Hope Ascough (CA ’22)
Hope Ascough (CA ’22)

By Hope Ascough (CA ’22)

Dear Mom and Dad,

When I was 7 years old, you brought us to a historical site only a few hours from home: Clonmacnoise, Ireland. We learned that, in the 7th century, Christianity in Ireland had dwindled to only the few saintly, scholastic monks at this monastery. From those humble stone walls the monks spread the understanding and fire of the Faith throughout the whole of the country — and from there to the rest of Europe, America, and beyond.

Unfortunately, the Faith has dwindled to but a flicker in Ireland once more. You needed to turn to an American distance-learning program for my high school education because there were no good Catholic options at home. And when it came time for me to choose a college, there was not one official Catholic school in the country.

However, you raised us to put up a fight for truth, and that’s how I found Thomas Aquinas College. Coming here was not an easy decision to make, due to finances and the 6,000 miles that it would put between our family and me, but you nevertheless supported me wholeheartedly.

Dad, I remember your late nights in the office to make this education possible. Mom, I know it’s not easy to let your little ducklings fly so far away, but you made that sacrifice, knowing that I would be better off for it.

I recently listened to a podcast which described education as the “proper cultivation of the mind and the right ordering of the will.” I can confidently and gratefully say that you have provided me with such an education.

Thomas Aquinas College has cultivated my mind through our discussions of the greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers, teaching me to ask meaningful questions which affect how I will live the rest of my life, questions such as: What is happiness? Is there a God? If so, can we prove that He exists? Can we know anything about Him? What is my role as a citizen, and why should I care?

The College has also shown me how to rightly order my will through the example of faculty, staff, and fellow students who help me see what is true, good, and beautiful. I have never met such a concentration of good people who lead me in love and virtue. These four years have given me the tools to live a happy life in accord with the truth and to share this truth with others. That’s why I plan to work as a teacher here in the U.S. for a few years and earn a degree in education. I then hope to return home and bring back to Ireland the excellent sort of education I have experienced here.

I think back on the little monastery in Clonmacnoise, and I see a striking resemblance between it and Thomas Aquinas College. Just like the small group of scholastic monks who studied the Faith and, from that little community, spread its fire across the world, we at TAC study the compelling case for the Faith and, from there, are equipped to change our culture for Christ.

All my love,