Spring 2023 Events at the Center for Spirituality

2023 Madeleva Lecture 

Thursday April 13, 2023

Cristina L. H. Traina, PhD  
"Feminism, Finitude, and Flourishing: On 'Being Mortal, Like Everyone Else' (Wis 7:1)"
7:00 PM ET, Carroll Auditorium, Madeleva Hall
Free and open to the public — In person and Online
[Click Here for Livestream Registration]

The Madeleva Lecture is named for Sister Madeleva Wolff, CSC, who served as president of the College from 1934-1961. Her many accomplishments include the establishment in 1943 of the School of Sacred Theology, the first institution in the United States to provide graduate education in theology to women. Although the school closed in 1969, the lecture series named in her honor has for over three decades given voice to women scholars in the discipline of theology. For more information about this important lecture, visit the Madeleva Lecture webpage.


"Becoming a Pilgrim People" Webinar

Friday February 10, 2023 — 12:00 NOON ET

Join the Center for Spirituality in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame's Medieval Institute for the second in a webinar series on Pilgrimage this semester. This webinar series focuses on the question: How can the practice of pilgrimage support current work for racial justice and healing of memory?

This webinar will examine present-day lived experiences of pilgrimage through the lens of liberation theology. Panelists André Brouillette, SJ, Associate Professor of Systematic and Spiritual Theology at Boston College, and Layla Karst, Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, will discuss: What resources does pilgrimage offer as we work to create inclusive and welcoming faith communities? The panel will be moderated by the Center for Spirituality's Director Daniel P. Horan, OFM, PhD.

The webinar is free and open to the public. To learn more about the series visit:
[Click Here for Livestream Registration]


The Ex Libris Author Lecture Series

Tuesday January 31, 2023
**This Event is Postponed Until Next Year**

Kurt Buhring, PhD
Spirit(s) in Black Religion: Fire on the Inside
5:00 PM ET, Stapleton Lounge, Le Mans Hall
Free and open to the public — In person and Online
[Click Here for Livestream Registration]

Thursday February 23, 2023

Steven J. Battin, PhD
Intercommunal Ecclesiology: The Church, Salvation, and Intergroup Conflict
5:00 PM ET, Stapleton Lounge, Le Mans Hall
Free and open to the public — In person and Online
[Click Here for Livestream Registration]
The bookstore will have books available for purchase and author will sign books after the presentation.

Tuesday March 7, 2023

Jeanna DelRosso, PhD; Leigh Eicke, PhD; Celia Wexler, and Lizzie (Sextro) Wiley 
Unruly Catholic Feminists: Prose, Poetry, and the Future of Faith
5:00 PM ET, Carroll Auditorium, Madeleva Hall
Co-Sponsored by the Department of English and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies
Free and open to the public — In person and Online
[Click Here for Livestream Registration]
The bookstore will have books available for purchase and author will sign books after the presentation.


Live Recording of The Francis Effect Podcast 

Thursday April 27, 2023 — 7:00 PM ET — Rice Commons, Student Center at Saint Mary's College

Join The Francis Effect Podcast co-hosts (David Dault, Daniel Horan, OFM, and Heidi Schlumpf) for a special LIVE recording of the last episode of the award-winning podcast about faith, news, culture, and politics. The event is free and open to the public. There is no livestream of this event, but the podcast will be released in the regular The Francis Effect Podcast feed for subscribers.


"Tuesdays with Merton" Webinar Series

A webinar series presented by the International Thomas Merton Society and the Center for Spirituality at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame on the second Tuesday of each month. Free and open to the public. Registration is required to access the Zoom link. 

Recordings of the webinars will be available on the Tuesdays with Merton YouTube Channel within a few days of their broadcast: Tuesdays with Merton YouTube Channel. Audio-only versions also will be available later via podcast (subscribe wherever you download your favorite podcasts). To learn more about past and future speakers in the "Tuesdays with Merton" webinar series, visit:

January 10, 2023 (8:00 PM ET) — Emma McDonald — "Fully Human and Fully Real: Thomas Merton on Technology and Embodiment."

Thomas Merton's writings reflect his skepticism in response to rapid technological progress and his deep concern that technological innovation imperils human freedom. In the decades since his death, the pace of technological development has only increased, especially in the realm of biological and medical technologies. What might Merton’s perspectives on technology, human freedom, and moral responsibility have to offer us as we confront new developments in gene editing and reproductive technologies?

Emma McDonald is a doctoral candidate in Theological Ethics at Boston College. Her research brings together qualitative methods and theological reflection to examine family formation, moral agency, and technology. She currently serves on the board of the International Thomas Merton Society.


