Mission
Center for Thomistic Studies Students

The Center for Thomistic Studies at the University of St Thomas, Houston, is the only graduate philosophy program in the United States uniquely focused on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. The Center takes inspiration from the Church’s insistence upon the perennial value of the thought of Aquinas especially as expressed in the encyclical letters Aeterni Patris (1879) and Fides et Ratio (1998). In Aeterni Patris, Pope Leo XIII called for a general renewal to the study the philosophical thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. In Fides et Ratio, Pope St. John Paul II’s reiterated this message and called for a re-commitment on the part of philosophers and theologians to the study of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, tempered to fit the needs of the twenty-first century. The Center is committed to meet the challenges and realize the opportunities indicated by Pope St. John Paul II, striving toward the dawn of a new age in philosophy and intellectual culture. Following the model employed in the writings of Aquinas, the Center seeks the truth through a constructive cross-cultural dialogue. Our students and faculty pursue a living Thomism, drawing from tradition and engaging contemporary culture in order to shape the future.

 
History
Founded in 1975 at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, the Center for Thomistic Studies has always maintained close ties with the founding congregation of St. Basil, whose members have long fostered the study of St. Thomas Aquinas. Most prominently, they, along with Etienne Gilson, founded the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto in 1929. The Center’s principal founder was Fr. Victor B. Brezik, CSB and its first director was Professor Anton C. Pegis, formerly president of the Institute of Mediaeval Studies at Toronto. The Center’s opening was officially announced in October 1979 at a symposium to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, Aeterni Patris. Graduate courses were first offered in the fall semester of 1980. The current director of the Center is Dr. Steven J. Jensen, who assumed the position in 2017.

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