St Thomas Aquinas is clothed in the Dominican habit
As a student at University In Naples, St Thomas became acquainted with the Dominicans whose priory was opened in 1231. Interestingly, there were only two friars in the house in 1239 because the Emperor had expelled all (other) mendicants from his realm! One fr. John of San Giuliano inspired Thomas to take the habit of the Order of Preachers in April 1244.
Why did Thomas choose this new Order? Clues to his spirituality may be found in this choice. Torrell suggests a “desire to live a life of poverty”, an aversion to ecclesiastical preferment (he rejected the abbacy of Montecassino and later refused the archbishopric of Naples and a cardinal’s hat), an inclination towards study, and “according to the theory he developed later, if it is good to contemplate divine things, it is even better to contemplate and transmit them to others” (ST IIa IIae 188, 6; cf ST IIIa, 40, 1 ad 2; 2).
This painting of St Thomas Aquinas being clothed is part of the reredos in the Dominican church of Sto Tomas in Ávila. 28 January is the feast of St Thomas Aquinas, and this day actually marks the transfer of his relics in 1385 to the Dominican-built Jacobin church in Toulouse, France.