St.Thomas Lumen A Catholic Studies Publication | SPRING 2022
AND THE MISSION CONTINUES Rome Reopened
St.Thomas Lumen SPRING 2022
Published by the University of St. Thomas Center for Catholic Studies 55-S
2115 Summit Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105 (651) 962-5700
Finding a NewMission and Culture ............................................. 4 Navigating Higher Education with Catholic Studies . .......................... 6 From the Heart of Catholic Studies Alumni Vocations Thrive. ......................9 A Flannery O’Connor Pilgrimage. ............................................ 12 St. Thomas of the Creator.................. 16 News/Did You Know?......................... 20 Institute Updates: Latino Scholars Program and the Ryan and Murphy Institutes. ...... 23 Trusting the Church............................ 24 Alumni Notes and News. ................... 27
Catholic Studies Communications Karen Laird Associate Director, Center for Catholic Studies Editor Brant Skogrand ’04 MBC, APR, CPPM Designer Carol Garner Photographers Mark Brown Liam James Doyle
Contributors John F. Boyle Jennifer S. Bryson Ida Friederike Görres Emma Miller ’22 Michael J. Naughton Teresa Naughton ’15 CSMA Katie Sadowski ’24 Rachel Sherry ’21, ’23 CSMA Cover image The front of the Bernardi Campus in Rome, Italy. Photo by Mark Brown
The University of St. Thomas is an equal opportunity educator and employer. St. Thomas does not unlawfully discriminate, in any of its programs or activities, on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, family status, disability, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, membership or activity in a local commission, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. stthomas.edu/eostatement
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O ne of the great delights of the 2021-22 academic year was our return to Rome! After more than a year away due to the pandemic, men from Saint John Vianney College Seminary returned to the Irish College in the fall and a group of our majors and minors returned to the Bernardi Campus in February for full semesters of the academic, spiritual, and cultural integration of Catholic Studies in the Eternal City. In gratitude, we are gracing the cover of this issue of Lumen with a shot of Bernardi, the Catholic Studies home in Rome. The content of this issue of Lumen introduces you to alumni, students and faculty whose formation in Catholic studies has brought them to significant places. A.J. Barker ’22 CSMA , who now teaches religion at Saint Thomas Academy, tells his story from the heights of Division I football to the valleys of poor decisions, and the completion of his Master of Arts in Catholic Studies. And Teresa Naughton ’15 CSMA describes her pilgrimage into the life and works of Flannery O’Connor during a transformative journey to the South.
In June, Dr. Julie Sullivan will conclude her tenure as president of the University of St. Thomas to become president of Santa Clara University.We wish Dr. Sullivan great success in her new work, and we are happy the move allows her to be closer to family.We are particularly grateful for Dr. Sullivan’s support of our growing Latino Scholars programwhich, during her presidency, helped 47 Latino students and their families realize the dream of a college education rooted in the richness of the faith.We are very pleased that Rob Vischer , dean of the School of Law and a member of the Catholic Studies Advisory Board, has been named interim president and will provide strong leadership during the transition. Finally, we are looking ahead to Sept. 23, 2023, when we will celebrate Catholic Studies’ 30th anniversary. This will be a special time to honor those who have gone before us – our leadership, alumni and friends – and to look to the future of this life-changing program. World-renowned art historian, Dr. Liz Lev , will be our keynote speaker as we mark this milestone. Watch for more details in future newsletters.
JOHN F. BOYLE, CHAIRMAN DEPARTMENT OF CATHOLIC STUDIES
MICHAEL NAUGHTON, DIRECTOR CENTER FOR CATHOLIC STUDIES
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FINDING A NEW MISSION AND CULTURE
By KAREN LAIRD
A.J. Barker was a standout athlete in high school and a D-I football player in college. Now he is an alumnus of the Master of Arts in Catholic Studies program and a religion teacher at Saint Thomas Academy, an all-male, college prep Catholic school in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. As more than 20 sixth-grade boys tumble into Mr. Barker’s room for religion class, oxford shirts are tucked in, ties are straight and voices are loud. Barker smiles at the innocent chaos around him as he calmly walks to the whiteboard to start the period with a prayer. The volume drops and class begins.
was neither straight nor smooth. But it was intentional, and he draws on that experience as he travels down a new road deeply immersed in the mission and culture of Catholic education. As a talented athlete, Barker’s first mission was to find success on the football field. He was a professed atheist, and he viewed the world through a godless lens. But this mission was interrupted when his football career ended abruptly during his senior year of college. The culture upon which he had built his life crumbled beneath him. The soul searching began, literally and figuratively. It was a dark, lonely time filled with equal measures of anger and self- loathing. Fortunately, his well- grooved discipline and desire to seek excellence served him well as he searched for answers.
All within a secular context, Barker used this time to get healthy, to meditate and to seek virtue. “I wanted to know the truth of things and I was trying very hard to do this without God,” he says.
