Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

September
05, 2011

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.

N.B.: The same day’s issue of the Star also featured a brief item about the College’s perfect rating from the American Council of College Trustees and Alumni.


Dr. Paul O'ReillyOn 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.


Br. Andrew Marie Norton ('06)We have received the joyful news that Br. Andrew Marie Norton (’06) will soon make his solemn profession as a Benedictine monk at Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Abbey in Hulbert, Okla. Br. Andrew is one of 10 Thomas Aquinas College alumni at Clear Creek, including the Abbey’s subprior, Rev. Mark Bachmann, O.S.B. (’82). Writes Br. Andrew:

I will be making my solemn profession on Sept. 8, and this fills me with joy. I am so grateful to God for having led me on this path, to a life of intimacy with Himself. As this happy day approaches, I humbly ask for your prayers, that the Lord grant me the smallness necessary to soak up all of His love, like a sponge. Please be assured of my continued prayers …

Please pray for Br. Andrew as this beautiful day approaches!


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.”


A Class of 2010 graduate’s homage to her alma mater is now available on YouTube. Watch the video above to see some gorgeous pictures of the campus and to hear the beautiful voices of the Thomas Aquinas College choir.


Greg Pfundstein (’05), who wrote an article a few weeks back about the Obama Administration’s contraceptive-coverage mandate, has a new story in Public Discourse. Writes Mr. Pfundstein:

What if we don’t want our daughters cataloguing the condom inventory of the local drug store or visiting an abortion clinic for homework? What about our freedom of choice, our right to privacy? Keep your mandates off our children’s innocence.

See the whole story, Sex Ed Mandates and Children’s Innocence, on the Public Discourse website.

Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor recently produced a segment on this subject, posted below. Mr. Pfundstein makes a brief appearance at the 00:39 mark:


August 16,
2011

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.


Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93)A frequent guest on the Catholic Answers Live radio program, Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93) recently ventured into less friendly airwaves. At the recommendation of the office of Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput, Dr. de Solenni appeared on an episode of NPR’s “On Point” to discuss the topic, “Ordaining Women Priests.” Despite being outnumbered — her two fellow panelists were both excommunicated Catholic dissidents, and the host and most of the callers decidedly took their side — she did a commendable job of defending the all-male priesthood as instituted by Christ. To quote from her opening remarks:

“In order to understand the Church’s position on this you have to go to a more metaphysical reality, and that is the relationship between Christ and the Church. From the perspective of Catholic theology, that relationship between Christ and the Church is spousal; it’s husband and wife, bridegroom and bride. And the priest is seen as someone who — in the Latin we say is in persona Christi — he’s someone who is in the person of Christ. And it doesn’t mean he just stands in for Christ, it means he really takes on the person of Christ, and that’s why in the Mass he’s able to transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. So for Catholics that’s not a symbol that’s an actual reality, and this relationship between Christ and the Church is not a symbol, it’s an actual reality. So when we talk about all-male priesthood it’s because that man who becomes a priest is actually representing Christ in His fullness, which includes His maleness.”

You can stream the program or (Dr. de Solenni enters at about the 11:30 mark), or download the podcast.


Sermons of Bl. John Henry NewmanTo 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.
 


Greg Pfundstein ('05)Over at National Review Online, Greg Pfundstein (’05) has written a new article, The Misguided Birth Control Crusade Continues, in which he critiques the Obama Administration’s requirement that all insurance plans fully cover contraceptive devices and sterilization surgery. Writes Mr. Pfundstein:

“President Johnson’s fruitless War on Poverty kicked off the nation’s misguided birth-control crusade with grants for ‘family planning’ in 1965. The effort was redoubled in 1970 when, thanks to the efforts of John D. Rockefeller III and George H. W. Bush, Title X of the Public Health Service Act was signed into law by Richard Nixon the day after Christmas. Since 1970, the out-of-wedlock birthrate has tripled to 41 percent. With the help of the Supreme Court with its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, we have also seen the number of abortions spike through the 1980s and reach an equilibrium today at between 1.2 and 1.3 million annually. Both results are at least unexpected from the perspective of a public policy based on the premise that access to contraception will decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies. But perhaps such an outcome should not be surprising.”

Mr. Pfundstein is the Executive Director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation, non-profit philanthropy in New York. He  holds a licentiate in philosophy from the Catholic University of America, and serves on both the Patient’s Rights Council and the Pro-Life Commission of the Archdiocese of New York.