Aquinas Learning

ALJ Vol. 3, Issue 1, Fall 2019

Salutations for Aquinas Learning’s 10th Anniversary

Full PDF as prepared for May 30 Aquinas Learning Showcase 10th Anniversary celebration can be accessed here, for individual letters, please read below:

Laura Berquist

Founder and Director, Mother of Divine Grace School; Author, The Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum

Dear Rosario,

Congratulations on the 10th anniversary of Aquinas Learning. This is a great accomplishment! You are working for and helping achieve the restoration of Western Civilization through Catholic, classical formation of the minds and hearts of students, and by helping their parents educate them in a living Catholic culture. Your institution is facilitating those parents giving back to God the talents He has given them. You are helping both students and parents turn their minds and hearts to Him and to eternity. This is a truly great work.

I fully expect that when the time comes, you will hear the words we are all hoping for: “Welcome, my good and faithful servant.” There can be no higher achievement.

With love and admiration,

Laura Berquist

Vigen Guroian

Former Professor of Religious Studies, University of Virginia; Author, Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination

Dear Rosario,

On this tenth anniversary of the Aquinas Learning Center I want to thank you for putting your heart into doing all that you can to redeem the education of children, in helping them and their parents to live and grow within a vision of goodness, truth and beauty that ennobles the soul.

God bless you.

Vigen Guroian

John Hodges

Founder and Director, Center for Western Studies

Congratulations to you, Rosario, on ten years with Aquinas Learning! You are doing the work of our Lord, passing on the skills and wisdom of the past to the next generation. Our job is thankless and at the same time essential, so it is extremely difficult! But it is also a great calling, and a work that gives deep joy, as you know. Many thanks for your faithful work, and for your enthusiasm, which is infectious! We love you and look forward to our annual visit at Circe! Keep up the good work! We are praying for another ten!

In His grip, with you on this adventure, 

John Hodges

Andrew Kern

Founder and President, CiRCE Institute; Co-author, The Lost Tools of Writing

Where can one point first when admiring what Rosario has accomplished: is it the perseverance through uncertainty that ten years signifies, the humble teachability that every discussion I had with her exemplified, the willingness to strive for something higher and nobler, the respect she shows to the tradition, the church, and the families she works with, or is it the children she loves so much, some of whom have now graduated and demonstrated the value of her leadership? I don’t know what to highlight in such a full and rounded achievement. Let me simply say, as one who loves Christian classical education so much: Thank you, Rosario, for showing how rich a thing it is to feed on the wisdom of the ages and to cultivate virtue through your ministry. With all my heart, thank you.

Andrew Kern

 Andrew Pudewa

Founder and Director, Institute for Excellence in Writing; Author, Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day

Congratulations to Rosario… and Aquinas Learning on their 10th anniversary of working to bring a distinctly Catholic and distinctly joy-filled classical curriculum to Catholic Homeschool Families worldwide! It’s a great work you’ve begun, and we will pray that, God-willing, your work will be blessed and continue to grow, bringing Christ and His Goodness, Truth, and Beauty to many, many more!

Andrew Pudewa

 Joanne Curley

Director, Aquinas New York, Aquinas Learning Center

[I can think of no other way to give Rosario the praise she deserves than to use one of the most useful tools she provided through Aquinas Learning.]

A Judicial Address in the Defense of Aquinas Learning

“I say ‘try’; if we never try, we shall never succeed.” — Abraham Lincoln

What better words to use than these to describe the unfolding of Aquinas Learning? Ten years ago, one faithful, determined woman set out doing just that — trying to pull together a classical Catholic homeschool curriculum that would focus on The True, The Good, The Beautiful. For my sake, I say, “Thank you, Rosario!” For in so doing, I was able to experience the richness of Aquinas Learning firsthand with my own children. It was eight years ago that I came across this curriculum; it was eight years ago that I met with Rosario Reilly (via the phone) and discussed my ardent desire to bring this curriculum into the lives of my children; it was eight years ago that I took the leap and began plans to open Aquinas New York. What a journey it has been, and not one without its bumps along the road! But, as I mentioned to Rosario the first time we spoke, I truly believed then and still do now, that the Holy Spirit is guiding the vessel that is Aquinas Learning and Rosario is holding fast to the wheel. Why did I join Aquinas? I needed a challenging curriculum for my then-12-year-old son, as well as my two younger children. I wanted the program to be Catholic and I wanted the program to be classical. Discovering Aquinas has made a huge difference in the life of my home and has greatly enriched my children, preparing them for college and, I hope, beyond. Can saying thank you possibly express in words the great gift of your time and talent that you have unceasingly and, perhaps unknowingly, given to my family and countless others? It seems a perfect opportunity to use some useful tools learned through Aquinas Learning to do so.

I think everyone will agree on the importance of a good Catholic classical curriculum for our children in order to send them out as prepared young adults into today’s world; Rosario Reilly has paved the way to allow many families this opportunity. Some people might say that Rosario should not be rewarded for her years of service to the homeschool community, while others might say Rosario should be rewarded for her years of service to the homeschool community. I believe Rosario should be rewarded for her years of service (and will go one step further to say this reward should come with a week’s vacation of her choice by her husband Patrick), for these three reasons: my children and others have benefited greatly by Rosario’s effort, Rosario has obeyed the laws of God by helping all of us to raise our children steeped in their Faith, and Rosario has followed the Will of God by providing so many families with the Aquinas Learning Program.

