.
Again, the witness heard from the above religious, or some of them, and from others, and in particular from Nicholas Fricia who used to attend brother Thomas's lectures and hear Mass daily at the Dominican church - that very early in the morning Thomas would say his Mass in the chapel of St. Nicholas, after which ... he heard another Mass, and then, taking off his vestments, at once began his teaching. This done, he would set himself to write or dictate to his secretaries until the time for dinner. After dinner he went to his cell and attended to spiritual things until the siesta; after which he resumed his writing. And so the whole of his life was directed towards God. It was the common view ... that he had wasted scarcely a moment of his time.
The witness, who was several years at Naples when Thomas was there, and was a frequent visitor at San Domenico, never remembers having seen Thomas outside the cloister, except once in the afternoon and another time at the royal court at Capua, whither he had gone (as the witness was told) to deal with some matter affecting the well-being of his nephew the count of Fondi. Again, the witness said he had been told by several Friar Preachers, whose word could be relied on, that at Paris once when Thomas was conducting a disputation at which the Franciscan John Pecham (later archbishop of Canterbury) was present, the latter attacked Thomas in a pompous and over-bearing way, whereas Thomas remained unalterably humble, gentle, and courteous. Such was always his way in disputations, however sharply and shrewdly contested they might be.
LXXVIII. The witness further reported his having heard from one who lived on intimate terms with Thomas (the same John of Caiazzo) that it was his constant prayer to God to keep him from all ambition and always a simple friar; and also that he might be shown what had become of the soul of his brother Reginald whom the Emperor Frederick - unjustly as Thomas believed - had put to death. These prayers were answered: it was shown him that his status would not be altered nor his soul defiled by worldly pride, and that his brother's name was in the Book of Life.
While on the way to the Council of Lyons, in obedience to Pope Gregory X ... and going down from Teano to Borgonuovo, Thomas chanced to bang his head against a tree that had fallen across the road, and was half stunned and hardly able to stand. Reginald of Priverno, his companion, ran up at once and asked him whether he was injured, and Thomas answered 'not much'. (There were present also William, then dean and later bishop of Teano, and Roffredo, William's nephew who was later dean.) Then Reginald thought he would provide (as he hoped) a little relaxation; so he said to Thomas: 'Master, you are going to the Council where much good will be done for the whole Church and for our Order and for the Kingdom of Sicily.' And Thomas replied, 'Please God, that will be so.' Then Reginald took another step, saying: 'And you and brother Bonaventure will be made cardinals--an honour for the two Orders!' To which Thomas answered, 'I can serve the Order best as I am.' But Reginald insisted: 'Father, I am not thinking of your advantage but of the common good .' But Thomas cut him short: 'Reginald,' he said, 'you may be quite sure that I shall go on exactly as I am.' All this was repeated to the witness by his friend Roffredo, who was there and heard everything, as did the bishop of Teano.
Once Thomas was returning to Paris from St. Denis with a number of brethren, and when the city came into view they sat down to rest a while. And one of the company, turning to Thomas, said: 'Father, what a fine city Paris is!' 'Very fine,' answered Thomas. 'I wish it were all yours,' said the other; to which Thomas replied, 'Why, what would I do with it?' 'You would sell it to the king of France, and with the money you would build houses for Friar Preachers.' 'Well,' said Thomas, 'I would rather have Chrysostom on Matthew.' This story, the witness said, he had from - among others - brother Nicholas Malasorte of Naples, who had been an adviser to the French king and a particular friend and pupil of his own; he told it when he came on a mission from the same king of France to King Charles II of noble memory ; saying that it was well known in Paris.
LXXIX. The witness went on to recall that while brother Thomas was saying his Mass one morning, in the chapel of St. Nicholas at Naples, something happened which profoundly affected and altered him. After Mass he refused to write or dictate; indeed he put away his writing materials. He was in the third part of the Summa, at the questions on Penance. And brother Reginald, seeing that he was not writing, said to him: 'Father, are you going to give up this great work, undertaken for the glory of God and to enlighten the world?' But Thomas replied: 'Reginald, I cannot go on.' Then Reginald, who began to fear that much study might have affected his master's brain, urged and insisted that he should continue his writing; but Thomas only answered in the same way: 'Reginald, I cannot - because all that I have written seems to me so much straw.' Then Reginald, astonished that ... brother Thomas should go to see his sister, the countess of San Severino, whom he loved in all charity; and hastening there with great difficulty, when he arrived and the countess came out to meet him, he could scarcely speak. The countess, very much alarmed, said to Reginald: 'What has happened to brother Thomas? He seems quite dazed and hardly spoke to me!' And Reginald answered: 'He has been like this since about the feast of St. Nicholas - since when he has written nothing at all.' Then again brother Reginald began to beseech Thomas to tell him why he refused to write and why he was so stupefied; and after much of this urgent questioning and insisting, Thomas at last said to Reginald: 'Promise me, by the living God almighty and by your loyalty to our Order and by the love you bear to me, that you will never reveal, as long as I live, what I shall tell you.' Then he added: 'All that I have written seems to me like straw compared with what has now been revealed to me.'
