Catholic Studies  



AQ Difference

Aquinas is a Catholic liberal arts college within a Dominican heritage that is universal in welcoming all who will profit by their experience here.
Catholic in the Dominican Tradition AQ International Programs: Rome, Italy
Students in Rome with the Pope  
Emily Hazelbach: My Study Abroad Experience in Rome
Emily Hazelbach

"There is no better way to start your day than waking up at 5 a.m., hopping on a bus at 6 a.m., and attending mass at St. Peter’s at 7 a.m., followed by drinking a cup of cappuccino and eating $0.30 pastries while enjoying the beautiful sunrise and awakening of the city of Rome. That was my normal life during my semester in Rome, and I could not have been more pleased with my time spent experiencing a new culture while studying abroad through the Italy program. The opportunities I’ve had, things I’ve learned, and the growth I’ve gained spiritually, I will have for the rest of my life, and it is truly a blessing.


From the first time I met the director of the Rome program, Mr. Assaf, at the airport, when he bought all the arriving students cappuccinos, I knew it was going to be a great upcoming three months. Little did I know at the time that was only one of the many cappuccinos I would be treated to all semester. Stepping outside the airport, everything became real, and I realized I was beginning a journey of a lifetime." >Read More About Emily's Experience (pdf)

"The Christian Vision of the Human Person and the Catholic Liberal Arts Tradition."
Dr. Dennis Marshall

Dr. Dennis Marshall, Professor of Theology
"The Christian Vision of the Human Person and the Catholic Liberal Arts Tradition."

According to its Strategic Plan, Aquinas College aims to be “the exceptional Catholic liberal arts college.” In what ways does the Christian vision of the Human Person impact this goal?  Dr. Dennis Marshall, Professor of Theology at Aquinas College, answered this question in a college-wide lecture on Nov. 19, 2012.

>Listen to Dr. Marshall's lecture (mp3)

Visiting Scholars in Catholic Studies at Aquinas College
Dr. Eduardo Echeverria


During summer 2012, Dr. Eduardo Echeverria taught Theologians of the Great Tradition: John Paul II’s Theology of the Body at Aquinas. Dr. Echeverria is Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit. Other visiting scholars who have taught for Catholic Studies include Dr. Joseph Stuart, Assistant Professor of History and Catholic Studies at the University of Mary.

Catholic Studies Minor and Newly-Wed in Commencement 2012 Ceremony
By: Samantha Rinkus ‘11
Paul Fahey

Senior Paul Fahey had a couple extra reasons to be excited for the May 5, 2012 Commencement ceremony. Graduating cum laude with his Bachelor of Arts in theology and double-minors in history and Catholic studies, Fahey also took the stage to lead the Benediction during the closing ceremony of Aquinas’ 125th Anniversary.

“I was really honored, and actually kind of surprised [that they chose me],” Fahey said. “I put in somebody else’s name who I thought was qualified, I didn’t even know I was an option in people’s minds."


>Read More

My Path to Rome: A Student's Perspective on Catholic Studies and the Rome Semester
By: Adam Kubiak, '12

The Eternal City. Most people would give anything to be able to spend any time in Rome, and the case is not much different when a study abroad opportunity is offered to a college student studying Art History. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. I expected to spend three months wandering around looking at a bunch of beautiful examples of Baroque architecture and immersing myself in Italian culture. Mostly eating pasta and drinking wine, right? Wrong.


There is so much more to Italian culture and it all hinges upon the Catholic tradition which is extremely prevalent in everything Roman. Once I realized that it wasn’t going to be simply an extended vacation, I immediately began to rely heavily upon my Catholic Studies education. Nothing could have prepared me better than the time I spent reading the memoirs, novels, and theology of great Catholics as well as studying the history of the Catholic Church and Christianity in general.


The time I spent on the "Path to Rome" with Belloc and reading about" The Everlasting Man" through the eyes of Chesterton gave me a real idea of what it means to be a Catholic in the Eternal City. Being a Catholic in Rome is all about being a member of a greater community. This feeling was solidified in my experience on a walking pilgrimage to the four Papal Basilicas of Rome during which we marched in time to prayers of “Ave Maria, Gratia Plena…” and received blessings and smiles from most everyone we passed. Rome is a Catholic city and my Catholic Studies became invaluable in truly experiencing what it means to live with Romanitas.


Being a part of the collective Catholic imagination is a constant journey that I began when I signed up for Catholic Studies, lived during my time in Rome, and continue to discover now.