He consumed everything he could find in art, literature,
culture, poetry, psychology and philosophy. He read Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Kierkegaard and the Bible, among others. He wrestled with the literary, philosophical and spiritual “giants” and identified with their struggles. A painfully slow process, Barker started to think that perhaps “this religious thing was not what I first thought.” Barker eventually “stumbled” across Introduction to Christianity , then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s 1968 groundbreaking work on the Apostle’s Creed, and everything changed. “I read it in a week and
His road to the front of a classroom, not to mention the Catholic faith and Catholic Studies,
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Below left: Barker runs for a touchdown as a wide receiver for the Minnesota Gophers. Above: Barker teaches religion to high school students at Saint Thomas Academy.
found the answers I was looking for,” he says. “I could confidently say ‘yes’ to each of the statements in the Creed. I finally found God.” Fast forward through his conversion and entrance into the Church. Barker next started down a path of inquiry that led him to Catholic Studies. None of this happened easily or overnight, but it happened with Barker-style purpose. In December, after two years as a part-time CSMA student, Barker successfully defended his thesis, “Toward the Common Good: The Natural Law and the Modern World,” with honors. Thus, Barker’s new mission has begun. Now, all within a context of faith and reason, he speaks passionately about the integration of faith across the spectrum of a Catholic school – in the hallways, the classroom and on the playing
field. He frequently asks, “How do these students see themselves?” and “How do they see God and the Church?” Barker knows that his students do not yet have the answers, but he believes these are the questions that should permeate the culture in which they are being formed. The Catholic Studies mission of exploring the impact of the Incarnation on thought and culture is Barker’s new mission. “I can’t make a student holy, but I can try to expose him to the content of virtue and holiness,” he says. “I believe that is the core of Catholic education – that we are teaching more than just mathematics or science or language or history. Sharing in the life of grace opened to us through and in Christ is the point of it all. It is truly worth everything.”
For more information on Catholic Studies graduate programs and scholarships, please contact …
Vincent Ruiz-Ponce Program Manager firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 962-5713
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Common Good Profile
Navigating Higher Education with Catholic Studies
By JOHN F. BOYLE AND MICHAEL J. NAUGHTON
As chairman of the Department and director of the Center for Catholic Studies, we spend a lot of time helping high school students and their parents navigate the often difficult process of choosing a university. Our first question is simply this: What do you want at the end of four years? We then propose three goals for students to consider: F irst, you want your faith stronger than when you arrived, and you want it informing every aspect of your life, including your studies. S econd, you want your moral character stronger than when you arrived. That is about making good friends. Good friends help you; bad friends hurt you. T hird, you don’t want to spend the rest of your life in your parents’ basement; you want to be prepared to shoulder the full responsibilities of adulthood.
Unfortunately, these three goals are increasingly elusive for students. Research tells us that a majority of young people lose their faith in college. They connect with weak friends who drag them down to screen fixations, excessive alcohol consumption, pornography addiction and other unhealthy habits. The result is that many students graduate, but only some are prepared to take on adult responsibilities and default to the proverbial basement. For students who seek to mature and develop in college and take control of their education, Catholic Studies is rich in opportunities to grow in one’s faith, to develop good and deep friendships, and to prepare to embrace joyfully the responsibilities of adulthood. FAITH: A VISION OF LIFE Caravaggio’s painting, “The Calling of St. Matthew” (1600),
hangs over the fireplace in the Common Room of Sitzmann Hall, the home of Catholic Studies. This is an intentional choice because it captures the moment of Christ’s call and St. Matthew’s response. It is as if the tax collector is saying, “Who? Me?”
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“The Calling of St. Matthew” is a painting by Caravaggio, depicting the moment at which Jesus Christ inspires Matthew to follow him.
College is a time when students can respond to Christ’s call, prepare for the kind of work they will do, and hear the call to marriage or priesthood or religious life. Like St. Matthew, many students may even be surprised and inspired by the call. It is as if Jesus is saying, “Yes. You.”
In Catholic Studies, we seek to strengthen students’ faith through their studies. One of the claims of our Christian faith is that Jesus is the “Logos.” We translate logos as “word,” but in Greek it also means “reason.” Christ is the Divine Reason. Logos for the ancient Greeks is a power of the mind
that enables us to see a created order imprinted upon the universe. This logos, this power, is used to describe many of our disciplines: biology, geology, sociology, psychology, anthropology. These are human disciplines, forms of reason, of logos, that help us to see patterns in how the world works.
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Common Good Profile
At Catholic Studies, our courses engage the Divine, Creative Logos and place it in dialogue with these forms of reason, indeed with all forms of reason: literature, mathematics, philosophy, physics, politics, history, economics, the fine arts, theology and the professions. Faith and reason together give students a vision of the world that helps them consider all their decisions on the broadest conceptual map. Faith does not constrain forms of reason – science, economics, business, engineering – it enlarges and expands their meaning in one’s life. MORAL LIFE: FRIENDSHIPS Students become friends in Catholic Studies. For many, this happens in their freshman year when they live together in the Catholic Studies Telos Living Learning Community and study together in some of the same courses. “Telos” is another Greek word, and it means goal or purpose; it is good for students to be thinking about their purpose from the beginning of their time in college. Students become friends in the classrooms and library of Sitzmann Hall, at our social events and in the informal conversations on
the patio. During our study abroad program in Rome, students learn to support one other as they explore and discover new dimensions of their lives and their faith together in the Eternal City; such is the stuff of enduring friendships. One need only to look at the guest list of many Catholic Studies alumni weddings. Students form deep and lasting friendships in this program. Why does this matter? We are made for friendship. Our friends influence us. Good friends make us better; bad friends make us worse. Friends always make a difference. A student’s time in university is a time to grow in character. Good friends help make that happen.
