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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Beecher

Mind the Gap: What I Missed and Where I Found It

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

When I was in high school, we read the Odyssey as a comic book. And what insight did it offer us? That we were incapable of reading great works of Western civilization; that Homer, Aristotle, and Dante were all beyond our comprehension.

Now, my younger brother kicks his feet up on the couch as he puzzles over Augustine‘s Confessions. At seventeen, he‘s read more classic literature than most people will in their whole lifetimes. But even better, he is learning to think. His reaction to political unrest is more constructive and thoughtful than expected of his age. His approach to relationships has a perspective that we often consider impossible in adolescents. These books don‘t cripple his potential, locking him in a room of tallow candles and leather armchairs where knowledge is abundant and practicality nonexistent. On the contrary, he plans to study engineering, commission in the U.S. Army, and hopes to have a family.

As a student at a classical high school, he is one of the lucky few asking perennial questions before he needs the answers. I, on the other hand, wasn‘t so fortunate. I faced comedy, tragedy, faith, and flourishing armed with nothing fiercer than the dusty pages of an Odyssey comic book.

After college, I tried to read some of these so-called Great Books on my own. The pages swam before my tired eyes, and I spent more time frustrated than enlightened. After suffering through the first few pages of Nicomachean Ethics, it found itself at the bottom of my tote bag, weighing me down for weeks in the pitiful expectation that an extra hour would carve itself out of the day. Later, I signed-up for an asynchronous online course with YouTube links and reminder emails that wound up equally boring, hopeless, and with the added bonus of piling on guilt that I “wasn‘t doing my homework”.

I thought my chance was over. That, in spite of having obtained what the world deemed an exceptional education, nods to Plato in The Truman Show would always go over my head.

Until this summer, when I found the Aquinas Institute. And like so many, I wondered, “Where has this been all of my life?!” Class conversations are inspiring, the readings empowering, and the effect of consistent intellectual stimulation on my conversation and friendships astonishing. I am meeting authors and saints face-to-face, and their stories are changing my life.

Academia needs the disruption that the Aquinas Institute has recently set in motion. Unlike conventional four-year institutions or the monotonous multitude of online options, the Aquinas Institute features a curriculum of 100% primary sources and uses leading technology to facilitate real-time, discussion-based classes that are both affordable and globally accessible. Here we have it: unadulterated truth and personal encounter from the comfort of your living room chair.

The details…now enrolling Spring 2021!

  1. Two tracks: liberal arts and theology.

  2. A Graduate Theology Curriculum, consisting of 12 integrated courses towards an MA in Theology. Spring 2021 features the never before been seen Latin-to-English translation of Aquinas’s Commentary on Isaiah among its class materials! Adults looking for a more serious engagement with theology, including priests, religious, catechists, and schoolteachers, should check out this program; nothing quite like it has ever been offered before.

  3. An undergraduate Liberal Arts Curriculum consisting of 12 accredited courses in humanities, philosophy, and theology. Whether you are drawn toward the epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey or you want to explore firsthand the documents of Vatican II, this program is for students ready to do college-level work, students already enrolled in state universities looking for a way to more robustly fulfill general education requirements, and people of any age group and background who want to fill in gaps in their own education.

  4. Faculty: Professors hail from across the globe as the professed personal friends of Aquinas, Augustine, Plato, Dante, Aristotle, John Paul II, and Edith Stein through their studies and teaching experiences at Austria‘s International Theological Institute, Wyoming Catholic, Baylor University, the Catholic University of America, and more.

  5. Format: Classes are held via Zoom – all live, all discussion-based. Courses may be taken 1, 2, or 3 at a time — whatever best fits one‘s schedule. Visit our website for a complete list of Spring 2021 course offerings.

  6. Application Deadline: Apply online by January 1st, 2021. Financial Aid available.

Help us to get the word out by telling your family, friends, and acquaintances!

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