Thomas of Villanova vs. Thomas Aquinas

Our wild week of kitschy saintly action comes to a conclusion today. One final spot in the Faithful Four remains up for grabs and, while we won't know for 24 hours who has nabbed the last spot, we do know this: his name will be Thomas. Today, Thomas of Villanova faces Thomas Aquinas. To get here, Thomas of Villanova defeated Aloysius Gonzaga and Hilary of Poitiers, while Thomas Aquinas dispatched Jerome (barely!) and Oscar.

Yesterday, Madeleine Sophie Barat easily slid past Origen 72% to 28% to join Teresa of Avila and José Hernández in the Faithful Four.

Enjoy the weekend of palms and we'll see you first thing Monday morning as Teresa of Avila faces Madeleine Barat. Vote now!

Thomas of Villanova

St. Thomas of Villanova was known for his many gifts offered in love that changed people’s lives. From his deep generosity to his preaching, he gave the church and the world an example of how church leadership can be gracious, generous, and aware of the needs of the world.

Thomas embodied humility. For him, it guided his thoughts, words, and deeds and was the soft place to land when he began to feel the temptation of glory and laud for himself. You can remind yourself of the virtue of humility by tossing this pillow on your bed, and each morning and each night, remember that it’s not all about you, but instead is all about God.

An early legend of Thomas is that as a youngster, he would wander about his village and give food, alms, and even his own clothing to those in need. While we advocate for adhering to local clothing guidelines, we do hope you enjoy your very own dancing baby, wearing a diaper and celebrating Jesus’ love by breaking into dance.

Thomas’s first call was not as a monastic and priest, but as a professor. He was a learned, popular, and beloved professor…but he was also known to be quite absent minded. Recall the absent-minded but lovable professors and teachers in your life by sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and this Disney classic.

Thomas rarely spent any money on himself. Contemporaries noted that he reused and recycled almost everything, even mending his original monastic robes throughout his life. In the spirit of St. Thomas, take this kit and use random bits of paper you were going to toss anyway, some scissors, and glue, and create a beautiful artwork of one of the many churches named in honor of St. Thomas of Villanova.

Thomas was known for his preaching. He moved kings to tears and preached the Gospel with verve and passion. You, too, can have your very own pulpit for a mere $23,000 to practice preaching. For additional fun, the pulpit comes with a set of St. Thomas’ sermons to get you started.

Of all the legacies of St. Thomas, perhaps his most well-known is the university that bears his name. Villanova was founded in the Augustinian legacy of St. Thomas, focusing on wisdom, love, and justice. From its founding, Villanova has followed St. Thomas’ example of living in a community dedicated to open discussion, a commitment to ethical values, and a dedication to social justice and human rights.

But let’s admit that the reason most of us know about Villanova is because of basketball. So to end this article, let’s all enjoy of image of Our Lord playing a pick-up game of hoops and give thanks for the run Villanova had in the NCAA tournament.

Laurie Brock


Thomas Aquinas

You might think that Thomas Aquinas, founder of Western philosophy, would be devoid of kitsch, being so renowned and respected.

You would be wrong.

Aside from the obvious (schools, colleges, books, ontology, philosophy, etc) Thomas also has a wonderful panoply of goodies for your perusal.

First off, do you wish to delight/horrify your Tridentine friends over coffee? I give you Thomas’ Tantum Ergo on a coffee mug!  (Helpfully printed with a monstrance). Because sometimes you need that caffeine jolt whilst pondering the mysteries of transubstantiation.

Or, do you want to convey to your collegiate friends that you submit to—not Andre the Giant, but only thomistic inquiry?  Hang an AQUINAS poster, in the style of the Shepherd Fairey OBEY poster.

Finally, does your child wander about aimlessly, looking for just the right friend?  Someone cuddly, yet with a pedantic air? BEHOLD: An Aquinas-shaped pillow!  (I pause here to note that there are a truly amazing number of Thomas Aquinas-shaped pillows available. Your humble blogger dares not contemplate the meaning of this).

Best yet, if your child does form a true friendship with Pillow-Thomas, you can buy a matching t-shirt for your kid!  They can be twins in medieval theology, and twins in excellent fashion!  (Probably also twins in therapy, because this is going to get some comments at school.)

Megan Castellan


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64 comments on “Thomas of Villanova vs. Thomas Aquinas”

  1. My daughter graduated from Villanova University before going on to do a Master’s and Ph.D at University of Surrey at Roehampton, England. How could I not honor her by voting for Thomas V!

  2. Again this week, I have been excluded from voting for 2 days!

    Can you fix the system so that everyone get to vote every day?

  3. I think back to my college days of having had an absent-minded professor type and that image did it for me as well!

  4. Did anyone check out the Villanova University store for kitsch? The school was named after Thomas of Villanova, so at least a shirt with the name of the university would apply. There are other things available in the store as well.

