Thomas Instituut te Utrecht (Tilburg University)



Registration is now open for the 6th International Conference organized by the Thomas Instituut te Utrecht on the topic Initiation and Mystagogy in Thomas Aquinas: Theological, Philosophical, Liturgical and Pedagogical Perspectives.

Academic Information

Acknowledging the spiritual, mystical, liturgical, and pedagogical dimensions in Aquinas’s thought, the conference will explore various issues and aspects related to ‘initiation and mystagogy in Thomas Aquinas’ such as:
- the interrelatedness of speculative and argumentative reasoning with affective knowledge (involving well-known concepts such as pati divina, cognitio experimentalis seu affectiva, compassio, connaturalitas, etc.).
- the influence of moral theology, understood as the ongoing process of developing and deepening the (theological) virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit on the processes of initiation and mystagogy, both at the individual and at the communal level.
- in terms of Christology and Trinitarian theology, the influence of the exterior teachings (by words and deeds) and interior teachings (by illumination, attraction of the will, and the sending of the Holy Spirit) of Christ on this processes of initiation and mystagogy.
- liturgy, being itself instructional, in relationship to our understanding of the nature of liturgical theology.

Main speakers include:
* Bernhard Blankenhorn, O.P. (Angelicum, Rome): Mystagogia & Aquinas’ Eucharistic Theology
* Matthew Levering (Mundelein Seminary): Mystagogy and Aquinas’s Commentary on Isaiah: Initiating God’s People into Christ
* Daria Spezzano (Providence College): From sacrament to reality: Aquinas and the mystagogy of the Holy Spirit
* William C. Mattison III (University of Notre Dame IN): “I Believe, Help My Unbelief!” Growth in Faith and Charity for the Person in a State of Grace
* Michael Sherwin, O.P. (Université de Fribourg): Love’s Pedagogy: Thomas Aquinas on the Stages of Growth in Charity
* Marta Borgo (Leonine Commission): Aquinas’ Preaching between Theory and Practice
* Randall Smith (University of St. Thomas): Praedicatio and Principia: Thomas Aquinas’s Initiation into the Culture of Preaching at Paris

Some 25 research papers will be presented in short parallel sessions, and there will be a number of other plenary lectures as well.

Practical information


Date: December 13-15, 2018. Thursday registration starts at 9.00 AM, lectures at 9.30 AM. Saturday the conference closes at 1.00 PM after which there will be lunch and for those interested an excursion in Utrecht.
Keistraat 9, 3512 HV Utrecht (primary venue)
Nieuwegracht 61 & 65 3512 LG Utrecht (paper sessions)

How to reach Utrecht?
The easiest way is via Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport (53 km) and subsequently using public transportation. Other, smaller, airports in the area are Eindhoven Airport (90 km) and Rotterdam The Hague Airport (62 km). The website of the Dutch railways.

Organizing your stay in Utrecht
A list of accommodations in Utrecht is available upon request. On Friday, December 14, we will celebrate the Holy Eucharist, presided by Willem Cardinal Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht, in St. Catherine’s cathedral in Utrecht. The subsequent conference dinner will take place in the Court Hotel Utrecht.
General visitor’s information for Utrecht.

More information
Please contact the organisers of the conference, dr. J. Vijgen ( and dr. J. Verburgt (, or the director of the Institute, prof. dr. H.J.M. Schoot (