Faith in Action Blog
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)
On Sunday night, Rev. Joseph Lee, F.S.S.P (’00), and Vanessa Brink (’04) appeared on EWTN’s Life on the Rock. The two spoke about Juventutem, a lay association founded in response to Pope John Paul II’s 2004 invitation to aid young Catholics who want want to participate in the extraordinary form of the Mass. You can watch the episode here:
Col. Sam Shaneyfelt, USAF (’86), right, 35th Operations Group commander, assumes command of the operations group during an official change of command ceremony at Misawa Air Base.The alumni of Thomas Aquinas College put their faith into action in myriad ways. Consider Col. Sam Shaneyfelt, USAF (’86), who on September 5 assumed command of the 35th Operations Group at Misawa Air Base in Misawa, Japan. As such, he is responsible for flight operations, airfield management, intelligence, tactical air control, combat plans, weapons and tactics, and weather support for the Air Force’s 35th Fighter Wing. Previously he served as the Operations Director for the Combined Forces Air Component Commander at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
“Thomas Aquinas College gave me a foundation which allowed me to seek truth in all things and to come by basic concepts of tactical weaponry and fighter employment more easily,” he says in this profile. “I’m also particularly thankful for obtaining a sound understanding of my faith and a closeness to the sacraments.”
We have learned the joyful news that another alumnus has entered the religious life. In August, Arden Mills (’08) was received into the novitiate of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, based in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. In addition to blessing him with the religious habit, his superiors also conferred upon him his religious name, Br. Peter — “after St. Peter the Apostle,” he writes.
The College is grateful for the prayers of all its alumni religious, and we continue to keep them all, including Br. Peter, in our prayers.
Fresh off defending the Church on NPR one month ago, Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93) appeared on Catholic Answers Live last week, where she spoke on the subject, “Lifelong Growth in Faith.” Dr. de Solenni is a frequent guest on the apologetics program, the nation’s top-rated Catholic radio show. Below are links to streaming audio and podcasts for her three most recent appearances:
- Lifelong Growth in Faith (September 7)
- Is the Church Sexist? (April 25)
- What Was Feminism? (January 21)
Oklahoma Living magazine has published a fascinating profile of Br. Joseph-Marie Owen, O.S.B. (’76), the lay brother who runs the farm for the Benedictine monks at Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Abbey in Hulbert, Okla. The article discusses the great care Br. Joseph-Marie takes in raising a herd of Katahdin sheep, his reliance on some ancient shepherding techniques, and how his work and prayer life are one in the same. “There’s great joy in this life, but all this is only provisional,” he says. “It’s a dress rehearsal.”
Br. Joseph-Marie was one of the 13 monks from the 900-year-old Abbey Notre Dame de Fontgombault in France who founded Clear Creek in 1999, along with the Abbey’s subprior, Rev. Mark Bachmann, O.S.B. (’82). There are currently 10 Thomas Aquinas College alumni at Clear Creek, including Br. Andrew Marie Norton, O.S.B. (’06), who will make his solemn profession tomorrow.
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.
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.”