Rosario should be rewarded for her ten years of service because my children and others have benefited greatly from Rosario’s efforts. With Aquinas Learning as the core of our home education, we have learned more than we imagined — we have sailed through history from Creation to the present and back again; we have had great conversations with Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, and many saints who have spoken to us through their writings; we have beheld beauty through great art and music; we have learned the language of Faith through our exposure to Latin; but most of all, we have been steeped in our Faith by integrating all the subjects through the eyes of our Catholic heritage. Proverbs 2:1-5 reminds us of the importance of wisdom and understanding, two guiding forces of Aquinas Learning, for success in education: “My son, if you receive my words and treasure my commands, turning your ear to wisdom, inclining your heart to understanding; Yes, if you call for intelligence, and to understanding raise your voice; If you seek her like silver, and like hidden treasures search her out, then will you understand the fear of the LORD; the knowledge of God you will find...” Aquinas Learning has been challenging and demanding at times, this has already led to great successes for two of my children. My oldest son attends Ave Maria University with academic and leadership scholarships due in large part to his education. The rigors of David’s education through Aquinas prepared him to apply to the Naval Academy and receive a nomination, though he did not make the final cut for the Academy he was granted an appointment by the Virginia Military Institute, a public liberal arts college that is only fourth in rank to the three military academies. Both of my boys have the prospects of a bright future. My daughter has two more years before entering college, and, like her brothers, she has gained a wealth of rhetoric skills and much knowledge of her Faith to forge ahead in this world, a world in great need of bright devout young Catholics! It is clear that Rosario’s dedication to Aquinas Learning these past ten years has benefited so many of our children in many ways.

Moreover, Rosario should be rewarded for her ten years of service because she has obeyed the laws of God by helping all of us to raise our children steeped in their Faith. Saint Pope John Paul II writes in his Letter to Families, Gratissimam Sane, “Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area: they are educators because they are parents. ...The family is called to carry out its task of education in the Church, thus sharing in her life and mission. The Church wishes to carry out her educational mission above all through families who are made capable of undertaking this task by the Sacrament of Matrimony, through the ‘grace of state’ which follows from it and the specific ‘charism’ proper to the entire family community.” We are endowed with the gift of our children from our heavenly Father. We cannot and must not shirk our responsibilities to raise them in their Faith and provide them with a richness of salvation history. Rosario has offered ten years of service to help us do just that. Because Rosario takes her calling as mother and educator seriously and piously, we all have become the better for it. Her dedication and commitment to making sure that all we learn is aligned within our beliefs is unending as she turns regularly to the authority and magisterium of the Church, no easy task!

Furthermore, Rosario should be rewarded for her ten years of service because she has followed the Will of God. In all things, Rosario places her trust in God and puts to all things in prayer. It is this trust that allowed Rosario to hear God call her to the monumental task of founding and developing Aquinas Learning. How do we know this? We know this because like the saints, Rosario has made many sacrifices. She has gone without sleep for a very long time, tirelessly working to perfect Aquinas Learning! She has given up many hours a week to families throughout the country, throughout the world even, that could have been spent just sitting in the splendor of her own family. God has willed Rosario to create Aquinas Learning and she has graciously responded to God’s call. We are all the better for her having done so. There are no better words to describe Rosario’s dedication than the opening of a meditation prayer by John Henry Cardinal Newman, “God knows me and calls me by my name... God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission — I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.” While Rosario’s true reward for her efforts will lead her to heaven, Patrick should still give her a week’s vacation of her choice.

Some may argue that Rosario should not be rewarded for her years of service because this is not the only curriculum available to our children. They might say there are other choices to educate such as online, other co-ops, even “unschooling.” These arguments are inadequate because not all choices will foster the deep richness of our Catholic Faith in the way that Aquinas Learning provides. Others might say that Aquinas Learning is not a full curriculum because it does not provide math and science. This argument is completely invalid because Aquinas Learning is dedicated to the Trivium of learning which focuses on grammar, dialect, and rhetoric, the basis of all education as well as enrichment of our Faith. Without the Trivium, one is not well-prepared for tackling other subjects. Besides, math and science of today’s education are STEM classes that can be taken on another day or through a separate venue. That Aquinas Learning is not the only curriculum choice, that it is not a full curriculum, and therefore does not deserve reward is ridiculous. Aquinas Learning is focused on the True, the Good, and the Beautiful and built on the tenets of our Faith.

Rosario should be rewarded for her years of service (and as stated, this reward should come with a week’s vacation of her choice by her husband Patrick), for these three reasons: my children and others have benefited greatly by Rosario’s effort, Rosario has obeyed the laws of God by helping all of us to raise our children steeped in our Faith, and Rosario has followed the Will of God by providing so many families with the Aquinas Learning Program. It matters to Rosario’s children and our children that she be rewarded for her efforts and with a week’s vacation; she will then be refueled to serve the greater Catholic homeschool community for another ten years or more!

May God bless you for all of your efforts and dedication, Rosario. My life is richer for having known you and having experienced Aquinas Learning. Your friendship and commitment is cherished.

With much love and affection,

Joanne Curley

Rosario Reilly