CBE - Faculty Associate
Dr. Mary Catherine Sommers
Dr. Mary Catherine SommersMary Catherine Sommers is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Thomistic Studies at the University of St. Thomas (Houston).  She has a BA from Whitman College (1971), an MSL from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (1976) and an MA (1972) and PhD (1982) from the University of Toronto. Dr. Sommers taught at Niagara University from 1978- 1986 and has been at the University of St. Thomas since 1987.  She was founding Director of the Honors Program (1988- 1998), initiated Undergraduate Research Day and was involved in launching both Service Learning and the Women, Culture and Society program at UST.

Her work includes an edition of Walter Burley’s Quaestiones super librum Posteriorum (Toronto: PIMS, 2000), articles on Burley and on Aquinas’s concept of religion and religious life, e.g., “Defense and Discovery: Brother Thomas’ Contra Impugnantes” in Laudemus viros gloriosos: Essays in Honor of Armand Maurer CSB. (Center for Thomistic Studies Series, University of Notre Dame Press, 2007), “Marriage Vows and ‘Taking up a New State’.” (Nova et Vetera, English Edition,Vol. 7, No. 3 [2009] 679–95)  and “Fides and Fidelitas in Thomas Aquinas” to be published in the proceedings of the colloquium Confiance, bonne foi, fidélité: la notion de “fides”dans la vie des societies médiévales 9 vie- xvie. (at the Institut Catholique d’Études Supérieures, October 11th, 2012.) She is interested in applying classical and medieval philosophy to the solution of contemporary problems, as in her article "Useful Friendships: A Foundation for Business Ethics", Journal of Business Ethics 16 (1997) 1453- 1458.

She is currently working on two articles on contemplation in Aquinas: “The ‘Life’ Christ Chose: Contemplation and Action in the Summa Theologiae” and “‘Out of the Fullness of Contemplation’: The Fate of Aquinas’ Innovations to the Concepts of the Vita Contemplativa and the Vita Activa.”

Sommers is a member of the University Faculty for Life, the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, the South Central Renaissance Conference, and American Catholic Philosophical Association, where she is serving her third term on the Executive Council (1994-6; 2005-07; 2012-).

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