S.T.A.G.S.


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Introducing: 

St. Thomas Aquinas Guild of Scholars (S.T.A.G.S.)

"As the stag panteth after the fountains of water,
so panteth my soul after thee, O God." (Ps. 41:2)

The St. Thomas Aquinas Guild of Scholars (STAGS) is a professional association of academics who embrace the traditional Catholic faith and strive for holiness through their scholarly life. The 'STAGS' make a private, individual commitment to immerse themselves in traditional Catholic thought and piety and live out a daily regime of study and prayer. 

STAGS is a professional "association of the faithful" (cf. 1983 CIC, can. 298-329), not a religious order. We do not live in community or follow a rule. Members do not owe obedience to the guild fellows or chaplains, there are no vows, there is no celibacy requirement. The core of our identity as members of the guild lies in the fact that we have chosen an academic profession, strive for holiness by immersing ourselves in the tradition of the Church through study and prayer, and participate in the guild's projects, via guest contributions and involvement in other activities such as seminars, translations, joint publications, and scholarly conferences. Each member strives for holiness from his own state in life and place in the world. Since the guild is not a religious order or specific spiritualiy, but merely a professional association (with spiritual as well as professional ends), belonging in the guild is compatible with membership in a third order, provided there is no irreconcilable disparity of commitment or other express objection coming from either side. 

STAGS is open to lay men scholars only (with the sole exception of its chaplains). The 'Stags' are also collaborators in the Ite ad Thomam blog and feature their academic work (CV, books, articles, recorded classes, etc.) on Ite ad Thomam.

A. MEMBERSHIP requirements are: 

(a) embracing an academic profession, 
(b) a firm committment to living out a daily regime of prayer and study, 
(c) contributing one's time, effort, and talents to the guild.

Membership comes in three levels, depending on the availability, state of life, and professional stage of those interested.  

Fellows are governing members; they make decisions regarding the direction of the guild and serve as mentors for other members.

Scholars are full members who do not have a governing role in the guild.  They are professional academics with terminal degrees (usually a doctorate) who strive for holiness in their profession by immersing themselves in the tradition of the Church through study and prayer, with the guidance of a fellow and a guild chaplain.  They also contribute regularly to the guild's projects.  For scholars who do not wish to make their membership in the guild public, there is also the possibility to join the guild privately (Guild Scholars in pectore).

Chaplains are honorary members who provide spiritual direction and guidance to other full members of the guild.  They are traditional Catholic clerics who are canonically in good standing.  Their service to the guild is voluntary and a bene placito; it does not constitute a formal religious commitment nor should it constitute a burden on their normal pastoral duties.  They are exempt from membership requirements, and their membership hinges entirely on their willingness to participate in our activities and help the other guild members.

Candidates have requested admission to the guild.  After showing evidence of an active, lasting interest in the guild and perseverance in the profession, they may be invited as members at the discression of the Fellows.  Graduate students may request candidacy, but their entrance as Scholars will be deferred until at least their terminal degree requirements are met (e.g., dissertation defense).  


B. THE PRAYER AND STUDY REGIME followed by each member will be variable, but will usually include daily, assiduous, prayerful study of traditional Catholic theology and thought, as well as spiritual reading, the recitation of the traditional Divine Office and Holy Rosary, mental prayer, frequent Communion and Confession, participation in the traditional sacramental life of the Church, immersion in the traditional liturgical calendar, etc. These practices form our intellects and wills as traditional Catholic scholars, illuminate our interior life, and form part of our ordinary means of sanctification as laymen. Living these practices every day is expected of all scholars and fellows, as they form the core of our identity and vocation, although they are not usually practiced all at once from the beginning; rather, beginning with admission into the guild, the scholar strives to introduce each one them gradually and prudently with the guidance of a mentor and spiritual director.  

C. PROJECTS currently include serving as occasional guest contributor to the Ite ad Thomam blog.  In the future we plan to organize other scholarly projects, such as joint publications and translations of traditional works, scholarly seminars and conferences.


Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas Before Study

CREATOR ineffabilis, qui de thesauris sapientiae tuae tres Angelorum hierarchias designasti et eas super caelum empyreum miro ordine collocasti atque universi partes elegantissime distribuisti: Tu, inquam, qui verus fons luminis et sapientiae diceris ac supereminens principium, infundere digneris super intellectus mei tenebras tuae radium claritatis, duplices, in quibus natus sum, a me removens tenebras, peccatum scilicet et ignorantiam. Tu, qui linguas infantium facis disertas, linguam meam erudias atque in labiis meis gratiam tuae benedictionis infundas. Da mihi intelligendi acumen, retinendi capacitatem, addiscendi modum et facilitatem, interpretandi subtilitatem, loquendi gratiam copiosam. Ingressum instruas, progressum dirigas, egressum compleas. Tu, qui es verus Deus et homo, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.  
(From the Raccolta #764; Pius XI Studiorum Ducem, 1923.)

Sancte Thoma, ora pro nobis!

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