Seminar, "Person, Nature, and Human Flourishing" — Aquinas College - Nashville, Tennessee
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Seminar, “Person, Nature, and Human Flourishing”

January 27, 2020 @ 7:00 pm8:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 7:00 pm on Monday, repeating until April 6, 2020

Person, Nature, and Human Flourishing

“You first loved us so that we might love You – not because You needed Our love, but because we could not be what You created us to be, except by loving You.”  — William of Saint Thierry

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About This Seminar

What is a human person?  Do we have a common human nature?  Are there principles of life common to all members of the human race?  How do we interact with each other, with society, and the world?  What does it mean to “flourish” – and can that really happen in today’s culture? 

In ten one-hour weekly evening sessions, using Aristotle, Aquinas, Sacred Scripture, and other texts of the Church, Sister Mary Diana Dreger, O.P., M.D. will explore these questions and more using a Christian view of the human person, family, society, culture, and the world.

Readings will be posted prior to each session. Please RSVP below to reserve your seat and to receive notifications about this seminar when new information is available. The seminar is free to the public. 

Sessions will be held on the 2nd floor of the Aquinas Main building, accessible by stairs, room to be determined based on group size.

Sound Recordings


Optional Reading

  • January 27 – “A Christian View of Humanity: Introduction and Overview”

For the first session of Person, Nature, & Human Flourishing, you might want to read and/or view these materials.  Consider what is happiness, what is flourishing, and whether these concepts are universal or dependent on faith.

 PDF – From CCC 01 27 2020 Introduction

PDF – From CSD 01 27 2020 Introduction

  • February 3 – “The Human Person”

PDF – From CCC 02 03 2020 Human Person

PDF – From CSD 02 03 2020 Human Person

This short video  identifies and explains several current “theories of personhood.”  You might guess (correctly) that none of these are particularly Christian.

  • February 10 – “Human Nature”

PDF – From CCC 02 10 2020 Human Nature

PDF – From CSD 02 10 2020 Human Nature    Once you get to this link, scroll down to “Mankind” (#13), and then scroll down to “Conclusion” — for the most important piece.  You are certainly welcome to read all of this!    This article might give you different ways of thinking about “society” — and so what the “social nature of man” might mean.

  • February 17 – “Created in Imago Dei”

PDF – From CCC 02 17 2020 Imago Dei

PDF – From CSD 02 17 2020 Imago Dei

Article – “The Honor of Seeking God: St. Thomas and Human Dignity” (Dominicana Journal)

Article – “More Than in God’s Image” (First Things)

  • February 24 – “For Truth and Love”

Attached are our usual excerpts form the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. In addition there is an excerpt from an encyclical by Pope John Paul II on “Faith and Reason,” as well as some excerpts from a book by Neil Postman entitled Amusing Ourselves To Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.  

PDF – Excerpts from Neil Postman Amusing Ourselves to Death

PDF – From CCC 02 24 2020 For Truth and Love

PDF – From CSD 02 24 2020 For Truth and Love

PDF – From Fides et Ratio chapter 3 by Saint Pope John Paul II — an excerpt is found in the PDF  and the whole document can be found here.

PDF – From Caritas in Veritate introduction by Pope Benedict XVI, full text here.

On detraction and calumny: Click here

You might also enjoy Pope John Paul’s preliminary encyclical on truth, Veritatis Splendor (On the Splendor of Truth) found here, with its 199 uses of the word “truth.” 

  • March 2 – “Law, Justice, and Mercy”

Article – “Divine Mercy vs. Justice” (Dominicana Journal)

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae Prima Pars, Q. 21

PDF – CCC 03 02 2020 Law Freedom Mercy Justice

PDF – CSD 03 02 2020 Law Freedom Mercy Justice

  • March 9 – “Virtue and Grace”

Article – “Grace and the Dominican Soul” (Dominicana Journal)

Article – “Aiming High How to Grow in Virtue”

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church on virtue link

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church on grace – scroll to par. 1996 link

PDF – CCC for 03 09 2020 virtue and grace

PDF – CSD for 03 09 2020 virtue and grace

Article – On Virtue

Article – On Grace

  • March 23 – “Work and Vocation”
  • March 30 – “Prayer and Friendship”
  • April 6 – “Flourishing and Happiness”


About the Presenter

Sister Mary Diana Dreger, O.P., M.D. 

Sister Mary Diana Dreger, O.P., M.D. is a physician practicing internal medicine since 2007 currently with Saint Martin Medical Care, caring for the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to this she worked for 10 years caring for a predominantly uninsured immigrant population. She graduated from Vanderbilt Medical School in 2001 as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society and completed residency in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2004. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt in the Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health, and is board-certified with the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She earned a B.S. in biology and M.A. in mathematics before entering the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia Congregation, Nashville, Tennessee, in 1989.

Sister became an active participant in the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) in 2006 and serves the organization at the local and national levels in multiple capacities. As a member of the national CMA speakers bureau she has presented over 100 talks across the country and in Canada on topics related to education, medicine, faith, and ethics to high school, college, parish, clergy, and medical audiences. She completed the National Catholic Bioethics Center certification program with distinction in 2011, and her paper “Autonomy Trumps All” was published in 2012 by the NCBC Quarterly. She completed a Master of Arts in moral theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut in August 2019.

Sister is a current instructor in the Arts & Sciences Programs at Aquinas College and previously served on the Board of Directors. 


January 27, 2020
7:00 pm–8:00 pm
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Aquinas College
(615) 297-7545
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4210 Harding Pike
Nashville, TN 37205 United States
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