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Alumni Profile: John Shanley – with Thomas More College in Rome


Seton Alum John Shanley on “why” Thomas More College and how a semester in Rome has raised his awareness of the good, true, and beautiful.

As my high school senior year approached, I knew I wanted to receive a higher education. It wasn’t because there was a specific field of work I wanted to study but because the idea of going straight from high school to being an active part of society felt unsettling.

Thomas More

At the time, I didn’t quite understand why I felt this way, but I can now see that without realizing it, I lacked much understanding of the good, the true, and the beautiful.

If I stayed unacquainted with them, I would lack understanding of God, His providence, and His love for humanity. Even worse, I would not know how to reciprocate that love for Him and His creation. Without these understandings, it would be impossible for me to play a positive Catholic role in society.

Thomas More

Through God’s most gracious providence, I soon found myself a freshman at Thomas More College. To this day, I truly believe it to be the best decision I could have made to helping to prepare me to be better acquainted with the goodness, truth, and beauty God has gifted the world.

Thomas More has one set curriculum, carefully designed to allow the student to progress from the more tangible studies to the intangible slowly. You begin freshman year by studying the goodness, truth, and beauty God gives us by studying His creation in natural history and reading the sacred scriptures. You will also see how these three gifts of God shine through man by exploring the beauty of art and sacred music.

Studying the Greco-Roman humanities teaches you to find what is true through euclidean geometry and see how God’s providence and love work throughout civilization. You then spend the following six semesters studying the humanities as a core and following God’s inner workings through society until the modern era, continuing to build your way up to more abstract philosophies such as metaphysics while moving from the scriptures to studying the mystery of divine life.

A Little about the Community

And while we study hard, there are many opportunities for fellowship, camaraderie, and a festive and jovial atmosphere, with many feasts, dances, folk jam sessions, bonfires, and more.

Because Thomas More College has only about 100 students, you can form relationships with everyone. This results in a very tight-knit community, with all of us in the common pursuit of Truth and, even more importantly, of God.

How Seton Prepared Me

Thomas More

Seton immensely helped prepare me for Thomas More College. Through Seton, I developed my reading and comprehension and, perhaps more importantly, learned how to take what I read and make original conclusions.

I am so thankful that I was encouraged to be an independent thinker, push a little harder, and always try to discover another perspective to find the Truth through Seton.

Our Rome Semester

Rome is one of the most pivotal points in our college career here at Thomas More. Not only does it bring the Roman humanities, which we studied during freshman year, to life, but it also gives us the starting point for the rest of the humanities cycle, which we will be studying for the following six semesters.

Thomas More

In addition to being the birthplace of western culture, it is, more importantly, home to the Catholic Church. It is the center of Christian pilgrimages and home to the greatest churches in the West. It is here that Saint Peter settled, ministered, and died.

One of the main courses in Rome is art and architecture. Twice a week, you have class outside where you get the opportunity to study ancient Roman structures and churches, seeing firsthand how civilization has progressed from the ancient era through the medieval, Renaissance, and modern.

Because Rome plays such a vital part in our curriculum, every sophomore gets to go at no additional cost.

I can attest that my semester in Rome has only heightened my appreciation of Thomas More College’s immersion in the good, true, and beautiful.

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