Driving through mountainous and pastoral countryside on the busy but narrow two-lane Highway 150, when Thomas Aquinas College came into view the first time I saw it, I was amazed.
Set amid mountains, the Roman Catholic college's steeples and dome rise triumphantly and inspire awe.
In contrast with the dry foothills surrounding it, Thomas Aquinas is like an oasis in the desert; a place where one's spirit can be reinvigorated ~ even if it is from a short visit and seen only from the outside.
The evening I was there with my wife, we didn't get to see a lot because it was getting dark and we were afraid we would get stuck behind the main gate. Since then, however, I've viewed the college's chapel, and it is breathtaking both inside and outside. Awe-inspiring is a better way to describe it, even if one sees it only in photos.
The liberal arts college is located north of Santa Paula in Ventura County in California.
"It offers a unique education with courses based on the Great Books and seminar method," according to Wikipedia. "It has school accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a regional accrediting board for California and Guam. It is endorsed by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.
"As the 'crown jewel' of the Thomas Aquinas College campus, Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel was dedicated on March 7, 2009. The design for this 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2), $23 million building employs Early Christian, Renaissance, and Spanish Mission styles. Designed by University of Notre Dame architect Duncan Stroik, it is cruciform in shape and features both a 135-foot (41 m) bell tower and an 89-foot (27 m) dome. Pope John Paul II blessed the chapel’s plans in 2003, and in 2008, Pope Benedict XVI blessed its cornerstone. Adoremus Bulletin has called Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel 'A Triumph of Sacred Architecture'.
"The ceiling of the college's Saint Bernardine of Siena Library has been constructed from recovered wood from a 17th-century Spanish monastery. The library has a collection of rarities, including thousands-year-old Hittite seals, and devotional and sacred objects of saints."
If I were to attend college again, Thomas Aquinas would be at the top of the list.
Category:Architecture and Structures
Keywords:Catholic Church, Glenn Franco Simmons, Ojai, Santa Paula, Thomas Aquinas College, Thomas Aquinas College photos