St. Thomas was born and raised in Castile, Spain. He received a good education at the University of Alcala and become a philosophy professor.
In Salamanca, Spain he joined the Augustinian friars and continued teaching, although he began to suffer from poor memory and overall absentmindedness. He was nominated to become the archbishopric of Granada by the emperor but refused. When the see was available once again, he was pressured to accept. Money was given to him to furnish his home and he gave it to a hospital instead. He explained that it would serve the hospital better and a poor friar didn’t need furniture.
He was very kind with the poor and gave out food, wine, and money every morning to the poor that knocked on his door. Though he was often criticized for being taken advantage of, he replied: “My duty is to assist and relieve those who come to my door.” Upon his deathbed he commanded all of his money be distributed to the poor.
Thomas of Villanova is often referred to as “the almsgiver” and was canonized in 1658. His feast day is September 22.