Thomas Aquinas came from a noble Italian family who wanted him to become a great Benedictine abbot, the superior of a monastery. Thomas wanted to join a newer community dedicated to preaching and teaching?the Dominicans. Since they opposed his plan, his parents confined Thomas to their castle. However, they finally relented.
Thomas later went to Paris to study theology. As he didn't speak up much in discussions, fellow students called him Dumb Ox. His teacher, Saint Albert the Great, soon recognized Thomas's brilliance as an incisive thinker after Thomas cleverly analyzed a difficult passage.
Albert said: ?We have called Thomas ?dumb ox,? but I tell you his bellowing will yet be heard to the uttermost parts of the earth.? Shortly before his death, Thomas had a vision that caused him to stop writing. He said, ?All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me [by God].?