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Ralph McInerny

University of Notre Dame






Ralph McInerny is one of the world’s outstanding Thomistic philosophers.  He holds degrees from the St. Paul Seminary, the University of Minnesota and Laval University.  He taught at the University of Notre Dame from 1955 until this past year, and in 1977 he was named the Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies.  For seven years he was director of the Medieval Institute; from 1979 to 2005 he was director of the Jacques Maritain Center.


Professor McInerny has published extensively both academically and in the field of fiction. In the first category are Aquinas and Analogy, The Question of Christian Ethics, Aquinas on Human Action and the Penguin Classic, Thomas Aquinas: Selected Writing.  His biography of Jacques Maritain, The Very Rich Hours of Jacques Maritain appeared in 2003, and a self-biography in 2006 with the title I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You: My Life and Pastimes.  Most recently, he has published Praeambula fidei: Thomism and the God of the Philosophers (CUA Press, 2006).


Ralph is also the author of the Father Dowling, Andrew Bloom, and Sister Mary Teresa  mysteries, among the most recent of which include Green Thumb (2004), Irish Gilt (2005), and The Letter Killeth: A Mystery Set at the University of Notre Dame (2006).


He has served as president of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the Metaphysical Society, the American Maritain Society and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.  He has been visiting professor at nearly a dozen universities and is the recipient of various fellowships, honors and awards, among them the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement award for mystery writing.  He is a fellow of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas.  His Gifford Lectures, delivered in Glasgow in 1999-2000, were published under the title Characters in Search of Their Author (2001).  He was appointed to membership on President Bush’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.  In 2007 the Ave Maria University Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal presented him with the Cardinal Journet Medal.


Ralph McInerny and his wife Connie, who passed away in 2001, enjoyed 48 years of married life, and the McInerny clan counts six children and seventeen grandchildren.