Thomas was one of the outstanding preachers of the sixteenth century in Spain. A brilliant student at the University of Alcala de Henares, he became a professor there and seemed destined for a successful university career. When he was offered a professorship at the University of Salamanca at the age of thirty (1516), he chose instead to enter the Augustinian novitiate. As prior provincial, and later as an archbishop, he won a reputation for great charity, for the promotion of studies, and also for encouraging missionary work. Famous for his sermons, his advice to other preachers was: “Do not ascend the pulpit, I beg you, without studying your subject and giving it mature consideration. Above all, you must give at least two hours in entreating God in silent contemplation.”
At a time of great materialism in Spain, even in the Church, Thomas lived frugally. He used the income of his affluent archdiocese to set up social programs for the poor and rejected; he fed the hungry at his bishop’s palace and sheltered the homeless in his own home. As he was dying, he gave away his few remaining personal possessions to the needy.
Thomas was born in Fuenllana, Ciudad Real, Spain, in 1486. He was twice a prior provincial in his province and was made archbishop of Valencia in 1544. Thomas died in Valencia on September 8, 1555. His remains lie in the cathedral church at Valencia.