Winners of the 2015 Aquinas Center Essay Contest

Winners of the 2015 Aquinas Center Essay Contest

After careful consideration, the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Aquinas Center Essay Contest.

College and university juniors and seniors were invited to submit an original 1000-word essay on the topic of mercy in honor of Pope Francis’ declaration of an extraordinary jubilee Year of Mercy. Essayists were asked to use one or both of the following quotations as a point of departure: 

Mercy is the compassion in our hearts for another person’s misery, a compassion which drives us to do what we can to help the person. 

-St. Thomas Aquinas

God acts mercifully, not indeed by going against His justice, but by doing something more than justice.

-St. Thomas Aquinas

Essays were judged by AMU faculty on style, content, argumentative coherence, and organization. Out of a pool of over twenty submissions, the following essays were chosen: 

First Place

“Mercy Surpasses Justice,” by Kerry Kennedy (University of Dallas) 

Using as an example the recent Synod on the Family in Rome, Miss Kennedy demonstrates how mercy goes beyond justice, transforming and elevating men’s souls so that they become more like their Creator.  

The first place essay was awarded $500 and will be posted in full online.

Honorable Mentions

  • Veronica Arntz (Wyoming Catholic College): “Have Mercy on Me, O God: A Reflection on Mercy in St. Thomas Aquinas and Psalm 51”
  • Mariana Victoria Barillas (Thomas Edison State College): “Do You Hear the People Sing? Reflections on a Thomistic Vision of Mercy and Justice”
  • Megan McCaffrey (University of Dallas): “A Call to the Merciful Life of Christ”
  • Gian Philippe Gonzalez (James Madison University): “Open Wide the Doors of Christ’s Mercy”
  • Joseph Michael Stack (Thomas Aquinas College): “‘The Discretion of a man maketh him slow to anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression’: A Consideration of Mercy and Forgiveness”
  • Thomas Austin Stone (St. Gregory’s University): “God’s Mercy”
  • Annalisa Tombelli (Thomas Aquinas College): “The Mercy of Our High Priest”

Honorable mentions were awarded a prize of $100.