Faith in Action Blog
Three alumni of the College who are currently pursuing graduate studies in Rome gathered in the Eternal City last week to celebrate Thanksgiving with some 30 other expats. Pictured above are Frater Maximilian Okapal, O.Praem. (’02), Marie Nuar (’02), and Frater Nathaniel Drogin, O. Praem. (’01). Frater Maximilian studies at the Angelicum; Miss Nuar and Frater Nathaniel are students at the Gregorian.
The friends have extra reason to be grateful this year. On June 23, 2012, Frater Maximilian is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood as a member of the Norbertine Order at the Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica in Orange County, Calif. His confrere, Frater Nathaniel, will be ordained to the diaconate at the same Mass.
Two classmates from the Thomas Aquinas College Class of 2003 have happily returned to campus this fall as the newest members of the teaching faculty.
“There were a lot of places I was interested in teaching at, but I always had it in the back of my mind that it would be sad if I could never do Euclid again,” says Jared Kuebler (’03). “It was always my dream to come back, particularly for the community of tutors here and the opportunity to teach across the curriculum.”
“It is special to be amongst a faculty that loves what they do," says Elizabeth Reyes (’03). “It is such an honor to be here.”
Welcome home, Mr. Kuebler and Miss Reyes!
Two alumni who have returned to the College as members of the teaching faculty, Dr. Christopher Decaen (’93) and Dr. Paul O’Reilly (’84), have recently given talks on campus. You can access their remarks at following links:
- Dr. Decaen: “‘I have set before Joshua a single stone with seven facets bearing his inscription…’ (Zech. 3:9): The ‘Jesus(s)’ of the Old Testament” (audio)
- Dr. O’Reilly: Flannery O’Connor and “The Enduring Chill” (text)
A great success among recent Catholic educational titles is A Little Way of Homeschooling, the second work by author and alumna Suzie (Zeiter ’87) Andres. The book has generated a favorable review from the Catholic News agency as well as this laudatory post on the Catholic Media Review blog. Mrs. Andres also discussed the book on a recent episode of the “Catholics Next Door” radio program.
Read on for our own review of A Little Way of Homeschooling by alumna Becky (Loop’96) Mohun.Read more
At Thomas Aquinas College’s recent 40th Anniversary Gala, two alumni were honored to address the guests. Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94), professor of philosophy at St. Michael’s Abbey Seminary in Orange, Calif., and Brenna Scanlon (’06), Principal of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish School in Oxnard, Calif., offered testimonials about their time at the College and how it prepared them for their service to the Church. Below is audio of their remarks:
Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94)
Brenna Scanlon (’06)
The Ventura County Star has published a profile of Brenna Scanlon (’06), the 27-year-old Thomas Aquinas College alumna who is the principal of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish School in Oxnard, Calif. The story describes Miss Scanlon’s love of lifelong learning, her desire to put Christ at the heart of her school’s curriculum, and her decision to start studying Spanish so that she can better communicate with her students’ families. It also includes this account of her college experience:
Scanlon graduated from La Reina High School in 2002. She was looking for a traditional Catholic university when her mother suggested she consider Thomas Aquinas College near Santa Paula, where students follow the Great Books program.
“We used the Socratic method, where knowledge is not professed by a teacher,” Scanlon said. “It kind of awakened in me that I love learning to please myself not for straight A’s or SAT scores or status among my peers.”
For more about Miss Scanlon, her background, and the good work she does as an elementary-school principal, see this alumni profile, which originally appeared in the Spring 2011 edition of the College Newsletter.
On Friday night, Thomas Aquinas College hosted its first lecture of the academic year, part of the the St. Vincent de Paul Lecture and Concert Series, endowed by Barbara and Paul Henkels. The speaker was Dr. Paul O’Reilly (’84) — a graduate of the College, a member of the teaching faculty, and the College’s vice president for development. Dr. O’Reilly spoke on the subject of Catholic Liberal Education. Text and audio from the lecture can be found here.
Emily (Barry ’11) Sullivan has joined the faculty of the Montfort Academy in Katonah, N.Y., where she will be teaching philosophy and theology to members of the senior class. There is a lengthy interview with Mrs. Sullivan on the school’s blog, where she has the following kind words to offer for her alma mater:
I went to an amazing school in California, called Thomas Aquinas College. The College, like Montfort, is faithful to the Magisterium and dedicated to the authentic pursuit of a Catholic liberal arts education through a “Great Books” curriculum and the Socratic Method. At the College, there are no textbooks, so you’re always encountering the greatest minds of Western civilization first hand. Everyone studies theology, philosophy, literature, history, math, and science for all four years, in addition to Latin, music and getting to write and defend a senior thesis. It is a vibrant community which pursues truth, beauty, and goodness with both faith and reason. It is also a wonderful place to cultivate great friendships which strive for holiness and wisdom, and I was blessed to meet my husband there.…
A first-time teacher, Mrs. Sullivan credits her tutors at the College for her chosen profession: “Their love for all that is marvelous and fine about Catholic culture and the Catholic intellectual tradition really inspired me to want to teach.”
The Meet Our Alumni section of this website features a new profile of Brenna Scanlon (’06), who puts the Faith into action every day as the principal of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish School in Oxnard, Calif. “There has been a real need to make sure that our schools are Catholic, first and foremost, and working on moving these children and their families toward holiness,” she says. A short video about Miss Scanlon and her school is posted below, and you can read the whole profile here.
To be sure, reading the sermons of Bl. John Henry Newman is inspiring, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear them? Now you can, thanks to the voice of Michael Six (’79) who plays the part of the blessed cardinal in a new audiobook of His Eminence’s homilies produced by Catholic Audio Publishing. (A sample of the recordings, featuring the sermons Bl. John Henry gave after his entrance into the Church, is available here.)
Meanwhile, Mr. Six’s wife, Julia (Schmitt ’81), recently graduated with a master’s degree in theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (religious studies division) in Philadelphia. She is currently teaching theology at DeSales University in Center Valley, Penn.