The Aquinas Academy
The Aquinas Academy was set up under the auspices of the Australian Province of the Marist Fathers by Fr Austin Woodbury SM in March 1945. The Academy began as a centre for the study of Philosophy and Theology in the Thomistic tradition. For some twenty-nine years it continued in this capacity under Fr Woodbury's guidance, in premises at the back of St Patrick's Church, Gloucester Street, in The Rocks (Sydney, NSW). For a short while the Academy offered a License in Philosophy under accreditation from the University of St Thomas in Rome. Since its inception, a number of qualified priests, religious and laity have been part of the lecturing staff. The Academy was one of the pioneers of Catholic adult education in Australia.
Since 1975, the Academy has increasingly focused on general adult education in the faith. Perhaps the most popular of the programs mounted was the Christian Growth Program, offering basic education in theology, morality, psychology and spirituality.
Fr John Thornhill SM RIP
Fr John Thornhill SM died on Sunday evening 28 July. John was professed as a Marist in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1955. He made an outstanding contribution as a theologian both in Australia – where he was involved for many years with the Marist Seminary at Toongabbie, the Catholic Theological Union at Hunter’s Hill and the Aquinas Academy
Is Cardinal Pell a Martyr?
The Australian Church Tries to Move On
Because he has a weak heart and must build strength in his chest muscles, the seventy-seven-year-old Australian cardinal asks for a broom he can push around the jail’s exercise yard each day. The remaining twenty-three hours of his solitary confinement in Melbourne Assessment Prison George Pell reads and writes, when not sleeping and praying. He is not allowed to say Mass. Read more
Sacred Silence in Literature and the Arts Conference
4-5 October 2019 at ACU, Strathfield
This conference is a coming together of artists, writers, musicians, academics and practitioners of the sacred from different faith and no-faith traditions. The conference will offer opportunities to explore and experience.
Registration is now open. More information
Course: The Mystics - Pathfinders to the Spiritual
Sr. Patty Andrew osu
Starts 10am Tue Sept 3
Three sessions will be presented by Sr. Patty Andrew osu, featuring several men and women from the Christian mystical tradition who have illuminated the mystical path for those seeking a heart understanding of the divine.
Course: Developing Your Own Spirituality, Unit IV
Idealizations & detachment, social presence & obedience
Starts 10am Thu Sep 5
(Repeated 6pm Thu Nov 7)
In Unit IV – the final Unit in this Course – we will pay particular attention to four major issues in spirituality: Idealization – a psychological process whereby we pursue an image of the way things should be rather than a conversation with the way things are; detachment – a subtle but profound disposition that comes to us as a grace when we learn to receive it; social presence – all spirituality is essentially and irrevocably social, never merely private, always focusing our lives on building and maintaining living relationships, in other words, community tending; obedience – attentive listening, facing what must be faced, submitting to the truth of experience no matter what, is the stuff of any life of substance.
Days of Solitude and Silence 2019
Next Date: Sept 21
Aquinas Academy has a place of solitude and silence called "Nazareth". It is situated 75 minutes from the Sydney CBD at Colo.
We organize special days on which we take small groups there for a few hours of solitude and silence.
Course: The Holy Spirit in the Gospel of St John
Dr Robert Tilley
Starts Wednesday Sep 25
John’s Gospel is often styled the ‘sacramental Gospel’ in that it has much to say about baptism and the Eucharist. And yet the odd thing is that this is the only Gospel not to include the words of the institution of the Eucharist, instead it includes an account of Jesus’ promises to the Apostles. Chief among these promises is that of the sending of the Holy Spirit.
But this sending, the Apostles are told, is dependent on Jesus ascending to the Father. Then, when He comes, the Holy Spirit will glorify the ascended Jesus and make Him truly and really present in the Apostolic Church.
Of God and Safeguarding
Thomas Ryan sm
Safeguarding, protection of children and vulnerable adults: protocols, police checks, training. Who would have imagined these words as daily currency in the Catholic Church 20 years ago? Since then, we’ve been confronted by the devastating moral failure of the Church (and other institutions) – in public ministry and leadership.
The sexual abuse crisis, it has been said, is, perhaps, the Church’s 9/11. We are called to confront deliberate denial and evil. This requires, most importantly, acknowledging the pain and suffering of victims and survivors and a determination to stand with them.
Spiritual Practices and Attitudes 9 - I Sought and I Found
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
A few years before he died, the monk, Carlo Carretto (1910-1988), returned to Italy from the Sahara Desert, after many years living among the Bedouin. He wrote a document entitled, “I Sought and I Found”. There he tells of his inner journey and his struggles with God. He concludes the document with a letter to the church. The letter begins:
“How much I must criticise you, my church and yet how much I love you! You have made me suffer more than anyone and yet I owe you more than I owe anyone. I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence. You have given me much scandal and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.
Gospel for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (18 August 2019)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. (Luke 12:49-53 – NRSV)