The Mission of the Engineer or The Vocation of the Entrepreneur or Sex, Gender and Catholicism. St. Thomas has strong professional programs including business, engineering, computer science, pre-health and now nursing. Students in Catholic Studies come to think about their future professional life as united to their moral character and their lives of faith. The well-lived life is a unity. Additional and unique opportunities within Catholic Studies include our Leadership Interns and Latino Scholars programs, which prepare students for faithful leadership and service in a world that very much needs their contribution. High school students and their parents can navigate the complex reality of modern higher education with clarity if they are able to keep their focus on the most important goals. College is about opportunities. Students need to consider well what they want out of college and then seek out the opportunities that will make it possible. We think Catholic Studies provides just such opportunities for fulfilling ambitious life goals of faith, friendship, and professional and vocational responsibility.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: SHOULDERING THE RESPONSIBILITIES
Finally, university is a time to grow up, not a time to extend
adolescence. It is a time to become adults and prepare to shoulder the professional responsibilities of one’s chosen work and vocation. Catholic Studies’ students are encouraged to think about these responsibilities in courses such as
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Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus
FROM THE HEART OF CATHOLIC STUDIES ALUMNI VOCATIONS THRIVE By RACHEL SHERRY ’21, ’23 CSMA
T he heart of Sitzmann Hall is the chapel. On any given day, dozens of students greet our Lord as they arrive to study, attend class, or pray a holy hour. After all, Catholic Studies isn’t just about a degree; it’s about knowing and loving Christ. While most students leave Catholic Studies to bring Christ to the workplace or family life after graduation, the Lord calls some alumni to follow a different path. In fact, more than 200 Catholic Studies alumni are serving the Church throughout the world in 51 dioceses or religious orders (see Page 11 for a full list). One alumnus is Nick Vance ’18 . When he started college, Catholicism felt like a set of rules to Vance; but after his first class in Catholic Studies, he began to recognize the freedom found within
his faith. Like many others, Vance began to realize that the Church – though it may be perceived like a dark and oppressive cathedral – contains within it great space, depth and light. Catholic Studies taught
Now in his fourth year of priestly formation at The Saint Paul Seminary, Vance brings his Catholic Studies formation to the theology classroom. He recalled the first thing one of his professors, Dr. Christopher Thompson , told the class: “Gentlemen, if you want to do good theology, you need to fall in love and take careful notes.” Love is at the true center of good theology, and as Vance reflects, “That’s not only good theology, that’s Catholic Studies.” Love and good theology also led two 2019 graduates to consecrated life. Catherine Wessel and Katherine “Kat” Kennedy both entered the Sisters of Mary Morning Star, a contemplative, non- cloistered community located in the tiny town of Ghent, Minnesota. These holy women dedicate their lives to pursuing wisdom as they
Nick Vance ‘18
him to find Christ in the Church and in “ten thousand places,” as Gerard Manley Hopkins writes. Every class he took gave him a “wide-angle vision” to pursue the Lord with his whole self. “It’s not just an academic program,” he reflects. “It’s a way of life.”
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attend classes imbued with love of the Lord. “Happiness is a real thing and it is found in Christ,” Zita confidently proclaims – a lesson she learned from her very first class in Sitzmann Hall. “I really didn’t know it before [Catholic studies], but the truth is incredible ... the one we are seeking to know is a person.” Another Catholic studies alumna who entered religious life is Sister Agnes Pia ( Kathryn Horlocker ’14 CSMA ). Though she studied civil engineering in college, she moved to Minnesota to begin a graduate degree in Catholic studies and discern her vocation. Here she met
together to explore how chapel designs can reflect the soul’s union with God. “The space informs the person,” she says. Likewise, the environment of Catholic Studies forms its students. Cullen Hilliker ’20 , a Dominican brother in his second year of formation with the Order of Preachers, attributes much of his formation to Catholic Studies as well. Now called Brother Joseph
Catherine Wessel ‘19 and Sister Zita (Katherine “Kat” Kennedy ‘19)
study theology and philosophy, craft homemade goods in workshops, and adore our Lord for hours in silent prayer. Catherine, a current novice awaiting her habit and religious name, and Kat, now called Sister Zita (meaning “seeker”), credit Catholic Studies with awakening in them a desire for truth. A pivotal experience for Catherine was her semester in Rome in 2017, where she fell in love with the universality of the Church: “I feel like I can better offer my life for the Church, having seen Rome ... I know what I’m offering my life for as a contemplative.” But it isn’t just Rome that gives her purpose. “Knowing that Catholic Studies exists is really encouraging,” she explains. “It pushes me to live more fully my contemplative life, knowing in faith that it’s going to bear fruit in the lives of the people who are out in the world studying and bearing witness to the truth in an apostolic way.” Catherine’s prayers now support the very place that formed her vocation. Zita knew going into her Rome semester in 2019 that she would move to Ghent after returning to the U.S. Life in the Rome program was a “time of confirmation” for her where students have abundant possibilities for prayer and daily Mass as they
Brother Joseph Cullen (Cullen Hilliker ‘20)
Cullen, his decision to enter religious life was surprising to many. Nearly engaged and lined up with a job at NASA, Cullen heard the Lord’s call and left everything to follow Christ. The community he found in Catholic Studies formed his desire to grow in holiness and authentic friendship as he witnessed this in his peers and professors. With the “horarium,” or schedule, of classes, events and liturgy, Catholic Studies is fertile ground for structure, good habits and virtue. The program cultivates not only one’s faith, but one’s very life. Cullen reminisces about his lifelong friends and his home in Catholic Studies: “Sitzmann Hall became like a little home to me,” he says. The heart of Catholic Studies is still a home for these alumni and so many others.