  5. This was hard, so I went back to the Saintly Scorecard. This line decided me for Thomas Aquinas: “ …there is no contradiction between the natural world we can observe through reason and the God-breathed world we know through faith”. What’s not to love about that 🙂

  6. It’s a toss up today. I’m voting for St Thomas Aquinas because our Lent Christian Forum has been on his 7 Deadly Sins & Saintly Virtues, but
    if St Thomas Villanova makes the Final 4 like the team I’ll be fine with that

  7. The last two days I have voted and it seemed that my vote was recorded, but then I only get blank radio buttons. I have not gone back to re-vote, but I don't think my vote "counted" either day. This concerns me because the final rounds are coming up, and I don't want my vote either erased or tossed because it looked as if I kept re-voting. 'Tis a puzzlement.

  8. I thought I would be supporting Thomas of Aquinas to the end because scholars and philosophers (and contemplatives) just never make it to the finals. And how sorely we need TA's foundational respect for human reason. But I can't resist Thomas of Villanova! I'm voting for him because of the actions he took, the virtues he exemplified, and the warm personality that shines through the stories. I just *like* him so much! He has become a new favorite saint and inspiration.

    AND I'm voting for him because I would never have known about him except for Lent Madness. So he also exemplifies what Lent Madness brings to my life.

    Brilliant job on the kitsch by both Laurie and Megan! I'm awestricken by your creativity, for finding this stuff and for writing about it with such wit!

  9. I vote for Villanova because I have a deep and abiding dislike of Aquinas, dating back to my days in college. I realized that Aquinas basically ripped off Aristotle and simply converted ancient Greek philosophy into Christian dogma. I'm also not much of a fan of Aristotle.

    1. If Thomas Aquinas's statement that the soul enters a male fetus at 40 days of gestation and a female at 80 days, perhaps it would have made a difference in some votes. Some people seem to think that the Gospel would not have been preserved or that we wouldn't have a church without intellectual giants and theologians like Aquinas. I think we wouldn't have a church without the unsung, perhaps uneducated, faithful Christians in every age who tried to see Jesus in the guise of "the least" and tried to treat them as they would treat Jesus.

  10. Kudos to both Celebrity Bloggers for the excellent kitsch today. How to choose between my very own pulpit and the Aquinas doll with matching t-shirt? I am going with Tomas as I have voted for him through each level. Aquinas is a very worthy saint but I am touched by the absent-minded professor who gave so generously to the poor. And Jesus playing a pickup game didn’t hurt my decision!

  11. Thomas Aquinas won my vote. They seem pretty equal but I like TA's hair style.

  12. I was considering Thomas of Villanova, but then Megan Castellan
    (Megan of the Castle???) brought in the hymn Tantum Ergo. Having been a member of church choirs since I was a little kid, I'm fairly well aquatinted with the tune Tantum Ergo, so Thomas Aquinas it had to be.

  13. Here is a kitschy comment. In the parody "Bored of the Rings", one memorable monster is the Ballhog, who terrifies the heroes while wearing the word VILLANOVA written across his chest in "cruel runes."

    Still, I voted for Villanova. 🙂

  14. I think the pulpit may be what kicked me over to Villanova (or maybe not). That was absolutely brilliant!

  15. I thought of a few more suggestions for candidates to add to the Lenten Madness list: Nelson Mandela; Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi

    1. Nominationtide will occur later, maybe near/after Pentecost. The SEC will eagerly accept your suggestions/nominations then.

    2. One rule in LM is that the candidate must have died a minimum of fifty years prior to being a candidate for the Golden Halo. This is the reason some current "saints" are not in the bracket yet. Apparently no one has nominated someone like MLK, so make sure you do during open nominations!

  16. I still do not like this new website!! How can something be both boring and infuriating at the same time? Somehow......

  17. Chose Villanova over Aquinas because of the Aquinas pillow that looks like a man mooning the viewer.

  18. Oh, goodness. I don't know if I can handle the madness of early next week. My two favs remaining are Madeline Sophie Barat and Jose Hernandez.

  19. Another tough decision.. I voted earlier for Villanova because of his practice of austerity and dedication to the poor. And I voted for Aquinas for his philosophical writing.
    Faced with two very important spiritual leaders, weighing their contributions; both so passionate and caring, it was hard to choose. However, after I read about the writings and Aquinas's ability to provide depth and understanding to our Christian religion I voted for him. His ability to explain and provide a rationale for our Christian religion helped it transcend the ages and help countless generations continue the belief in God and Jesus.

  20. Where can we check out that pulpit bargain? My husband is building one now for our church and welcomes any saintly guidance - holy halo or not.