Born in England in 1906, Gerald Vann entered the Dominican Order in 1923 and, after completing his theological studies in Rome, was ordained a priest in 1929. On returning to England, he studied modern philosophy at Oxford and was then sent to Blackfriars School in Northhamptonshire to teach and later to serve as headmaster of the school and superior of the community there. Tireless in his efforts to bolster the foundations of peace, he organized the international Union of Prayer for Peace during his tenure at Blackfriars.Fr. Vann devoted his later years to writing, lecturing, and giving retreats in England and in the United States, including giving lectures at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.He wrote numerous articles and books, including a biography of St. Thomas Aquinas, who influenced him greatly. Fr. Vann’s writings combine the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas with the humanism emphasized in the 1920s and 1930s. His works reflect his keen understanding of man’s relationship to God, his deep sensitivity to human values, and his compassionate understanding of man’s problems and needs. Particularly relevant in today’s divided world is his appeal for unity, charity, and brotherhood. His words reveal what it means today to fulfill the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love one’s neighbor.
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