So Thomas, leaving the countess very sad, returned to Naples; and then set out for the Council to which he had been summoned. And on the way, at the castle of Maenza in the Campagna, he fell ill of the sickness of which he was to die. And several years later brother Reginald, too, fell mortally ill; and when near to death he declared to brother John of Giudice (this old man, born at Anagni, was much respected in the Order for the integrity of his character) clearly and in detail what has been said above. And brother John in turn repeated it all to the witness, when the latter was staying as a guest at the Dominican priory at Anagni, a little while before Pope Boniface was captured; and the witness declared it all, as soon as he could, to brother William of Tocco and to other Friar Preachers, and later to Pope Benedict XI of blessed memory, who was in Rome at the time and heard it all with intense interest and great joy.
LXXX. The witness added that when Thomas began to feel seriously ill he asked to be carried from Maenza, where he then was, to the abbey of our Lady at Fossanova: which was done. And on entering the monastery, ill and weak, he clung with his hand to the doorpost, saying: 'Haec requies mea in saeculum saeculi, hic habitabo quoniam elegi eam.' ... And in the monastery he lay ill many days. And he desired to receive the body of our Saviour; and when It was brought to him, he greeted It on his knees with wonderful expressions of praise, reverence, and adoration. 'I receive Thee,' he said, 'the price of my soul's redemption, the food of my pilgrimage. For love of Thee I have studied and kept vigil and worked and prayed and taught. Never have I spoken against Thee, unless it was in ignorance. And I don't wish to insist on my opinions; but if I have said anything amiss, I leave it all to the correction of the Roman Church.' A little later he died and was buried near the high altar of the abbey church - a marshy spot because it is not far from the monastery garden where a stream runs (which they use to turn a wheel there), making the whole place damp, as the witness himself has carefully and frequently observed.
About eight months later there came a rumour that the Dominican Peter of Tarentaise had been made pope and that he wished the body of brother Thomas transferred to one of the greater churches of his Order. So the monks of Fossanova, fearing to lose the body, selected three of their number who dug it up one night and cut off the head, which they hid in a secret place in a corner of a chapel behind the choir. The witness knows the chapel well. The monks argued that if they had to lose the body, they might at least keep the head. And the witness heard from brother Peter of Montesangiovanni and from another monk (a Sicilian, he says, and at that time sub-prior) that the body was found entirely incorrupt, with all the hair still on the head. The only part missing was one hand, which the countess of San Severino had. There was also a dent near the tip of the nose as if a mouse had bitten it. The body had a good smell.
These facts have been commonly remembered and repeated at Fossanova for many years now. The witness has often heard them mentioned both there and elsewhere; for his devotion to this holy man has often caused him, when travelling to the Roman Curia on business from his lords the kings of Sicily, to turn off the straighter road through the Campagna and go down towards the coast and put up at the monastery of Fossanova .
LXXXI. He added that he had heard it stated publicly that one year when the town of Priverno - which lies one or two miles from the monastery - was afflicted by a dangerous epidemic, the sick used to come in crowds to the tomb of brother Thomas and be cured. It was also, he said, very commonly asserted that the monks kept quiet about many of the miracles worked by God through Thomas, because they feared to lose the custody of his body.
He said, too - what many Dominicans had told him - that Thomas's socius Reginald, lecturing after his master's death, had called God to witness that when Thomas met with intellectual difficulties he used to go to the altar and stay there a while weeping and sobbing, and then return to his cell and his writing.
He said, too, that the brethren had told him that one of Thomas's favourite recreations was to walk round the cloister alone with his head held high. The witness himself had often seen him walking thus round the cloister of San Domenico. Another point he mentioned was that when Thomas was told of the death of his nephews or other relatives, he made no sign or expression of grief, but cheerfully and calmly saw that Masses and prayers were said for them, and himself prayed for them....