Sister Agnes Pia (Kathryn Horlocker ‘14 CSMA)
the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, a local order with many connections to Catholic Studies, including their foundress, Mother Mary Clare ( Claire Roufs ’01 ). A year into graduate studies, Pia entered the Handmaids and returned later to finish her master’s degree. When it was time to write her master’s essay, Pia chose something she knew well: architecture. While
reading St. John of the Cross, Pia was reminded of a Gothic
architecture class she had taken as an undergraduate. Deep caverns, darkness and light certainly abound in Gothic spaces. With true Catholic Studies spirit, Pia fused the two
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CATHOLIC STUDIES ALUMNI SERVE THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD AS ORDAINED AND RELIGIOUS
Archdiocese of Anchorage- Juneau Archdiocese of Chicago Archdiocese of Denver Archdiocese of Indianapolis Archdiocese of Omaha Archdiocese of Seattle Archdiocese of St. Louis Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese of Tuam Augustinians Carmelites Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi Diocese of Bismarck Diocese of Duluth Diocese of Evansville Diocese of Fargo Diocese of Grand Island Diocese of Grand Rapids Diocese of Green Bay Diocese of Joliet
Diocese of Owensboro Diocese of Saskatoon Diocese of Sioux City Diocese of Sioux Falls Diocese of Saint Cloud
Diocese of Superior Diocese of Wichita Dominican Sisters of Mary – Mother of the Eucharist Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Filiae Laboris Mariae Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus Institute of the Incarnate Word Little Sisters of the Lamb Norbertine Fathers Order of Preachers (Dominicans) Order of Saint Benedict Pro Ecclesia Sancta Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara Sisters in Jesus the Lord Sisters of Life Sisters of Mary Morning Star Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
Diocese of La Crosse Diocese of Lafayette Diocese of Lansing Diocese of Madison Diocese of Marquette Diocese of Milwaukee Diocese of New Ulm
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A Flannery O’Connor PILGRIMAGE
By TERESA NAUGHTON ‘15 CSMA
“You have got to be kidding me.” This was my first thought upon finishing Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away. “This is Catholic? How? Why? Who is this O’Connor woman?”
and I tepidly approached her again with a different outlook. This time I would be ready for our fallen reality on painful display in the mirror she holds up for us. In my second attempt with O’Connor, I read her short story
While I moved on to other Catholic writers, O’Connor lingered in the back of my mind, haunting me a bit. I didn’t really know how I felt about her , but her writing certainly left an impression. Her piercing observations of our dire need for God’s mercy, our impulse to kick that reality aside, our ability to plow through life with a mediocre faith at best struck a chord. It wasn’t until many years later, however, that I gave in to the tug of O’Connor’s works and life again. Two things had happened: I had heard her home, Andalusia Farm in Milledgeville, Georgia, was a great place to visit, complete with guided tour and caged peafowl, a favorite pastime obsession for Flannery; and I stumbled upon a documentary on her life and writings, part of Bishop Robert Barron’s “Pivotal Players” series. With interest surprisingly renewed, I not only wanted to try more of her short stories, I wanted to get to know her . Newly empty nesters and longing for our first extended car trip by ourselves, my husband, Michael, and I decided on a two-week “pilgrimation” (a merged pilgrimage and vacation) to Georgia, the land of Flannery O’Connor, and began planning our trip. We dug up my old copy of The Complete Stories, borrowed our son’s copy of Collected Works for her essays and letters, and poured over a map of the Southern U.S. We also added a new resource, the Flannery O’Connor Collection (Word on Fire). An anthology divided into eight chapters, each composed of one of her stories with two letters and one essay
“Revelation,” which went a little better. I had been coached to read with a sense of detachment, looking underneath the surface ugliness of the unfolding situation while also looking inward and asking, “What can I learn? Where is God at work? What is the unseen story?” The key was to be ready for an offering of grace. More often resonating through violent means, these
My sentiments bordered on bewilderment, maybe even anger, as I was sideswiped by this dark, violent story that left me hanging with depraved characters at its end and, what seemed, little else. I chose to read this 20th-century Southern writer at the suggestion of a friend. After all, O’Connor’s name appears on many lists of Catholic writers to read, experience and get to know. But after this “experience,” I wasn’t so sure I wanted to know more. I told my friend I could hardly get through the corrupt characters, the murder and grotesque scandal. He smirked as he offered, “Yea, most people need a little help with her.” Luckily for me, he was able to help me back away from the state of frustration I had internally stirred up with not “getting” O’Connor’s work,
flashpoints of divine salvation serve to shock into self-awareness both the unsuspecting protagonist of the story and the off-guard reader. “To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures,” O’Connor is famously quoted in explaining her seemingly unseemly conduits of grace. Well, I had heard her with this last reading: the pain and anger of a young teenage girl, the pain and hypocrisy of an unsuspecting prideful older woman, and the grace literally slugging the woman in the face. Reading the episode felt awful, yet, strangely illuminating at the same time, like I had been through an overdue workout that had left me very sore and painfully aware of my need for more exercise.
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Flannery O’Connor’s dresser in her home in Milledgeville, Georgia.
related to it, the collection became the perfect one-book companion for our trip. We agreed on the following necessities for our pilgrimation: a daily rosary, daily Mass, music and food unique to the area, and stories or other O’Connor writings preferably shared aloud. We also included time for family visits and for experiencing the natural beauty along the way. We knew the trip was coming together nicely, but once en route, we were surprised at the
joy, peace and rest that we were experiencing, all because of a trip inspired by Flannery O’Connor! Not what I would have thought after first reading her. I think my reticence about O’Connor was really that I was a bit frightened by her. This shifted as I got to know her through her letter correspondences with close friends, her essays and talks to young writers, and the farm and town that fed her Gothic sensibility and imagination that she deftly put to work in presenting “the truth of things.”
