The University of Santo Tomas will have a twin celebration today, April 28. as it celebrates its actual 400th foundation anniversary and the beatification of the late John Paul II on May 1.
In January 1995, during the World Youth Day ’95 celebrations, UST made history when Pope John Paul II came and delivered his gracious message to the Filipino youth from its parade grounds. UST then played host to the International Youth Forum — participated in by a select group of more than 300 young people from all over the world. This group prepared the message of the youth delivered during the World Youth Day ‘95 closing mass held in Luneta.
Lorenzo Ruiz was a sacristan at the Dominican-run Binondo Church in Manila. In October 1987, Lorenzo Ruiz was elevated by Pope John Paul II to sainthood in Rome, the first Filipino saint and one of the 1,340 faithful beatified and 482 others canonized during the term of John Paul II.
UST commenced its year long quadricentennial celebration last Jan. 28 to honor as well the feast day of its patron saint, St. Thomas Aquinas, but it was actually on April 28, 1611 when the University was founded by Archbishop Miguel de Benavides, O.P.
On this day, 400 years ago, the Dominican brothers of Monsignor Benavides, the third archbishop of Manila, fulfilled his last will by building a seminary-college that would prepare young men for the priesthood.
Colegio de Nuestra Senora de Santisimo Rosario, as it was originally called, rose from campus in Intramuros on April 28, 1611, six years after Fr. Benavides, in his deathbed bequeathed a P1,500 endowment and his personal library to lay the cornerstone of the university.
The Colegio was to be renamed Colegio de Sto. Tomas and in time became a university on Nov. 20, 1645 by virtue of Pope Innocent X’s Papal Bull in supereminenti. In 1785, it received the title Royal University from King Charles III in recognition of the loyalty and service by its students who defended Manila against the British invaders.
On Sept. 17, 1902, Pope Leo XIII made UST a Pontifical university, to become the only learning institution in Asia to receive papal patronage and second in the world next to Rome’s Gregorian University. Later on in 1947, Pope Pius XII recognized UST as the Catholic University of the Philippines.