Friday, March 22, 2013

Fr. "Braveheart" William Wallace, O.P.

From the U.S. Navy to the Dominican Priesthood: Fr. William Wallace, O.P. (Dominican House of Studies - Priory)

Fr. William A. Wallace, O.P., served as a line officer in the United States Navy for five years during World War II, with a specialty in underwater ordinance and mine warfare. He received the Bronze Star and Legion of Merit medals for exceptionally meritorious service, and became a Dominican novice in 1946, entering the Dominican Province of St. Joseph, the Eastern Province of the United States.Fr Wallace was born in 1918, graduated from Manhattan College, New York, in 1940, and later received advanced degrees from The Catholic University of America, M.S. (Physics), 1952; the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C., S.T.B., 1952; S.T.L., 1954; the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Ph.D. (Philosophy), 1959; Th.D. (Theology), 1962. Fr Wallace was interviewed in 1982 at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C., where he served for many years.

Why this post on Fr. Wallace? Because I use his text, The Modeling of Nature: Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Nature in Synthesis(Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1997) as one of our texts for a Philosophy of Nature course I teach at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. It's a trial by fire for many incoming students, since it's often their first exposure to the Aristotelian philosophical vocabulary and conceptualization with technical scientific modeling to which they've been exposed. Still, they have generally risen to the challenge. The MIT graduate who at first could make little sense of why we should want to make use of Aristotle's ancient causal model later came to appreciate Fr. Wallace's (and Aristotle's) wisdom, and even spearheaded the production of a canticle employing many of the technical terms used by Fr. Wallace. We sent Fr. Wallace a CD of the Seminary Choir performing the canticle, and he wrote back a letter of appreciation saying he might consider including copies of the CD in future editions of his book!

Related: Fr. Wallace, Philosophy of Nature, International Catholic University [transcript of video below]

[Hat tip to Mark Latkovic]