Villanova (Sp Villanueva, Fr Villeneuve), Thomas of

Villanova (Sp. Villanueva, Fr. Villeneuve), Thomas Of a Romish saint and author, was born at Fuenllana, in the diocese of Leon, in 1487 (?), but his family belonged to Villanova. He inherited a charitable disposition from his parents, and was trained to such a degree of piety that he received the title of "the Child of Mary." His education was obtained in the University of Alcala. After teaching philosophy at Alcala and Salamanca, he renounced the world, and in 1517 entered the Order of Augustinian Eremites, devoting himself, after his consecration, wholly to preaching and the care of souls. His talent, zeal, and austerity speedily gave him rank among his fellows, and raised him to the position of superior over Salamanca, Burgos, and Valladolid; and beyond that to the office of provincial over Andalusia and Castile. He was credited with the possession of prophetic powers, and received the name of the "Apostle of Spain." The emperor Charles V chose him for his confessor, and offered him the archbishopric of Granada, and after Thomas had declined that honor the emperor inducted him into the archbishopric of Valencia, in 1544. Villanova's attention was chiefly given to preaching and devotional exercises in this as in his former stations. He made a visitation of his diocese, held a synod in the interests of reform, made provision for schools and hospitals, and devoted most of his income to charitable uses. Unable, by reason of impaired health, to attend the Council of Trent, his prayer yet rescued the Spanish bishops from a perilous situation during their voyage thither, and it also refilled a barn, which had been emptied of its stores to feed the poor. He died Nov. 8, 1555, and was buried in the Augustine church at Valencia. At the time of his burial a boy fell from a house, but is reported to have been preserved from injury by the intercession of the departed one, and participated in the burial services. Such miracles led Paul V to beatify, and Alexander VII to canonize (1668), Villanova. His day was fixed at Sept. 18. Villanova's literary remains consist of sermons and a Commentary on Canticles (Alcala, 1581; Brescia, 1613; Cologne, 1614; Augsburg, 1757, and often). Quevedo published Villanova's Life, and Maimburg published the work in a French translation (Paris, 1666). See Acta SS., September (Antv. 1755), 5, 799-892; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, s.v.; Jameson, Legends of the Monastic Orders, p. 199 sq. SEE VILLENEUVE, HOSPITAL SISTERS OF.

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