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Why Health Care Mission at Aquinas Institute?

Dominican theological education at the cutting edge of Catholic health care mission.
Welcome to the Ashley-O'Rourke Center at Aquinas Institute of Theology.

Part of the world-wide Order of Preachers, Aquinas Institute of Theology is a Catholic, Dominican-sponsored graduate school of theology. Our theological orientation is shaped by the 800-year-old intellectual tradition of the Order of Preachers, the legacy of our patron St. Thomas Aquinas, and the perspective of the River Forest School of Thomism that sought a fruitful exchange with contemporary science. St. Thomas did not view morality and spirituality as two distinct disciplines, but saw them as a whole. At Aquinas Institute we strive to retrieve this Thomistic synthesis and integrate it into a renewed moral theology that emphasizes the historical and spiritual nature of the human person. 

As a community of learners, we seek the Truth of Christ as it has been revealed in the Holy Scriptures and the tradition of the Church through study and dialogue. As St. Dominic did in his own time, Aquinas Institute's theological mission finds its home in the middle of the Church so as to reach out to others in all directions. 

Nearly two decades ago, Aquinas Institute recognized that it was in a unique position to meet a growing need to form lay men and women theologically and spiritually for leadership in Catholic health care systems. As one of the first theological institutions to welcome lay men and women for graduate theological studies, and as a close partner with Catholic health care icons Fr. Benedict Ashley, OP; Fr. Kevin O'Rourke, OP; Sr. Jean deBlois, CSJ; and Fr. Charles Bouchard, OP, Aquinas Institute has the tools and relationships necessary to be successful in this mission.

The Ashley-O'Rourke Center was founded to provide leaders of Catholic health care systems with the theological and spiritual grounding necessary to preserve mission and identity in the absence of founding religious orders. From the beginning, the Center has supported Catholic health care professionals in reconnecting with their initial vocational call to the ministry of health care, while equipping them with deep understanding of the values that guide their ministry in the real world. 

In addition to nationally known health care mission programs, Aquinas Institute offers multiple graduate degree and certificate programs. Core programs include a Master of Arts in Theology, a Master of Divinity, a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies, and the world's only Roman Catholic Doctor of Ministry in Preaching program. 


Catholic health care leaders know health care, but they also need to know why they do what they do, why it matters, and what it means.
- Fr. Charles Bouchard, OP, Senior Director of Theology & Sponsorship, Catholic Health Association

Program Hallmarks

Proven Leaders in Health Care Mission

For over two decades we have been a leader in preparing health care professionals for service to the Church. Aquinas Institute graduates are among the most respected leaders in Catholic health care. 

Responsive to the Changing Needs of Catholic Health Care

The academic programs offered through the AOR Center were developed to prepare students to meet the current needs and challenges facing Catholic health care today. 

Emphasis in Mission Integration and Effectiveness

Our curriculum strengthens commitment to Catholic health care and develops the skills needed to further mission effectiveness at all levels of the organization.

Dominican Intellectual Heritage

We approach our studies from the 800-year-old rich intellectual tradition of the Order of Preachers and its extraordinary contribution to the intellectual and pastoral life of the Church.

Theological Education

The strong theological foundation our students receive prepares effective, mission-driven leaders in Catholic health care.

Aligned with Mission Competencies

Our graduate programs are aligned with the Catholic Health Association's competencies for mission leaders.


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