“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it,” Flannery once explained. It is true her characters can be very hard to tolerate, and it is true it can be equally hard to accept God’s offer of grace, mercy and healing, especially in the most dire and violent of circumstances. Flannery O’Connor challenges me to look for grace, and then further challenges me to accept it.
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The Naughtons’ Itinerary INTO THE HEART OF THE CATHOLIC SOUTH NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE S t. Mary’s of the Seven Sorrows to begin experiencing the Catholic South R obert’s Western World to hear amazing bluegrass music The Johnny Cash Museum to hear the O’Connor character in his music MILLEDGEVILLE, GEORGIA Andalusia Farm to experience the home where O’Connor wrote most of her stories S acred Heart Church to attend Mass where O’Connor and her mother were daily communicants G eorgia State College to view some of O’Connor’s archived works M emorial Hill Cemetery to visit O’Connor’s gravesite alongside her mother and father SAVANNAH, GEORGIA O ’Connor’s childhood home in the Savannah Historic District to learn about her early years C athedral of St. John the Baptist to visit the church that O’Connor attended as a child Tybee Beach to rest, stroll, bike, and watch the moon and sun rise HOT SPRINGS, NORTH CAROLINA The Appalachian Trail to hike and enjoy spectacular views BARDSTOWN, KENTUCKY G ethsemane Monastery to pray with the monks of Thomas Merton’s community O ld Talbott Tavern and Maker’s Mark Distillery to cap off a wonderful trip with a great meal and tour
Mike and Teresa Naughton on the road in the Southern U.S.
Collected Works of Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Collected Works (Library of America) Flannery O’Connor Collection (Word on Fire Classics) The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Resources on Flannery O’Connor “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Audio recording of Flannery O’Connor (YouTube) “Flannery O’Connor” Pivotal Players Episode (Word on Fire) “Flannery: The Storied Life of the Writer from Georgia” (American Masters Documentary)
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ST. THOMAS OF THE CREATOR THE RETURN TO THE SAVIOR THROUGH RECOGNITION OF THE CREATOR
By EMMA MILLER ‘22
Emma Miller is a current senior at the University of St. Thomas, studying biology, Catholic studies and philosophy. After hearing about Ave Maria University’s undergraduate essay contest from Dr. William Junker, she submitted her paper, “St. Thomas of the Creator: The Return to the Savior Through Recognition of the Creator.” Miller received first place and presented an extended version of her paper at a conference at Ave Maria University in February.
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S hould St. Thomas Aquinas have taken a religious name as particularly done in the Carmelite order, it would have been “Thomas of the Creator.” First articulated by G. K. Chesterton, and later echoed by Josef Pieper and Joseph Ratzinger, this claim affirms the principal foundation of Aquinas’ writings, namely, that God is the creator. All treatments of identity, morality and teleology of the human person given by Aquinas emerge out of his understanding that man’s primary relation to God is that of a creature. In contemporary thought, this worldview of the creator-creation relationship has been outmoded by scientism and self-creation. Through the discoveries of evolutionary biology, the stance that Darwinian theory provides the complete narrative of human origins displaced the classical treatments of the human person as made in the image of God. However, the loss of historical “Adam” entailed the loss of the Fall, and thereby omitted the need for the savior. There is no doctrine of salvation without the doctrine of original sin, thus, to fill the vacuum that opened through the loss of the creator, contemporary thought has looked to self- creation and societal order for redemption. Only when one returns to a disposition of receptivity in one’s primary identity as creature can the need for salvation in Christ be recognized. Thus, Aquinas serves as a spiritual teacher in our age, as he sets the gaze of the world back upon the creator that we may find the savior. This paper will trace the issues of human identity and the relationship between divine and human agency as treated within the contemporary age resultant from the abandonment of the creator, and subsequent to each, it will reveal how Aquinas answers these issues by guiding our gaze back to the creator. The first issue pertains to human identity. In his book Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry , Alasdair MacIntyre sets out the three dominant moral and intellectual traditions found within the Christian, modern and postmodern eras of Western culture.
