Stay tuned for next semester’s courses.

Spring 2021 Lectures

The Aquinas Educational Foundation will sponsor or co-sponsor four virtual lectures this spring. Saints will be the emphasis.

  • March 2: Sr. Ann Astell, “Hallowed History: Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop.” Join via Zoom at 7:30 p.m. Professor Astell will discuss the living sacrifice of the title character against the background of this novel’s treatment of time, moral obligation, brotherhood, hagiography, and eschatology. A professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame and a former Purdue professor of English, she has authored six books and was editor or co-editor of seven volumes. Most recently, Professor Astell completed a book-length study of saints’ lives and the Bible.
  • March 22: Dr. Tania Checci Gonzales,  “Migrating Images and Ritual Effects: A Mimetic Take on Aby Warburg.” Dr. Tania Checchi (Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City) will speak Monday, March 22 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. via Zoom (  on the religious anthropology of René Girard to interpret a set of images explaining how symbols emerge and migrate and why they are paired as polarities, thus giving a name to the unnamed seminal inquiry of Aby Warburg. Tania Checchi has taught Aesthetics, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion at Universidad Iberoamericana since 2002. Her work deals with the phenomenological tradition and its emphasis on ethics as first philosophy, interreligious dialogue from the perspective of mimetic theory, and the philosophical status of the image as a symbolic and ritual effect. Her book, “Sense and Exteriority,” is a treatment of Levinas’s phenomenology. She has also published articles on her main areas of study and has translated works by Fackenheim, Dufrenne, Gilbert, and Levinas.
  • April 7: Dr. Martha Reineke,  “‘An Endless Amatory Flirtation:’ Jewish Influences on the Theology of Teresa of Avila.”
  • April 22: Fr. Thomas McDermott, O.P., “St. Catherine of Sienna: Doctor of the Catholic Church/Doctor of Friendship.” In his lecture, Fr. McDermott will present an overview of the life and times of Catherine of Siena, Dominican mystic, saint, and Doctor of the Church. A contemplative and lover of solitude, she was, at the same time, a lover of people who gathered around her in the hundreds, wherever she went. Though commentators have struggled to identify an overarching theme in Catherine’s writings, Fr. McDermott will show that the fulfillment of Truth (the motto of the Dominican Order) is her theme. Thomas McDermott, a Dominican friar, and priest, did his undergraduate studies at St. John’s University (Collegeville) and philosophy and theology studies at Aquinas Institute (St. Louis). He received his doctorate in spiritual theology at the Angelicum (Rome) for a dissertation on St. Catherine of Siena. For 18 years, he lived and worked in Nigeria where, among other positions, he served as the prior provincial (1997-2001). After his return to the USA, he taught at Aquinas Institute and Kenrick-Glennon Seminary (St. Louis) and served as Regent of Studies for the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great (2011 to 2015). On July 1, 2020, he was appointed pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center / Purdue. He is the author, translator, or editor of 4 books: Catherine of Siena: Spiritual development in her life and teaching (2008), Dominican Giacinto D’Urso’s, Catherine of Siena: Doctor of the Church (2013), a collection of essays, Catherine of Siena: Essays on her life and thought (2015), and Filled With All the Fullness of God: An Introduction to Catholic Spirituality. He has been Book Review Editor of Spirituality Today and has written numerous articles in journals such as New Blackfriars and Doctrine and Life. This lecture is sponsored by the Aquinas Educational Foundation and co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Program in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Purdue.

For More Information