Raymond Thomas Aquinas Collins, O.P.
Birth: July 17, 1915
Profession: August 16, 1939
Ordination: June 8, 1945
Died: October 8, 2000
Raymond Joseph (“Coach”) Collins was born in Lowell, MA the son of Jeremiah F. and Mary R. (Sullivan) Collins. He received his education at St. Michael’s Parish Elementary School (1921-30) and Keith Academy (1930-34) in that city and at Providence College, Providence, RI, graduating in 1938. He entered the Novitiate of the Province of St. Joseph at St. Rose Priory, Springfield, KY where he received the religious name, Thomas Aquinas. A year later he made his first profession there.
Br. T.A. studied philosophy at the Dominican Houses of Studies in River Forest, IL (1939-40), St. Joseph’s Priory, Somerset, OH (1940-42) and theology in Washington, DC (1942-46). In 1945 he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Michael J. Ready of Columbus, OH at St. Dominic’s Church, Washington, DC. Following an additional year of study he undertook advanced biblical studies in the Old Testament at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem (1946-48) and at the Pontifical Biblical Commission, Vatican City (1949) where he attained the Bachelor degree in Sacred Scripture. In 1959 he received a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the University of Ottawa, Canada.
Fr. Thomas Aquinas spent his entire priestly career in Sacred Scripture. From 1950-58 he taught at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC and at Providence College (1959-86) where for many years he directed the College’s Summer School of Theology. He co-founded the Annual Biblical Institutes at Trinity College, Burlington, VT (1966-75) and Sinsinawa, WI (1975-85). He contributed extensively to prominent Biblical publications and served as the President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (1955-56).
As his health declined in the mid-1990s, he was assigned first to Heritage Hills Nursing Centre, Smithfield, RI, then to the Center for Assisted Living at St. Dominic’s Priory, Washington, DC and finally Carroll Manor Nursing Home, Washington, DC where he died.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by Bishop Arthur J. O’Neill, retired bishop of Rockford, IL at St. Dominic’s Church, Washington, DC with burial at the Dominican Fathers’ plot at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in that city.