LXXXII. Brother Hugh of Lucca who had been the Dominican Provincial in Tuscany and was a friend of the witness (they used to meet at Anagni first, and then at Lucca, when the witness was on his way to Provence) told the latter of the distress of brother Albert when he heard the news of Thomas's death. Albert had been Thomas's master; and he wept much when news came that his pupil was dead, and afterwards whenever he was reminded of him, calling him the flower and beauty of this world. Indeed the brethren were troubled by so much sorrow in Albert and thought his many tears a symptom of senile weakness. And when, later, it was rumoured that Thomas's writings were being attacked at Paris, Albert said he desired to go there to defend them. This did not please the brethren; Albert was an old man, the journey would be a long one; and especially they feared that, were Albert to go to Paris now, his authority and reputation there would suffer, since he was now in decline and his memory and general intelligence were not what they had been. So for a while they managed to dissuade him. But finally Albert - who was also an archbishop or bishop - decided that he would go, come what might of it; such noble writings must be defended! So he went to Paris, with brother Hugh (so the latter told the witness) as his socius. And after their arrival, there was a general assembly of masters and students at the Friar Preachers' school, and Albert spoke from the chair on the text: 'Quae laus vive, si laudatur a mortuis?'; making this mean that it was Thomas who was alive and the others who were dead, and proceeding to praise and glorify Thomas in the highest terms. He was ready, he said, to defend the shining truth and holiness of Thomas's writings before the most competent critics.
Then brother Albert ... returned to Cologne, still accompanied by brother Hugh. And once returned, he caused all Thomas's writings to be read out to him in a definite order; after which, at a solemn assembly convened for the purpose, he pronounced a great panegyric of Thomas, ending with an assertion that the latter's work had put an end to everyoneelse's, and henceforth to the end of the world all other men's labour would be to no purpose. And, as brother Hugh told the witness, Albert could never hear Thomas named without shedding tears.
LXXXIII. Again, the witness referred to some words of brother James of Viterbo of holy memory, doctor of sacred scripture and archbishop of Naples, who had been both a father and friend to him, and who had once remarked to him that, in all sincerity and in the Holy Ghost, he believed that our Saviour and Master, for the enlightenment of the world and the Catholic Church, had sent out first the Apostle Paul, and then Augustine, and finally, in our own day, brother Thomas - who himself would have no successor until the end of time. And the same brother James also repeated to the witness a tribute spoken by Giles of Rome, the Augustinian theologian; who used often to say to him at Paris, in the course of conversation: 'James, if the Dominicans desired to keep a monopoly of knowledge and leave the rest of us in darkness, all they need to do would be to refuse to let us see the writings of brother Thomas.'
From the same brother James the witness then quoted the following observation on the writings of Thomas: that we find in them a quality of the normal and universal - and this not only in the truth which they convey to the mind, but also in their clarity of expression, and in the way they elucidate difficulties, and in their pedagogical method which leads the reader so rapidly to an all-round understanding of the matter in hand. Always they show the same breadth and normality; never anything peculiar or eccentric. And brother James added that, for his part, he never wished to read any other man's writings after tasting the sweetness of brother Thomas's; which he firmly believed (as he very often told the witness) were the product of spiritual meditation inspired by the Holy Ghost, rather than of mere human intelligence. Hence when he first came to Naples and was able to visit San Domenico, he had himself taken to the cell which had been Thomas's and, being shown where the master's desk had stood, he immediately knelt down in the presence of the brethren, saying: 'I have come to worship at the place where his feet have stood.'
With regard to the supernatural inspiration of Thomas's writings, the witness himself is convinced (so far as he can judge) that the opinion given above is true; and this for several reasons:
In the first place, it does not seem possible for a man using merely human powers to have written so many great works (see the list below) in so short a time; considering that Thomas died (according to the usual view) in his forty-eighth year and was always scrupulous in his recitation of the divine office and in reading and prayer. Secondly, because while many of the writings of great saints and doctors have been attacked and demolished after their death, those of Thomas, though certainly attacked since his death by many critics, including some eminent ones, have, in fact, notwithstanding such attempts to discredit them, lost none of their authority with the passage of time; on the contrary, their influence has continued to spread more and more, even reaching (so the witness has been told) as far as barbarous nations. And everywhere they are winning enthusiastic adherents. Thirdly, these writings can be read with ease and profit by everyone, according to his mental capacity. Hence we find even laymen and people of modest intelligence desiring to possess copies of them.
LXXXIV. The witness went on to say that throughout the kingdom, and especially among the nobility and with men of virtue and education, the virtues, doctrine, and holiness of brother Thomas enjoyed a very great reputation; and in general it might be said that the majority of good and intelligent people in the kingdom is persuaded that he was a man chosen by God, a splendid teacher, a virgin pure and intact, a humble, devout and entirely unworldly religious.
