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  • Writer's pictureBeth Mortensen

Aquinas Giveaway – Celebrating 15 years of the Aquinas Institute

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

Happy feast of St. Thomas Aquinas! This year marks the Aquinas Institute‘s 15th anniversary of promoting St. Thomas‘s way of thinking, studying, and loving. In order to celebrate we will be collecting donations and subscriptions from which we will draw seven lucky winners on March 7th. Each winner will receive a free book of the winner’s choice from our Aquinas Opera Omnia Series.

Everyone subscribed to our newsletter on March 7th will have one entry in the drawing. For each donation made between now and March 7th, one additional entry will be counted for every $10 donated to the Opera Omnia series or the Ukrainian Refugee fund. Spread the word and join the celebration!

Fifteen Years As Students of Aquinas

We began in the summer of 2008 with theology courses to assist the Carmelite monks who had recently established a monastery in northwestern Wyoming. The students, who also included several lay graduate students, read and discussed the Prima Pars of the Summa Theologiae along with our faculty — friends we had invited from around the world. The following summer our courses attracted even greater numbers as we read through St. Thomas‘s Commentaries on the Letters of St. Paul.

The Opera Omnia in bilingual print edition

Those courses helped us polish translations for publication when we launched our print edition in 2012. Thomas‘s Pauline Commentaries and the Summa Theologiae were the first in our ongoing project to publish the Opera Omnia of Aquinas. Today we have brought forth more than half of the projected 60 volume set, with more volumes slated to come forth in the next year. See the timeline of projected volumes here.

We were awarded grants for translating Aquinas‘s works by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2014 and 2017. The NEH must have been surprised to learn that the medieval theologian‘s works have sold in the tens of thousands since we launched this project in 2012. We attributed the success to St. Thomas‘s perennial importance across numerous disciplines, and the fact that our bilingual hardcover books show the Latin text alongside the English translation, making the books helpful to scholars, novices, and everyone in between. Since we are a non-profit organization the proceeds from the sales of our books go toward keeping them in print. You can help further our work by donating.

We recently acquired the rights to the complete works of St. Augustine in Latin — something we had been working on for the past several years. In conjunction with the English translations that we acquired from New City Press, we aim to begin bringing forth Augustine‘s Opera Omnia in our signature bilingual editions this year.

Aquinas‘s Complete Works Online

In order to facilitate editing and translating our texts for publication, we developed an online searchable editor containing all of Aquinas‘s works in Latin. As English translations become available, those texts are displayed side-by-side with the Latin.

We get so much feedback on the helpfulness of our online engine that we are planning to upgrade it over the next two years to add features to our notetaking and bookmarking tools. In addition, the online editor has the capacity to display Thomas‘s texts in other languages in parallel columns, and in collaboration with friends in Europe we are preparing to add French, Spanish, and Polish in the near future.

Online Great Books Seminars and Graduate Theology Courses

Though the pandemic may have slowed our publication schedule somewhat, it was also the occasion of a new area of outreach. We began offering online zoom classes in the liberal arts and graduate theology. Our endeavor to help form “Thomases” inspired us to offer courses that are real-time discussions of sacred and classical texts. The online format makes this life-changing pedagogy available to anyone, from retirees and stay-at-home moms to those employed full-time in the workforce. In the last year we began partnering with St. Bernard‘s School of Theology in Rochester, NY, to offer undergraduate liberal arts courses as well as accredited courses in graduate theology.

Amicitiae: Aid to Ukrainians

Our friendship with St. Thomas evolved through our own discussions of his works with friends from all over the world. Now our friends in the Ukraine are suffering. Last March we launched Amicitiae, a campaign to raise funds to aid Ukrainians in need. Our dear friend Fr. Yuriy Kolasa, vicar general of Ukrainian Catholics in Austria, has been our main liaison, so that 100% of donated funds go to refugees in Austria and diocesan relief in Lviv, Kyiv, and Kharkiv. Click here to donate to Ukrainian relief.

Looking Forward

Our little labor of love could never have grown and flourished as it has without the contributions of dozens of editors, translators, professors, students, programmers, and proofreaders. As we look forward to bringing St. Thomas‘s entire Opera Omnia into print, and subsequently St. Augustine‘s, we are always looking for collaborators to help us bring this project to fruition. A printed text is never perfect: help us perfect ours by sending us corrections. We are in need of translators, software developers, and editors who can help us add and align texts in the online database. Contact us if you would like to help!

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