The Christian narrative recognizes man’s creation, Fall and salvation, thereby placing man’s primary identity in being a creature made in the image of God. The modern narrative retains creation only to the extent that deism affords yet eschews the other two; man is born good yet is corrupted by social institutions, thus, redemption emerges when man, equipped with rational agency, regains his independence through innovation. Here, man’s fundamental identity lies in being a rational agent. The postmodern narrative goes further, casting off
Emma Miller ‘22
creation and viewing human interactions through the lens of power structures. Now, one’s identity is neither in the image of God nor rational agency, but as a part of a group identity inherently set against others. Since “who you are” is uniquely tied to “what you do,” the novel judgments of human identity led to the shifted perspective of morality. The conflicting moral ideologies of modernity gave rise to the postmodern claim that morality amounts to nothing more than a social construct. Aquinas speaks into this issue, resolving both the question of identity and morality in one coherent point – that because virtue is tied to who man ought to be, it is inseparably tied to human identity. Made in God’s image by reason of intellectual nature, our identity reaches fulfillment as we imitate God
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in his intellectual nature. Thus, for Aquinas, the identity of the human person lies in the interplay of both being made in the image of God and realizing this image within him as he both grows in virtue and receives divine grace to become more like Christ. Secondly, Aquinas gives answer to the relationship of divine and human agency. In the modern narrative, divine agency amounts only to the “watchmaker God,” impersonal and removed from creation. This view of the universe’s complete autonomy was brought to its extreme in postmodernity’s nascency, where “God is dead.” Yet for Aquinas, God is “ipsum esse subsistens” – creation cannot be but wedded to the creator, for while all things partake in being, they partake in their creator who is “I AM.” Creation, therefore, is not simply a one-time event, but an ongoing act. By affirming God’s creative act, Aquinas reveals that God is not aloof to God’s work, as posited by modernity, but involved in every aspect of it. Yet God’s nearness to his creation goes further. He not only weds himself to creation through sustaining all things in existence, but “becomes one flesh” with it in the hypostatic union. Thus, countering modernity’s deist narrative of divine agency, Aquinas upholds the nearness of the creator to his creation through the Incarnation. And countering the postmodern claim of God’s death, Aquinas shows forth that indeed God did die – upon the Cross – yet he also rose from the dead and offers this new life to all who ask for it. Thus, once more, Aquinas brings us face to face with the savior. With regard to human agency, moreover, both modernity and postmodernity agree that man is
autonomous, independent and set to bring about his own redemption through work. For Aquinas, however, man is fundamentally dependent, for man is fundamentally a creature. Yet this dependence on divine agency does not annihilate human agency; rather, divine and creaturely agency cooperate. With regard to living creation at large, God invites creaturely agency to partake in its own creation through evolutionary speciation. With regard to the human person, God fashions man as a creature not yet finished, inviting him to participate in his own completion through intellection and love. This is particularly seen in his plan of salvation, for, as Augustine stated, “God did not will to save us without us.” Thus, Aquinas would say that the inclination of modern and postmodern man toward redemption through human agency, while surely disordered, does not have to be expunged completely. Instead, it must be conformed to the divine will that the two may act together. Paradoxically, this conformity does not restrain man, but gives rise to the fullness of freedom. Sanctity, therefore, is not resultant of human achievement, but the meeting of human weakness and divine grace. By rooting his treatment of the human person within man’s primary relationship with the creator, Aquinas gives the narrative of the Fall and original sin its proper footing, out of which recognition of the savior is made possible. Through addressing human identity and agency from within the creator-creature relationship, he serves as spiritual guide, inviting us to see the work of the savior in the world.
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In Our Prayers
R E Q U I E S C A T I N P A C E JeanGray
By KATIE SADOWSKI ’24
Jean Gray ‘51 , beloved alumnus and longtime benefactor of the University of St. Thomas, passed away on Jan. 11, 2022. Gray graduated from St. Thomas in 1951 with a degree in political science. He was an active member of the ROTC program during his four years at St. Thomas, and went on to serve two years in the Air Force as a second lieutenant. Following his service, he became a special agent in the FBI, where he worked for 30 years. Following his career in the FBI, Gray became a prominent figure at St. Thomas. His involvement began through his friendship with former St. Thomas president Monsignor TerrenceMurphy , who enlisted his help with establishing a St. Thomas alumni association on the East Coast. From there, Gray served on the joint
which honors a St. Thomas alumnus for outstanding contributions and service to the St. Thomas Alumni Association. Gray was an active participant in alumni events both locally and internationally. He was also a generous benefactor to the university, as he funded numerous scholarships, including his own named scholarship. “I had the pleasure of traveling with Jean to various parts of the world, including twice to Uganda in recent years. He was a man of quiet faith and a deeply rooted humanitarianism,” President Emeritus Father Dennis Dease said. “He never missed an opportunity to try to make some small part of the world a little bit better, and in so doing, I think he actually changed the whole equation.”
board of the Saint John Vianney College Seminary and The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity as well as on the board for the Center for Catholic Studies. “Jean Gray was a great friend to
St. Thomas and especially to Catholic Studies,” Michael
Naughton , director of the Center for Catholic Studies, said. “As a founding member of our Advisory Board, Jean gave generously of his time and resources. In particular, he had a special relationship with our Latino Scholars providing scholarships andmentoring to students.We will miss Jean’s beautiful witness to the faith and his warm personality.” In 1998, St. Thomas awarded Gray the Humanitarian Award. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Monsignor James Lavin Award,
St. Thomas Lumen Spring 2022 Page 19
Did you know? FACULTY AND STAFF UPDATES
After 19 years of service, Catholic Studies bids adieu to David Deavel , who will begin a new position in the fall as associate professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. Deavel first started teaching classes in the Department of Catholic Studies and serving as associate editor of LOGOS: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture in 2003. In 2015, he became a visiting assistant professor and editor-in-chief of LOGOS. Since 2020, he has served as co-director of the Murphy Institute, the Center for Catholic Studies’ joint venture with the University of St. Thomas School of Law.
“Dr. Deavel will be sorely missed by Catholic Studies,” says Dr. Michael Naughton. “His teaching, writing and public speaking has interdisciplinary breadth as well as theological depth. His voice is widely known in the community, and he brings the profundity of the Christian tradition to the public square today. Most of all I will miss his wit, good cheer and friendship.”
Catholic Studies said goodbye earlier this year to Liz Kelly ’08 CSMA , who has moved on from her position as managing editor of LOGOS. A prolific writer, her “Your Heart, His Home” syndicated column appears in many Catholic newspapers and magazines. Her award-winning books include Jesus Approaches and, most recently, Love Like a Saint . She put that talent and experience to good use for the center writing several profile pieces in Lumen, as well as in the day- to-day work of the journal. “We are known for being an academic journal with style,” says LOGOS
Editor David Deavel. “A lot of that was due to a managing editor who has her own style – and knows how to help authors say things with both precision and polish.” Kelly also co-hosted the “Deep Down Things” podcast with Deavel. “Liz doesn’t just talk to you,” Deavel says. “She talks to the Lord for you. And that makes all the difference in the world.” Kelly will continue her writing and speaking career. In the immediate future, she will be helping to facilitate parts of the upcoming Saint Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocesan Synod.
