On discovering that Thomas had taken the habit of the Order of St Dominic, his mother, The Countess of Aquino, sought to make him denounce his vocation. When she saw she could not change his mind, she went to complain to Pope Innocent IV. The Dominicans decided to send Thomas to Paris, where he would be free from his mother’s opportunities and continue his studies.
They chose the most unfrequented roads, avoided the towns, and had got as far as Aquapendente, in Tuscany, and were seated on the bank of a brook resting themselves, when they were suddenly surrounded by a troop of soldiers, who took Thomas prisoner. These soldiers were under the command of his brother, Reginald. Their mother had sent word to him and their other brother, Landolph to keep watch over all roads leading to France.
Reginald made him prisoner, treated him rudely and even went as far as to try to tear his habit from his back, but Thomas resisted bravely and managed to keep it. He was led back to Rocca-Secca, the family castle. His mother came to him with tears, but all her tenderness and arguments were useless. Thomas would not change his mind.
She then ordered him to be imprisoned in one of the castle towers, and allowed no one but his two sisters, Marietta and Theodora, to visit him, in hope that they would change his mind.
The two sisters were filled with the spirit of the world and, therefore, could not understand how their brother could so demean himself as to become a Dominican Friar. So they set themselves to try and incite in his mind some ideas more fitting, as they thought, to his state of life. He listened, calmly answered, and then, with great prudence and sweetness, began to attack them, and to attempt to lead them to God. His words were blessed by God, and he succeeded in changing their hearts, and brought them to despise mere worldly honors, and to seek all their joy and consolation at the foot of the Cross.
His brothers, Reginald and Landolph, on visiting the castle and discovering that Thomas remained adamant in his resolve, stooped low to wiles of the devil. They employed a beautiful, young woman of easy virtue to seduce Thomas and shut her in his tower.
Thomas, on seeing the temptress, understood the meaning of her detestable arts, felt the stimulus of the flesh arise within him. He raised his heart to God for a brief moment, then, snatching a burning brand out of the fire, chased the temptress from his presence. Then with the brand, he made a cross upon the wall of his chamber, and falling upon his knees before it, poured out his soul to God, who had given him the victory, and renewed the vow of chastity he had made in the depths of his heart, when he had received the holy habit of religion.
For this victory, God sent two angels to gird his waist with a cord, granting him everlasting virginity. From that time, he never felt the slightest temptation against purity.