Mount Mercy University’s annual Aquinas Lecture was established in 1959 by the Sisters of Mercy who taught in the Mount Mercy Philosophy-Theology Division.

For more than 50 years, the Aquinas Lecture has brought philosophers and theologians to campus to speak on topics such as violence, order, love, justice, and the Church in contemporary society. The lecture is named after Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), an Italian priest who is considered the Church’s greatest theologian and philosopher.

The 2011-12 Aquinas Lecture

On October 27, 2011, managing editor of Commonweal magazine Patrick Jordan served as the annual Aquinas Day guest speaker during a special lecture titled "Aquinas, Dorothy Day and the Common Good," in Basile Hall's Flaherty Community Room. 

Jordan explored the Catholic understanding of the "common good" – how it differs from the collectivism of communism and the individualism of capitalism, and how it is exemplified in the history and vision of the Catholic Worker movement, with specific reference to the life and writings of Dorothy Day.

Jordan drew on reflections and essays of Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker movement in 1933 during the depths of the Great Depression in the United States. Their aim was to bring the social teaching of the Catholic Church "to the man on the street."

That teaching is rooted in the Scriptures and in an understanding of the human person and the "common good" found in the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas. As Peter Maurin noted in one of his Easy Essays: "According to St. Thomas Aquinas, man is more than an individual with individual rights, he is a person with personal duties toward God, himself, and his fellow man. As a person, man cannot serve God without serving the common good."

Jordan joined Commonweal in 1984. He is a former managing editor of the Catholic Worker, attended the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, and for seven years worked with terminal cancer patients. With Paul Baumann, he editedCommonweal Confronts the Century (Touchstone, 1999), and is the editor of Dorothy Day: Writings from Commonweal (Liturgical Press). He and his wife Kathleen live on Staten Island. They have two adult children, Hannah and Justin.

Past Aquinas Lecturers

  • 2010: Luke Timothy Johnson, Ph.D.
  • 2009: Charlotte McCorquodale
  • 2008: Mark Bosco, Ph.D.
  • 2007: Patrick Henry, Ph.D.
  • 2006: Bishop Gabino Zavala
  • 2005: Harold Kasimow, Ph.D.
  • 2004: Scott Davison, Ph.D.