Patrons and Patronesses

Patrons and Patronesses

(ca. 1170-1211) Founder of the Order of Preachers   

Feast Day: August 8


Belonging to a noble family, Dominic de Guzmán was born in Caleruega, Spain around 1170. When he was studying in Palencia, a great famine took place. He distinguished himself for his interest in the study of Sacred Scriptures and for his love of the poor to the point of selling his precious books to support the famine victims. Speaking always with God or about God, beginning all his actions in contemplation, Dominic advanced in wisdom. After his presbyteral ordination, he was elected canon of the Cathedral Chapter in Osma. Diego de Acebedo, the Bishop of Osma soon recognized his spiritual qualities. Together, they went to Northern Europe, on a diplomatic mission entrusted by the King of Castile. On their way, Dominic became aware of two enormous challenges facing the Church of his time: the existence of unevangelized people in Northern Europe, and the heresy that undermined Christianity in Southern France. 

The Pope Innocent III asked Dominic to devote himself to preaching to the Albigensians, a heretical group which upheld a dualistic principle of good and evil, despising matter as coming from the principle of evil. They even refused marriage, and denied the Incarnation of Christ, the Sacraments, and the Resurrection of bodies. However, the heretics lived an austere life, criticizing the riches of the clergy. So Dominic accepted the mission and carried it out in poverty. Attracted by the same aspiration, many joined the Order of Preachers, which was confirmed in 1216 by Pope Honorius III. They preached as they travelled from one place to another, underscoring prayer, community life and study in order “to praise, to bless, and to preach.” 

Dominic wanted his followers to acquire a sound theological training. In 1217, he dispersed his small band throughout the Universities of Europe, and from such beginnings the Order grew. He wanted his friars to devote themselves to study without reserve, with diligence and with piety; a study based on the Sacred Scriptures, and respectful of the questions asked by reason. The motto “contemplata aliis tradere” reveals the pastoral yearning in the contemplative study of the truth (Veritas) because of the need to communicate to others the fruits of one's own contemplation. Moreover, the Order continues Dominic’s vision of preaching the Good News, missio ad gentes. When Dominic died in 1221 in Bologna, the Order had spread to many countries in Europe. Dominic was canonized in 1234.


Benedict XVI, General Audience, 3 February 2010.

Dominican Missal and Lectionary for the Order of Preachers in the Philippines, 2011, p. 127-129.


(1225-1274), priest and doctor of the Church

Patron of the University of Santo Tomás

Patron of the UST Faculty of Sacred Theology

Feast Day: January 28


Born in 1225, Thomas of Aquino was the youngest son of Landulph and Theodora who both belonged to noble families. With the ambition of nominating him as abbot one day, his parents entrusted him to the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Monte Cassino in 1231. When he finished his basic education, he was taught natural philosophy and most probably the metaphysics of Aristotle. Impressed with the Dominicans’ zeal for soul and evangelical poverty, he entered the Order of Preachers in 1243. But before that, he was seized by his soldier brothers who brought him back to their castle of San Giovanni, where he was held a captive for a year or two. He was besieged with threats, and even sensual temptation to make him relinquish his purpose. Finally, the family yielded and the Order sent Thomas to Paris to study under Albertus Magnus.


In 1256, Thomas earned the title ‘magister in sacra pagina’, which is roughly equivalent to a professor in Theology. After completing his education, he devoted himself to a life of traveling, writing, teaching, public speaking and preaching. Religious institutions and universities alike yearned to benefit from his God-given wisdom. He devoted his life to reconcile the relationship between theology (faith) and philosophy (reason), which was quite impossible at that time. Combining traditional principles of theology with modern philosophical thought, he touched upon the questions and struggles of medieval intellectuals, church authorities and peoples from all walks of life. He died on 7 March 1274, and was canonized in 1323.


The Faculties of Sacred Theology and Philosophy are as old as the University of Santo Tomas itself, which was founded in 1611. The Ecclesiastical Faculties have always been considered as integral components of the University, which Pope Leo XII proclaimed as Pontifical University in 1902 through the Constitution Quae Mari Sinico. Pope Pius XII, meanwhile, declared UST as ‘the Catholic University of the Philippines’ in 1947. As a theologian, Thomas wrote the Summa Theologiae and the Summa contra Gentiles for the classical systematization of Theology. He also wrote some of the most beautiful Eucharistic hymns such as Pange Lingua and Panis Angelicus. In 1880, St. Thomas Aquinas was declared patron of all Catholic educational establishments.



