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Linus J. Thro, Father, S.J.



Fr. Linus John Thro, S.J. was born in St. Charles, Missouri, 1913, January 15. Fr. Thro was one of six sons of the family. Later, four out of the six brothers, including Fr. Thro, entered the Society of Jesus. They have supported each other both as brothers and fellow Jesuits through the years. Their affection and support for each other are embodied in their sustained correspondence among the four of them, which are preserved in this collection. Fr. Thro graduated from Saint Louis University High in 1930 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1931 in Florissant, Missouri. While he enters Saint Louis University in 1930, he also becomes a novitiate in St. Stanislaus Seminary. He graduated from Saint Louis University with a BA in Greek in 1935, and started his long period of study in Canada. He studied philosophy in L’Immaculee-Conception in Montreal from 1935 to 1938, and earned an MA in French literature from the University of Montreal in 1938. In 1941, Fr. Thro came back to the U.S. and continued his Jesuit formation process. He did his regency at Regis College in Denver, Colorado from 1938 and 1941, teaching Latin, Greek, French and philosophy. He continued to study theology at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas from 1941 to 1945. In 1944, Fr. Thro is ordained into priesthood at St. Mary’s College.

After the ordainment, Fr. Thro went back to Canada in pursuit of a PhD degree in philosophy in University of Toronto. This is one of the most important period in Fr. Thro's academic life. At that time, Fr. Thro studied under Étienne Gilson, who is the founder and director of the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies(PIMS). Many Saint Louisians studied in PMIS, who share the same enthusiasm in research in medieval philosophy, especially Thomistic philosophy and also in historical manuscript studies, returned to St. Louis University later and together, continued their research and teaching from their period in PIMS. Among these students are George Klubertanz, Robert Henle, Leo Sweeney, Timothy Cronin, Fr. Sweeney, and of course Fr. Thro as well.

Fr. Thro earned the Doctor of Philosophy in 1948. His thesis is "The critique of St. Thomas in the Reportata Parisiensia and the orientation of the Scotistic metaphysics." He returned to teach in Saint Louis University in 1949 from 1949 until his retirement in 1981 except the period from 1961 to 1967 when he became the provincial of the Society of Jesus of the Missouri province. Fr. Thro is a dedicated teacher. A great part of his teaching is related to his own expertise and research in medieval philosophy. Another big part includes Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics which are the two most basic courses in philosophy until today. Almost all of his teaching materials are very well-preserved in the collection. Fr. Thro is also a very dedicated researcher, whose focus is on medieval philosophy, especially manuscript studies. He has been worked on a project on a critical edition of John Dymsdale's commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics, Ethics, and The Anima in cooperation with Professor Doctor Charles Ermatinger until his death in 2002. The project is almost finished but not yet published. It is also preserved in a relatively complete form in the collection.

Besides teaching and researching, Fr. Thro has also taken on several administrative position in Saint Louis University. He was rector of Fusz Memorial from 1958-61. He was the acting dean of the College of Philosophy and Letters from 1984 to 1985. From 1968 to 1974, he took on the responsibility as the chairman of the philosophy department of SLU.

Fr. Thro fought cancer twice in his life. The first time at his 81 year, and the second time at the very end of his life. His research was not stopped by either of them. He was working till the very last minute of his life. He died on campus April 13 2002.