He added that having for some years been in the habit of reading Thomas's works, he happened to remember one day that somewhere in one of them he had read that what was customary among Christian people should be taken as binding in law. But when he looked for this text he could not find it, though he searched diligently for several days whenever he had leisure to do so. Finally he knelt down and asked Thomas himself to show him where it was; then he opened the Secunda secundae, and there it was under his eyes - he did not have to turn a page - in the section on fasting. And so it was, he had found, in all his needs; brother Thomas never failed to help him, according to the degree of his faith.
LXXXV. The witness then made the following list of work, composed by Thomas. [Omitted for brevity.]
LXXXVI. The witness went on to say that when he was a guest of the Friar Preachers at Anagni, the prior, Nicholas of Sezze, told him of the Christmas that brother Thomas kept with Lord Richard of worthy memory, cardinal deacon of Sant' Angelo, at Molara. This cardinal was very fond of Thomas and knew him well. Now when Thomas arrived at Molara, as the cardinal's guest for that Christmas, he found two Roman Jews there, also invited for the feast - a father and his son, rich men and both learned in the Hebrew tongue. And the cardinal said to Thomas, in the presence of the Jews: 'Brother Thomas, say some of your good and holy words to these hardened Jews'; and Thomas replied that he would gladly say what he could, if they cared to listen.
Thomas and the two Jews then withdrew to a chapel in the castle, where they remained a long time arguing and discussing; and Thomas answered all their questions. Finally, when the Jews seemed to be quite satisfied with his explanations, Thomas said: 'Go and think over these points, and tomorrow let us meet here again, and you will tell me frankly if you still have any doubts. Well, the next day - which was Christmas Eve - the Jews and Thomas met again in the same place, and Thomas spoke to them for a while. And then the voices of all three were heard singing together, 'Te Deum laudamus'...; on hearing which the cardinal, who had the gout and could not walk, got himself carried to the chapel with his chaplains and servants; and all of them, Thomas, the Jews, the cardinal, and his company, continued together singing the 'Te Deum' to the end. Then the Jews were baptised. And to celebrate the occasion the cardinal sent invitations to Rome, to many noble friends of his, that they should come to Molara in festal array to rejoice together over this sudden conversion. The Jews, for their part, told the cardinal that as soon as they had entered the chapel with Thomas, and heard him begin to speak, they felt entirely changed, so that only with difficulty could they find any objections to his arguments.
LXXXVII. On Thursday, 9 August, at the same place, John Coppa, a notary of Naples, was called as witness and took the oath.... He said that brother Thomas was an entirely good and holy man. Asked how he knew this, he answered that he had seen Thomas and lived with him continuously at the Dominican priory at Naples for about one year; and that he was commonly regarded as a saint. Through the Lent of that year the witness saw and heard him preach on the Lord's Prayer, taking each time a part of the prayer as his text. There was such a devotion to him at Naples that almost the whole city came to every sermon.
Asked about miracles, the witness said he could speak of one. For one day he and his brother - a Friar Preacher called Bonfiglio - visited brother Thomas when he was lying ill in his cell; and during the visit the witness saw a very bright star come in through the window and hang over Thomas's bed. It stayed there a short time and then vanished. Asked how he knew this, the witness said he was in the cell and saw the star. Asked when this happened, he said it was in the same year that Thomas died, about forty-five years ago, he thinks. Asked who was present, he said brother Bonfiglio was there and that he saw the star too.... Asked whether this Bonfiglio were still alive, he said he was not. Asked about the size of the star, he said it measured about a foot and a half across. ... It was like the stars in the sky, with rays and a great brilliance; and it hung over the bed for as long as one might say a 'Hail Mary' slowly. It was silvery-white in colour.
John of Gaeta
LXXXVIII. On the same day, at the same place, John Zeccadenario of Gaeta, a doctor of canon law, was called as witness and took the oath. ... He said that Thomas had been a man of very pure and holy life, chaste, upright, contemplative, and abstemious. Asked how he knew, the witness said that he had seen and known Thomas and heard him preach several times at San Domenico in Naples; and what he has said about Thomas was just the common opinion on him. ... Asked when all this was, he said, 'forty-five years or more'. He added that many old men had told him of miracles which God had worked and continued to work through the merits of brother Thomas. He knew nothing else in particular.
John of Boiano
LXXXIX. On Saturday, 11 August, John of Boiano, an old Friar Preacher and a priest, was called as witness and took the oath. ... Asked about the life of brother Thomas, he said that he was a completely spiritual man; each day he said his Mass, and then heard another, or sometimes two, and then was continuously occupied with reading, writing, praying, or preaching. He spent little time eating or sleeping. He was humble, temperate, and chaste. Asked how he knew all this, the witness said he had seen and known Thomas at San Domenico in Naples, and so was able to judge for himself (besides being told by older members of the Order) that such was the tenor of Thomas's life to the end.
