In 1997, Teresita Nixon registered a sole proprietorship with the name of Aquinas Institute. She thought it best to name her dream institute after St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest doctor of the Catholic Church. St. Thomas Aquinas is an epitome of intelligence, wisdom, holiness and never ending love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Moreover, Teresita was educated from kindergarten to college for a total of 15 years at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. In gratitude, appreciation and loyalty to the members of the Dominican Order at the university, she decided to follow their good example of having St. Thomas Aquinas as the patron saint of Aquinas Institute.
The founding board of directors of Aquinas Institute included Fr. Paul Pang of Taiwan; Fr. Lukose Cheruvalel of India; Fr. John Gibson of Sierra Leone; Dean Francisco Reyes of the Philippines; Nicolas Tumbelaka who later on was ordained as a priest; Nena Sison; and Teresita Nixon. Nicolas, Nena and Teresita worked together in the Antonian Club under Fr. Ronald Thompson, parish priest at St. Anthony’s Church in Vancouver. In 2004, Aquinas Institute welcomed Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo, P.A. , President of the Matrimonial Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Vancouver as its first spiritual director and he continued to be the spiritual director until his death on December 29, 2019.