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ADVISORY BOARD UPDATE
Catholic Studies News
Beginning this summer, Dr. Raymond N. MacKenzie , professor in the Department of English, will serve as editor of LOGOS. A faculty member at St. Thomas since 1989, he teaches a graduate course in the Catholic novel for the CSMA program, in which students discuss works by authors ranging from Dostoevsky to Flannery O’Connor. In English, his favorite classes are those in Shakespeare, Milton, and Greek and Roman classics in translation.
Welcome Brian Sattler Brian Sattler is the former executive vice president of Business Services, general counsel and secretary at The Schwan’s Company. Sattler was employed at Schwan’s for 23 years and was promoted numerous times during his tenure. In his most recent position, he led all aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Sattler oversaw strategy, legal, compliance, food safety and quality, customer experience, manufacturing, plant sanitation, safety, corporate ethics, corporate records, and government and community affairs. He also handled insurance procurement, claims and litigation. Sattler served as board secretary with Schwan’s for nearly 20 years. Sattler and his wife, Andrea, have been married for 31 years. Their three children – Grant, Austin and Gretchen – all graduated from St. Thomas.
“Ray is a talented editor and brings years of experience to his new role as editor of LOGOS,” says Dr. Michael Naughton. “His familiarity with our graduate program and long friendships with our faculty make this a natural transition for him and for us. We look forward to welcoming Ray to Sitzmann Hall in June.”
In January, Catholic Studies welcomed Kathryn (Katy) Wehr as the new managing editor of LOGOS, an ideal fit as she loves being at the intersection of the arts, the intellectual life and ministry. Her academic specialty is the religious drama of Dorothy L. Sayers; she has edited a Wade Annotated Edition of Sayers’ The Man Born to be King , forthcoming January 2023.
Wehr has worked in parish faith formation, taught undergraduate theology, and is a songwriter, including a recent album, “And All the Marys,” exploring the stories of women in the Gospels. “I’ve known Katy for several years, and I can say that she is not just another accomplished person, but a delight to be around,” said LOGOS Editor David Deavel. “Katy is a superb writer and editor, and she is already a valuable part of the LOGOS team.”
St. Thomas Lumen Spring 2022 Page 21
Catholic Studies News
John Boyle received high praise for his most recent book The Order and Division of Divine Truth: St. Thomas Aquinas as Scholastic Master of the Sacred Pag e (Emmaus Academic, 2021). Theologian, author and speaker Dr. Scott Hahn, Franciscan University of Steubenville, says, like Thomas Aquinas “... Boyle writes not only for fellow scholars but for the faithful who share his desire to reach into the depths of Sacred Scripture, under the guidance of a great master.” In his foreword, Father Romanus Cessario, O.P., maintains, “... Professor Boyle has become a mainstay the world over for Aquinas studies.”
St. Thomas Vice President for Mission and Catholic Studies Advisory Board Member Christopher Collins ’93, SJ , has published Habits of Freedom: 5 Ignatian Tools for Clearing Your Mind and Resting Daily in the Lord . In the book, Collins offers practical spiritual exercises for incorporating five tools into daily life to help readers experience the calming presence of Jesus. “If you turn your heart to God you will find clarity and spiritual peace,” Collins says. Collins’ latest book was published by Ave Maria Press, and it was written for use in prayer and for parish groups seeking practical material that speaks broadly to readers from a variety of backgrounds and seasons of life.
Dr. Erika Kidd recently published a book chapter “Book IV: Fugitive Beauty” in Augustine’s Confessions and Contemporary Concerns , edited by Father David Meconi, SJ (Saint Paul Seminary Press, 2022). The chapter is a study of Augustine’s love of created beauty in Book 4 of the Confessions. She also published a journal article “Grief, Memory, and the Order of Love” in Studia Patristica CXVI, Vol. 13 (2021) about Augustine’s grief over his mother’s death. Kidd was invited to participate in the Portsmouth Institute for Faith and Culture Summer Virtual Conference last June and gave a short talk, “Medicine, Loss, and Christian Love.” In November, she presented “All in the Family: Learning and Laughter in Augustine’s De magistro ” at the American Catholic Philosophical Association Annual Meeting at St. Louis University. And in December, Kidd gave an Advent talk, “Mary’s Other Yes,” via Zoom for CSMA.
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LATINO SCHOLARS PROGRAM 2021-22 UPDATES
THE RYAN AND MURPHY INSTITUTES The Freedom, Subsidiarity and Spirit of Gift Conference, hosted by the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought and University of Public Service – Ludovika, will take place in Budapest, Hungary, in June. The Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy, along with several other institutions, are co-sponsors of this two-day conference dedicated to exploration of the Catholic social teaching principle of subsidiarity and its various applications, especially in regard to business, economy and society.
