Thomas of Jesus (de Andrada)

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Preacher and writer; b. Lisbon, 1529; d. Morocco, 1582. A protégé of Luis de Montoya, OSA, Thomas entered the Augustinian Monastery of Our Lady of Grace, Lisbon, in 1534 and later pursued his studies at Coimbra. He won fame as a preacher, was at one time master of novices, and unsuccessfully attempted a reform of his order in Portugal, modeled after the Observantine practice obtaining in other provinces. He accompanied King Sebastian on his unfortunate expedition to Africa in 1578. Captured by the Moors, he was sold to an earnest Moslem who endeavored, first by kindness and then by torture, to draw him from Christianity.

During this period of his captivity he wrote Os trabalhos de Jesus by the faint light that penetrated his cell and without, apparently, the assistance of any books. Freed from this master through the intervention of the Portuguese ambassador, he went to Morocco and thence to Sagena where he ministered to the Christian slaves. His apostolic labors bore much fruit in encouraging the faithful and recovering apostates, some of whom suffered martyrdom. Thomas resisted the efforts of his family and members of the court to effect his release, preferring to remain where he felt needed. Finally, worn out by illness and work, he died, still a captive.

The Os trabalhos de Jesus, known in English as The Sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, is made up of meditations on the Passion and is marked by both unction and solid piety. Thomas suggests a method of meditation, and each reflection is followed by a fervent colloquy. It was first published in Lisbon (pt. 1, 1602; pt. 2, 1609). The first American edition of the English translation was published at Philadelphia in 1841, the latest at Westminster, Maryland in 1961.

Bibliography: p. elsius, Encomasticon Augustinianum (Brussels 1654). a. f. c. bell, Hispanic Review 1 (1933) 5054. a. zumkeller, "Thomas von Jesus," Biogrsbibliogr. Kirchenlexikon 11:13901392.

[r. j. welsh]