The students and faculty of Thomas Aquinas College, California, gathered in classrooms across the campus last Friday night for this semester’s All-College Seminar, where they discussed St. Thomas Aquinas’s teaching on divine mercy.

A time-honored tradition at the College, these one-off sessions bring together students from all four years in groups of about 16 or 17 to discuss readings that lie outside the ordinary curriculum. By grouping under- with upperclassmen, the seminars promote friendship across classes — and by focusing on complex works beyond the curricular purview, they remind all students that this education, for all its richness, is only a beginning on the road to wisdom.  

While juniors and seniors spend their theology classes plumbing the depths of St. Thomas’s Summa Theologiae, they do not normally read the selection to which this semester’s All-College Seminar was dedicated, which focused on divine justice and mercy. In their seminars, students grappled with St. Thomas’s argument for how these seemingly opposed elements can coexist in God — and how both are rooted in divine love.

As often happens, the conversations that began in the classroom continued for a long time thereafter, as students made their way to St. Joseph Commons for pizza and refreshments. “It was really interesting to take on Thomas with people who haven’t read him yet,” said senior Dillon Tuliau of his underclassmen interlocutors. “I appreciated the new perspectives on his work.”