O’Meara OP, Franklin Thomas, Thomas Aquinas Theologian, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, 1997.Healy, Nicholas, Thomas Aquinas Theologian of the Christian Life, Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Hants, England, 2003.

(4th Century AD), virgin and martyr 

Secondary Patroness of the University of Santo Tomás                        

Patroness of the UST Faculty of Philosophy

Feast Day: November 25


Though the veneration of St. Catherine has been widespread since the 10th century, there is only a limited credible information concerning her life. According to popular tradition, she was born in Alexandria, the intellectual and cultural center of the ancient Mediterranean world, and had devoted herself to study since childhood. Through her reading, she had learned about Christianity and was converted. When the persecution of Christians escalated, she went to the Emperor to rebuke him boldly for his cruelty. Since the Emperor cannot answer her arguments against his pagan gods, he summoned fifty philosophers, who succumbed to her reasoning. Consequently, they were all burned to death. He then tried to offer her the consort's crown, but she indignantly refused him, so she was beaten and imprisoned. The Emperor soon discovered that even his queen and his soldiers were converted to the true faith by Catherine, and were also put to death.


Catherine was then sentenced to die on a spiked wheel. When she was fastened to the wheel, her bonds were miraculously loosened and the wheel itself broke, its spikes flew off and killed some of the onlookers. She was then beheaded. According to legend, her body was carried by angels to Mount Sinai, where a church and monastery were built in her honor. 


St. Catherine’s practice of Philosophy became an occasion for conversion, the motive for martyrdom, and represents the depths of charity and wisdom of God. According to tradition, she triumphed by closing the mouths of sophists, and her intercession was implored by theologians, apologists, pulpit orators, and philosophers. Before studying, writing, or preaching, they besought her to illumine their minds, guide their pens, and impart eloquence to their speech. St. Catherine of Alexandria is the patroness of the UST Faculty of Philosophy and the secondary patroness of the University of Santo Tomas.



Voragine, Jacobus (1275), and Caxton, William (1483; trans.), Legenda Aurea, Ch. 172.  


Clugnet, Léon. "St. Catherine of Alexandria." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 19 Apr. 2021 <>.

(ca. 1175-1275), priest          

Patron of the UST Faculty of Canon Law and the UST Faculty of Civil Law

Feast Day: January 7


Belonging to a noble family of Peñafort, Raymond was born in Barcelona, Spain around 1175. He became a distinguished theologian and professor of Canon Law at the University of Bologna; and while there, he joined the Order of Preachers in 1222. Eventually, he was ordained to the priesthood and became a celebrated Master of Canon Law. When Pope Gregory IX appointed him papal chaplain and penitentiary, he compiled and revised the papal Decretals, which was the basis of the Code of Canon Law of the Church until 1917. He had to rewrite and condense the decrees that had been multiplying for centuries. In 1235, he was named Archbishop of Tarragona but he was able to persuade the Pope to recall his appointment due to health reasons.


At the request of his brethren, he composed the famous Summa Casuum, a manual for confessors and preachers concerning the correct and fruitful administration of the Sacrament of Penance. In 1238, he was elected as the third Master of the Order and revised the Dominican Constitution (which was to remain in effect until 1924), but he resigned two years later also due to health reasons.  Retiring to Barcelona, he spent the next thirty-five years preaching, hearing confessions and working for the conversion of Jews. He studied the Koran to dialogue with Moslems, and introduced the study of Arabic and Hebrew into several Dominicans convents. Furthermore, it was at his request that St. Thomas Aquinas wrote  the Summa Contra Gentiles to aid missionaries in explaining the Christian religion to, and defending it against, dissenting points of doctrine in Islam and Judaism. He died a centenarian in 1275 and was canonized by Pope Clement VIII in 1601.


The reputation of St. Raymond in juridical science and his immense contribution to the codification of the Canon Law underscore the virtues to be imitated by the UST Faculty of Canon Law and the UST Faculty of Civil Law. Established in 1681, the UST Faculty of Canon Law undertakes the work of evangelization to understand, defend and proclaim the faith within the context of culture and human society, collaborating effectively in its pastoral, doctrinal, ecumenical and missionary undertakings. Moreover, the UST Faculty of Civil Law, the oldest lay faculty in the Philippines (1734), continues to impart solid formation, imbued with Christian virtues and principles, and to serve the best interests of the profession, the nation and the Church.


O'Kane, Michael, "St. Raymond of Peñafort," The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 12, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 


John Paul II, Sapientia Christiana, On Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties, 1979.

