The Aquinas Institute is a research institution whose mission is to research, teach, and publish from the greatest writings in history, with a focus on bringing ancient and medieval scholarship into modern critical dialogue. It aims to form a new generation of Catholic theologians and philosophers through direct contact with the sources of Catholic doctrine, faithful to the teaching authority of the hierarchy of the Church, and in a community that has the Incarnate Word of God as its center. particular attention is given to the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, which the institute has worked to bring all of back into print. Its founder and president is Dr. John Mortensen. Many of the institute's faculty are either current or former professors at Wyoming Catholic College, and the college uses many of the institute's materials while the institute launched a two-year online Great Books Core Curriculum paralleling many of WCC's humanities, philosophy, and theology courses in September 2020.
The Aquinas Institute was founded by then WCC theology professor Dr. John Mortensen, with the original aim of bringing all of St. Thomas Aquinas' writing back into print. Since then its mission has expanded to now include offering online courses itself as well as making all of St. Thomas Aquinas' writings available for free online. Headquarters of the organization moved to Wisconsin in 2013 although most of its professors remained in Lander, Wyoming
The following professors work for the Aquinas Institute, either in editing, translating, and proofing St. Thomas Aquinas' texts or in teaching some of the institute's new online courses.
- Dr. John Mortensen (Founder and President)
- Dr. Kent Lasnoski (Academic Dean)
- Dr. Jeremy Holmes
- Dr. Michael Bolin
- Dr. Jason Baxter
- Dr. Peter Kwasniewski
Among the various means rightly used to pursue this Wisdom, the Holy Catholic Church recommends in a special way St. Thomas Aquinas. In advocating St. Thomas, the Church does not ask that we simply study his works; she asks that we imitate his very manner as a holy theologian. St. Thomas’s radically self-emptying life, his example of heroic virtue, is the embodiment of the mysteries of which he treats in his writings. It is precisely in this holistic way that The Aquinas Institute seeks to approach Sacred Doctrine: as the “holy teaching” eloquently expounded and intensely lived by the Angelic Doctor.
Given the desire to draw near to the Sacred Mysteries in a systematic and principled way, as following faithfully in the footsteps of St. Thomas, it is most natural to turn one’s attention to the invaluable works of St. Thomas as a starting point for learning both the doctrine and the method, the goal and the way. The written works he left behind are thus an initiation into, as well as authentic tokens of, a life of contemplation and of sharing the fruits of contemplation. Hence, in a spirit of docility to the constant teaching of the Church, The Aquinas Institute in a particular way relies on, makes available, and seeks to study the original works of St. Thomas.
The science of Sacred Doctrine is, of course, in no way limited to the written works of St. Thomas Aquinas; even less is it limited to what are commonly called “Thomistic studies.” The aim of the Aquinas Institute is rather to approach the whole of God’s revelation as this great saint and doctor of the Church would. Hence, the primary focus of any course at the Institute is not the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas as such, but the mysteries of God. The aim of Sacred Doctrine is not the work of any particular theologian: it is the reality of God Himself.
While The Aquinas Institute’s efforts are organized for all teachers and students who desire to come closer to God by an intensive study of His mysteries, they seek in a special way to assist in the ongoing sacerdotal formation of priests and seminarians, “the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1).
Great Books Core Curriculum
The Great Books Core Program offers a two-year online curriculum that initiates students into the great intellectual tradition of the Western world. These twelve classes draw from some of the greatest writings in Theology, Philosophy, and Humanities, to provide an integrated experience of the Liberal Arts.
The entire program is rooted in the reality that defined the Western world, namely the Catholic Church: her inspired Scripture, her sacred tradition, and her doctrinal teachings. An international faculty of faithful Catholics guides students through live discussions of the greatest books ever written so that students can communicate Catholic principles and integrate them into their lives.
The Aquinas Institute designed the Great Books Core Program around two simple ideas: Great Books and Real-Time Conversations.