Catholic and Dominican Institute

Pursuing Happiness: Jane Austen & Thomas Aquinas in Dialogue on Life's Ultimate Goal

March 09, 2015 7:00 PM8:00 PM
DC 218

Br. Aquinas Beale, OP, will present "Pursuing Happiness: Jane Austen & Thomas Aquinas in Dialogue on Life's Ultimate Goal" on March 9 at 7 pm.

Is it a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen novels are full of silliness and romance? Not a few individuals consider them as the rightful property of young women fixated upon a bygone era of balls and dresses with hardly any serious merit to recommend them to the reader of more practical and serious taste. Confounding this view, these same works of Jane Austen have attracted the interest and attention of the likes of Lionel Trilling and Alasdair MacIntyre, along with many other readers of similar thoughtful and discerning character.

Perhaps the reason for the remarkable staying power of her works lies in Austen’s matchless ability to portray the various faces of human nature. In a manner strikingly similar to the teaching of Thomas Aquinas, Austen structures the lives of her characters according to the ends that they wish to achieve and the choices they make in achieving those ends. In the eyes of both Austen and Aquinas, the pursuit of happiness provides the basic shape for people’s lives. Consequently, one may not need only to search in scholastic textbooks and manuals in order to discover the secret to living a good and Christian life. One could also open the cover of Pride and Prejudice.

Br. Aquinas Beale, OP

Born in West Virginia, Brother Aquinas grew up as the second of seven children. After finishing high school in southern Virginia, he attended the University of Virginia, where he received both a Bachelor and Master of Arts in Foreign Affairs. Brother Aquinas professed simple vows in the Dominican Order in 2012 and currently studies at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

This event is free and open to the public.

A special luncheon for faculty will be held at noon on the 9th.

For more information, please call 845-569-3467 or email

Br. Aquinas Beale