(3rd Century AD), holy persons    

Patron of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

Feast Day: September 26


Cosmas and Damian were Arabian-born twin brothers who embraced Christianity and practiced medicine and surgery without a fee. They reputedly cured blindness, fever, paralysis and reportedly expelled a breast serpent. According to the Legenda Aurea, their most famous posthumous miracle happened in a dream when they transplanted the black leg of a recently-deceased Ethiopian onto the white body of a devout Church official with a gangrenous leg. When the man woke up, he reached for his leg and realized that he now had two healthy legs although one was not his! When he recovered, he leapt out from his bed and announce the good news.


In his attempt to wipe out Christianity, Emperor Diocletian (243/245-311) ordered the arrest of the brothers through Lysias, governor of Cilicia, because of their faith and fame as healers. The twins and their three brothers were sentenced to death. The family were thrown into the sea but were saved. The authorities then tried burning them at the stake but they remained unharmed. They were then stoned, crucified and shot with arrows but to no effect. They were finally beheaded and their bodies carried to the ancient Syrian city of Cyrrhus.  Having been cured of a dangerous illness through their intercession, Emperor Justinian (482-565) rebuilt and adorned their church at Constantinople in gratitude for their aid, and it became a celebrated place of pilgrimage. Pope Felix IV (526-530) built a church in Rome in their honor. 


Through the inspiration and prayers of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, patrons of physicians and surgeons, whose charity and Christian witness won many converts to the faith and earned them a place of prominence in the Christian communities of Asia Minor, the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery is committed to the pursuit of excellence in medical education, health science research and community services, guided by Christian ethics and values. Furthermore, it is their task to develop and form competent, compassionate, and committed Thomasian physicians in the delivery of healthcare services of global standards and in accord with the needs of the nation.



The Pharmaceutical Journal, September 2016; Online: DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201708.


Meier, Gabriel. "Sts. Cosmas and Damian." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 19 Apr. 2021 <>.


Voragine, Jacobus (1275), and Caxton, William (1483; trans.), Legenda Aurea, Ch. 82.     

Patron of the UST Faculty of Pharmacy

Feast Day: December 8


The Virgin Mary was enriched by God with gifts to fulfill her mission as the mother of God (cf. LG 56). When the angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace" (Lk 1:28), she faithfully responded: "Let it be [done] to me according to your word" (Lk 1:28-38).. In fact, in order to give the free assent of her faith, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace. On December 8, 1854, the Church proclaimed: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus). Embracing the divine will, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son to serve the mystery of redemption with Him and dependent on Him, by God's grace (cf. LG 56).


Since the 15th century, the Universities in Europe had a special influence in the promotion of the Immaculate Conception which was not only an intensely debated topic, but also had a clear impact on the early graduates of Pharmacy, who considered her as their patroness. During the reign of Reina Isabel II from 1833 until 1868, the pharmacists in Spain were obliged to take an oath to the Immaculate Mother upon finishing their degree and receiving the title. In such a solemn act, white gloves were used to symbolize the cleanliness and purity of the medicines they were to prepare, and their commitment to Science as their profession. 


In 1871, UST is the first to offer Pharmacy in the Philippines. Based on his research, Fr. Lorenzo Rodriguez, OP, the Dean from 1946 to 1968, declared that the Faculty did not have a patron ever since. Since the Immaculate Conception has been generally regarded as the Patroness of Pharmacy, the UST Faculty of Pharmacy adopted her as their patroness on November 9, 1948. The first celebration was held on December 7, 1948, which coincided with the inauguration of the second UST Botanical Garden. An image of the Immaculate Conception was blessed in the Office of the Dean on February 26, 1949, and remains to be enthroned there until the present. On October 11, 2015, the Council of Regents confirmed the Immaculate Conception as the Patroness of Pharmacy. Subsequently, the first ‘White Coat Ceremony’ was held on December 7, 2015.



The Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 484-494.


Rodriguez, OP, Lorenzo, “A Century Progress of the First One Hundred Years of the Faculty [of Pharmacy] of the University of Santo Tomas,” Acta Manilana, February 1972, Series B, No. 2 (14), p. 73


Pablo, Carol Geraldine, “Lorenzo Rodriguez, OP: Trailblazing Pharmacy Education, Research, Practice and Services in the Philippines,” Philippiniana Sacra, Vol. LI, No. 152 ( January-April 2016), pp. 98-99.


Ramos Carrillo, A and Moreno Torrel, E, The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Patron of Pharmacists in Spain: A Theory to Explain this Patronage, Sevilla, Spain.


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