Mark Murray Speaks at the Inauguration of President Olivarez

Mark Murray, AQ Catholic Studies Advisory Board Member and President of Meijer, Inc., was invited to speak at the inauguration of President Juan Olivarez on Oct. 26, 2011. Watch the entire inauguration ceremony at left or skip directly to Mark Murray's remarks.

Catholic Studies Students in the News
Catholic News Agency: "U.S. Students Remind Romans of Our Lady of the Rosary Feast"
Innovative Catholic Studies Math Class

The new Math and Theology course, CA210, was first offered in Spring 2011. Most of the students the first time around were theology majors who had picked up some useful tools for their theological studies. The course began with an introduction to symbolic logic, where the class saw the value of disjunctive syllogism, the rule of inference that can be summarized as "anything follows from a contradiction." For a student of world religions, for instance, a religion which allows contradictions in its basic tenets would not be an interesting religion from a logical standpoint, since literally anything would be true.

The students studied the structure of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem and then criticized examples of poor uses of the theorem which they easily found for themselves on the internet. The professor feels that demonstrating the flaws in another person's reasoning should get more attention in the college curriculum since the information superhighway is full of such junk.

Dr. Mike McDaniel
Dr. Mike McDaniel
The other two math topics in the course are Cantor's transfinite cardinals and non-Euclidean geometry. Because the math ideas have been used in important theological and philosophical writing, the course has been cross-listed in Catholic Studies and Mathematics. By the end of the course, students will have read from Wittgenstein, Aquinas, Kant and Dostoyevsky as well as theologians commenting on Rahner and Lonergan. Plus, the students will have seen examples which come in handy for refuting atheists, positivists, nihilists and people who think math is useless.
Now that the course has run once, the reading material can be split into works digestible outside of class and works requiring class time. The instructor hopes to offer this class in the future as a second semester quad course because the intelligence of the students the first time around has demonstrated their ability to wrestle with some passages completely on their own. >More Information (pdf)
Why I Chose Catholic Studies
By: Mary Carlson '10
Mary Carlson

When I decided during my fourth year at Aquinas to declare a minor in Catholic Studies, I was met with more than a little joking from my group of friends. Already a Theology major and self-proclaimed Catholic nerd, I appeared to be filling my academic career with an abundance of Catholic goodness. There was, however, more behind my decision than simply accumulating Catholicism laden course listings on my transcript.

My freshman year at Aquinas marked the first time that I delved into Catholicism. Although I received Baptism, Reconciliation, and Eucharist at the appointed times during my childhood, my experience of being Catholic rested solely within the Catholic elementary, middle, and high schools I attended. As a result, I had very little clue as to what living the Catholic faith meant.

This all changed when I came to Aquinas. Through a series of interactions with other students on campus who lived their faith with unrivaled vibrancy, I became involved in the Catholic Life club, attended Mass regularly, and decided to study Theology. Throughout my studies and personal spiritual growth, I still struggled with the idea of a Catholic world view. What did it mean to be Catholic and live in a secular world? How did Catholicism view secular endeavors such as nonreligious art, music, philosophy, etc.?

It was around the time that I grappled with these questions that the Catholic Studies minor was born. With courses such as “The Catholic Intellectual Tradition,” “Catholic Writers,” a seminar on Catholic Culture, and various others, I conceived that it would certainly be helpful to take one or two courses – and after doing so, decided to declare the minor.

When I finished my final semester at Aquinas last spring with a completed Catholic Studies minor, I realized that my completion of the minor had not only challenged and strengthened me intellectually, but also helped to provide a roadmap on my journey to understanding the Catholic faith and world view. Through my classes, readings, discussions, and assignments, I discovered the rich presence of God that Catholicism recognizes in all areas of creation. From the literature of both Catholic and non-Catholic writers to varying interpretations of history to the reflections of philosophers, I learned to see that God works within and through it all. Catholicism possesses a rare gem of a worldview in that instead of segregating the secular world from the Christian, it seeks to bring the entire spectrum of creation and humanity under the lens of the love of God – identifying that His presence flows through all things.

As a direct result of the Catholic Studies program, I left Aquinas with a greater understanding of how to be a young Catholic and live with hope and love in today’s society amidst rampant secularism. There is not much else anyone could ask for from a degree program, and I would highly recommend Catholic Studies at Aquinas to anyone looking for a deeper understanding of what it means to live in the world and understand it through a Catholic perspective.


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