Asked about miracles,... the witness said that fifteen years after the death of brother Thomas he went, as prior of Durazzo, to the Provincial Chapter of the Friar Preachers at Anagni, where he was shown a thumb taken from one of Thomas's hands. This thumb had been given by Reginald of Priverno, the usual socius of brother Thomas, to the lord brother Hugh, the bishop of Ostia. The hand itself was in the possession of the lady countess, Thomas's sister. The thumb (said the witness) was whole and healthy; in fact, it seemed fresh, with the skin, nail, flesh, bones, and colour, like the thumb of a living man .
XC. On the same day, in the same place, Lord Peter Caracciolo of Naples was called as witness and took the prescribed oath. Asked about the life and ways of brother Thomas, the witness answered that he knew no more than what was commonly said, that Thomas was a holy man.
Asked about miracles ... he answered that once when he was staying with Lord Thomas Dentiti at Naples, the latter's grandmother, Lady Constance Fanisari, and some other ladies fell to talking about the ways of various religious; and Lady Constance mentioned brother Thomas; and praising his holiness, she described how she had once seen his mother holding him - then but a child - in her arms. The little boy, she said, was clothed in the usual way, and his mother started to take off his clothes in order to wash him. And just then the child stretched out his hand and picked up a piece of paper from the floor, and clutched it tightly. And when his mother tried to take it away he cried, but when she let him keep it he was quiet. And wishing to see what was written on the paper, his mother found these words, 'Ave Maria, gratia plena', etc. But she gave him his bath still clutching the paper; there was no other way to keep him quiet. Asked who were present when Lady Constance told this story, the witness said that he was there himself, and several other ladies whose names he cannot remember. It was about eight years ago, at the time when Pope Clement V was holding the Council of Vienne.
XCII. On Monday, 13 August, at the same place, brother Peter Capotto of Benevento, a Friar Preacher, was called as witness and took the oath.... He said he had heard from many senior members of the Order, who had known brother Thomas and lived continuously with him, that he was a humble, chaste, devout man and very contemplative; that he said Mass each day and then heard another; that he confessed every morning before Mass; that he was most temperate, never minding what he ate or even noticing it, so detached and absorbed he was in contemplation; and that so he continued to the end.
Asked from whom and where he had heard these things, the witness said he had them from many of the older friars and in diverse Provinces of the Order - to wit, at Naples, where he had been a student for ten years, at Florence, where he spent two years, at Bologna, where he was for a time, at Montpellier, where he studied for three years, and at Paris, where he spent two years. Asked for the names of those older friars, he mentioned Raymund Severi, then the sub-prior at Montpellier, who had been several years a student under Thomas at Paris and used to hear his confession each morning before Mass. Raymund told the witness that Thomas never confessed to having had a carnal thought. The witness added that while he was a student at Paris it was the custom in the priory there to read aloud, at fixed times, paragraphs from a book called Vitae Fratrum. And from that reading he learned, among other things, that when Thomas was told to prepare himself to receive the degree of Master in Theology, he wondered what text he should take for his inaugural address; and that while he was in his cell wondering, a venerable figure, white-haired and in the Dominican habit, appeared to him and said: 'Why are you perplexed? Take this: Rigans montes de superioribus suis, de fructu operum tuorum satiabitur terra.' And Thomas agreed that this was a good text.... The witness added that the Dominicans at Paris commonly said that the venerable figure was St. Dominic.
Thomas of Aversa
XCV. On the same day, in the same place, brother Thomas of Aversa ... a Friar Preacher, was called as witness and took the oath.... He said that, being a young man, he only knows what is generally said in the Order, and also by the faithful generally, to the effect that brother Thomas was a man of holy life. Asked whether he knew of any miracles, he said that, going once to Salerno with brother William of Tocco, he wanted to see the hand of brother Thomas which the count of San Severino had given to the Dominicans of that city. So he asked the sacristan to show it, but when he saw it and did reverence to it, he was surprised and disappointed because he smelled none of the fragrance that he had supposed it gave off. But he did reverence again, and then he smelled the fragrance distinctly.... And he kissed the hand. Asked to describe the smell, he said he could not, exactly, but that it was very sweet and pleasant. Asked when this happened, he said 'more than eighteen months ago, during Advent'. Asked who was present, he said there was nobody there except brother John of Aversa, a lay-brother and at that time sacristan...