25 Latino Scholars
Latino Scholars studied abroad in Rome in 2022 3
Approximately 20 high school students
In anticipation of this summer’s conference, the Ryan and Murphy
participate in Verso L’alto, a college pathways program
Institutes developed a webinar series for the 2021-22 academic year to introduce themes that will be further explored in June. The four-part series examined public debt, fair and just taxation, the principle of subsidiarity, and the initiative of the Economy of Communion: “National Public Debt: A Threat to Freedom” featuring Dr. Zachary Stangebye, University of Notre Dame, Oct. 5, 2021 “On Paying our Fair Share” featuring Dr. Robert Kennedy, University of St. Thomas, Nov. 30, 2021 “Subsidiarity: Beyond a Principle of Efficiency” featuring Dr. F. Russell Hittinger, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Feb. 24, 2022 “Economy of Communion” featuring Dr. Jeanne Buckeye, University of St. Thomas, March 30, 2022
Our scholars represent 7 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES and are pursuing 19 DIFFERENT MAJORS
12 MALES 13 FEMALES
ALL LATINO SCHOLAR SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS serve the local Latino community as catechists or youth group leaders, leaders of a faith-based community on campus for Latino students, and leaders of the college pathways program
The Latino Scholars program is on track to welcome nearly 35 students for the 2022-23 academic year
A recording of each event in the series may be found at link.stthomas. edu/archive .
St. Thomas Lumen Spring 2022 Page 23
TRUSTING THE CHURCH Throughout the history of the Church, many of the great writers, artists and saints have not been shy in their critique of Church leadership. From Dante and Michelangelo putting prominent figures of the curia in hell to Catherine of Siena telling the pope, in no subtle terms, that he must return to Rome to lead his sheep, these figures have been fierce in their criticisms of ecclesial leaders. However, they were faithful to the living body of Christ.
This unwavering fidelity to the Church is something they share with Catholic writer Ida Friederike Görres. In her 1970 lecture “Trusting the Church,” included in the fall 2020 issue (Vol. 24, No. 4) of LOGOS and translated by Jennifer S. Bryson, Görres outlines a bleak and disheartening view of the Body of Christ at the moment but remains firm in her belief that Christ will care for his bride, the Church. In his eulogy for Görres, then-Father Joseph Ratzinger spoke of how she believed in “the living Church. She realized that the Church is not just an organization, a hierarchy, an administrative office, but an organism that grows and lives through centuries.”
This belief in a living Church comes with great responsibility. We must never lose heart when She is sick and ailing but “always pray from now on to defend the courage that has been entrusted to us, to defend that which is holy tenaciously, bravely, stubbornly, and at all costs.”
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W hat is still firm and tranquil today in the Church, in Christianity, in our faith? What does not waver and wobble? What is not being challenged from the outside and, most harshly, from the inside by theologians, by priests? Whom should we trust? A theology that continually explains its own bankruptcy via leading speakers; an interpretation of revelation that turns it into a rather unimportant science destroying its own foundations, rejects tradition, dissolves the Bible, denies the highest magisterium and, finally, as the capstone of their wisdom, invents absolute blasphemy, unutterable by any Jew, Muslim, or Gentile, which one can only quote to report on and say with physical reluctance: “God is dead.” (But their unfortunately endless production fills the shelves of Christian bookstores very profitably.) Is it any wonder when the worst, creeping fear sometimes invades even people of the best intention, in quiet hours, in the silence of sleepless nights: What if they might be right? There are so many, such smart people among them, in such a high, responsible positions, priests and laypeople! Can I alone be right against this throng of opposing witnesses? Against this immense flood, which is bursting forth out of the mass media – not least of all in Church radio and in printed works with ecclesial imprimatur and financed by the hierarchy? What am I to do, a poor individual, against a power that even the bishops seem to tremble at and tiptoe around? What if the rebels really were to own the future? What if this process,
which seems to us like destruction and betrayal, were actually God’s will and to resist it were impious and an act of petty faith? What if – an agonizing thought in the midnight hours – what if I were tied to a great but inexorably dying body, through merely emotionally stirring, but ultimately subjective, unreasonable inhibitions, habits, prejudices, antiquated piety, wrongly grounded loyalty? What if the people from whom we received faith and guidance were themselves blind guides for the blind? Are we living on a leaky ship sinking inch by inch, from which not only the rats but also the sensible, sober people jump off just in time? Who provides an answer for us in such hours? Whom else can we ask? Only the Church herself. I believe in God’s faithfulness. I trust the Church’s tremendous powers of regeneration – they will be awakened when the need is at its greatest. Precisely because she is a poor bride in misery now, she is more at the mercy of His grace than ever. I trust in her invisible allies, in the community of the saints in the old sense, in which we living are only a tiny part, embedded in the old image of the “three-story” Church: We the struggling, pilgrim Church between the suffering, where there is purification, and the triumphant (yes, in spite of the foolish narrowing of this forbidden word!), the Church of Heaven, perfected in the victory of Christ. I believe and trust that even the ugliest and worst manifestations of this revolution represent phases of
a necessary self-cleansing of the Church body and at the same time a well-deserved judgment. Even more, I trust the suffering in the Church. …Above all, the suffering among the many, many good, faithful priests, who hardly appear in the press and on television, but who … are consumed for those entrusted to them, even if they themselves are externally the weaker ones and have to watch the debauchery defenselessly. Their bitter suffering … is invisible martyr blood. It sprouts the seeds that grow in the winter night. I believe in the praying Church made up of laity and priests, the forbearing, the atoning Church. I believe in the hidden saints – there are certainly many – who participate today in Christ’s concealment of Holy Saturday. But I also believe that some visible messengers of God may be closer than we suspect. I believe in the many pure and good hearts among the youth who are concerned with what is real, who hunger and thirst for justice, who bide their time critically and are maturing gradually. God already knows them. He will call them at their hour. Didn’t Augustine even say, when his church was almost empty because of a circus festival: “Who knows how many future bishops are now sitting in the stands at the circus and applauding the gladiators!”
By Ida Friederike Görres, from “Trusting the Church,” included in the fall 2020 issue of LOGOS. Translated by Jennifer S. Bryson.
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