Blessed Thomas of Florence
Feast Day is October 31
Thomas was the son of a butcher of Florence, named Bellaci. His parents raised him in the fear of God; but when he had grown to young manhood, he strayed from the path of virtue by associating with bad companions. Matters came to a point where parents warned their sons to have nothing to do with Thomas Bellaci, and it was a disgrace to be found in his company. Then a rich man in town, who was also very wicked, made Thomas his friend and used the daring young man for many a villainous act. There came a day when a grievous crime was committed in Florence, and Thomas was accused of it. Although this time he was really guiltless, his reputation put him in danger of being condemned to severe punishment.
In his extremity he appealed to his patron, only to learn the worthlessness of such friendship. Thomas was not even received at the home of his patron. Calling again, he was told in plain words that so disreputable a person as he should never again venture to approach.
Crushed at the turn of events, Thomas paced the streets until he met a pious priest who had succeeded in bringing more than one such young man to his senses. Thomas at first rebuffed the priest, but when the priest continued to show him much sympathy, Thomas opened up his heart and told his story. The priest consoled him, and invited him to his home, saying that he would do everything in his power for him. Actually he had Tomas declared innocent of the crime imputed to him.
Thomas now resolved to make amends for his disorderly life under the direction of his rescuer. He broke off his former associations and joined a pious society of which the priest was director. Instead of wandering about the streets and taverns, he was now seen busy at his work and visiting churches; instead of indulging in games and riotous pleasures, he now devoted himself to prayer and works of penance. The more Blessed Thomas of Florence was filled with the grace of God, the more he longed to leave the world and to give himself to a life of penance.
Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.