Founder of women’s religious order to be commencement speaker at TAC

News release from Thomas Aquinas College

SANTA PAULA (April 25, 2012) — On Saturday, May 12, Mother Mary Assumpta Long, O.P., the founder and prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, MI, will serve as commencement speaker at Thomas Aquinas College’s annual graduation exercises.

A friend of the college since its founding in 1971, Mother Assumpta will also receive the school’s highest award, the Saint Thomas Aquinas College Medallion, in recognition of her life-long fidelity and service to the Catholic Church. 

Mother Assumpta will address a graduating class of 66 men and women who hail from across the United States, Canada, Ireland, and Australia. Having successfully completed a rigorous, 4-year curriculum that includes mathematics, natural science, Latin, literature, philosophy, and theology, each graduate will receive a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in liberal arts.

These new alumni will go on to a wide variety of pursuits including law, medicine, business, military service, education, and the priesthood and religious life.

Graduates of Thomas Aquinas College are noted by employers as well as professional and graduate school professors for the strong intellectual and interpersonal skills they attain through the college’s unique great books program.

Says Brian Kelly, Dean of the College, “Our focus on the original texts of the greatest thinkers — authors like Euclid, Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas — really hones the mind and accustoms it to think in terms of principles; and our small, discussion-based classes ensure that students are actively engaged in their own education, working together with their peers in a constructive and respectful way. As a result, not only do they make a good beginning in a life-long pursuit of wisdom, they also acquire remarkably strong analytic skills and a distinctive ability to collaborate with colleagues.”

The College’s head chaplain and assistant to the dean for religious affairs, Rev. Cornelius M. Buckley, S.J., will offer the Baccalaureate Mass at 9 a.m. on May 12 in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel. Commencement will follow at 11 a.m. on the campus’ academic quadrangle.

During the commencement program, the college will also award the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion to two of the school’s founders and long-time tutors, Dr. John W. Neumayr and Mr. Peter L. DeLuca, in recognition of their lifetime of devotion to authentic Catholic liberal education.

Mother Assumpta Long received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mathematics from Peabody College, a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from Providence College, and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Angelicum University in Rome. She has taught in elementary and secondary schools and in junior college, and has served as president of Aquinas Junior College in Nashville, TN. Mother Assumpta is a former President of the Forum of Major Superiors, and was invited by John Cardinal O’Connor to assist with the initial formation of the Sisters of Life in New York.

In 1997, she founded the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in response to Blessed Pope John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization. The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist is a Roman Catholic community of women religious based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The community was founded in the Dominican tradition to spread the witness of religious life in accord with Blessed Pope John Paul II’s vision. Through profession of the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, along with a contemplative emphasis on Eucharistic adoration and Marian devotion, the community exists for the salvation of souls and the building of the Church throughout the world.

As Dominicans, their primary apostolate is the education and formation of young people. The sisters seek to engage modern culture with new forms of evangelization in order to preach the Gospel and teach the Truth. Fifteen years since it’s founding, the order has grown from only four sisters to well over 100, whose average age is 28. They sponsor missions in South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. With a steady influx of vocations, plans are now under way for new priories in Texas, Indiana, and California.