February 14, 2023 (8:00 PM ET) — Robert Grip — "Washington Watches the Monk II"

Washington Watches the Monk II is a sequel to Bob Grip’s essay in The Merton Seasonal revealing U.S. government files about Thomas Merton. Drawing on his decades as a journalist, Grip filed Freedom of Information Act requests to various agencies to explore the federal government’s archives. He discovered everything from routine records to evidence of illegal surveillance, which he will illustrate. This session will also include comment from a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist on the surveillance of private citizens.

Bob Grip devoted his entire professional life to journalism, most of it on the air in television news, including reports from the U.S. Gulf Coast to the Middle East to Europe including a meeting with Pope (and now Saint) John Paul II. He also taught multimedia journalism for 25 years at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. Grip earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a master’s degree in Journalism from The Ohio State University. He is a former board member, treasurer and President of the International Thomas Merton Society.


March 14, 2023 (8:00 PM ET) — Mary Frohlich, RSCJ, PhD — "Merton as Disciple and Re-interpreter of St. John of the Cross"

When Young Thomas Merton first awakened to prayer during his student years at Columbia University, he turned to the writings of St. John of the Cross for contemplative wisdom. Near the end of his life when Merton summed up his teaching on prayer in his book Contemplative Prayer, John of the Cross appeared again as one of his most important sources. This presentation examines how Merton based his approach strongly upon some aspects of John's teaching while creatively weaving it together with a vast array of other sources.

Mary Frohlich, RSCJ, is a Professor Emerita at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago after teaching there from 1993 to 2020. She is a noted scholar of Carmelite spirituality, with numerous published essays on Teresa of Avila, Thérèse of Lisieux, and John of the Cross as well as on broader issues in the tradition. Her book Breathed into Wholeness: Catholicity and Life in the Spirit was published by Orbis in 2019, and she is currently working on another to be entitled The Heart at the Heart of the World. She now resides in Cambridge, MA, and focuses primarily on ecospiritual issues.



April 11, 2023 (8:00 PM ET) — Patrick O'Connell, PhD — "Beyond the Blurbs: Thomas Merton and St. Augustine"

MERTON’S NAME was associated with Augustine’s from the moment his autobiography appeared with comparisons to the Confessions on its cover. This presentation considers Merton’s ongoing interactions with Augustine in published works, journals and conferences: his reliance on Augustinian distinctions between cupidity and charity, science and wisdom; his measured evaluation of Augustinian mystical teaching and formulation of just war theory; his apprecia­tive novitiate classes on De Doctrina Christiana; to his hermitage reflections on Camus’ university thesis on Augustine. This topic provides a fascinating and illuminating window on the development of various aspects of Merton’s own spirituality.

PATRICK F. O’CONNELL, a founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, edits the ITMS quarterly publication The Merton Seasonal and is co-author with Christine M. Bochen and William H. Shannon of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia (Orbis, 2002). He has edited twelve volumes of Thomas Merton’s monastic conferences, most recently Liturgical Feasts and Seasons (Cascade, 2022), as well as Merton’s Selected Essays (Orbis, 2012), Early Essays, 1947-1952 (Cistercian, 2015) and Cistercian Fathers and Forefathers (New City, 2018), as well as Merton & Confucianism (Fons Vitae, 2021). He is professor emeritus at Gannon University, Erie, PA.



May 9, 2023 (8:00 PM ET) — Jim Robinson, PhD — "Spirituality, Sustainability, and Social Justice: Embodying “Integral Ecology” with Thomas Merton and Rosemary Radford Ruether"

FROM AUGUST 12, 1966 through February 18, 1968, Thomas Merton and Rosemary Radford Ruether engaged in a vibrant exchange of nearly 40 letters. In this talk, Robinson builds on this existing exchange by placing passages from Merton’s and Ruether’s broader bodies of work into conversation. He specifically lifts up insights from Merton and Ruether that can aid us in imagining and incarnating sustainable lives, communities, and societies that are grounded in spirituality and committed to social justice. In the process, he considers the links between Merton’s insights, Ruether’s insights, and Pope Francis’s promotion of an “integral ecology.”

JIM ROBINSON is a member of the Religious Studies Department at Iona University, where he serves as Director of the Thomas Merton Contemplative Initiative and Associate Director of the Deignan Institute for Earth and Spirit. He received his PhD in Theology from Fordham University, his MTS from Harvard Divinity School, and his BA from Drew University. He is a recent ITMS Shannon Fellow and a GreenFaith Fellow. He is actively involved in a number of lay Catholic communities committed to embodying spirituality, ecology, and social justice, including Agape Community in Hardwick, MA, and Benincasa Com­munity in Guilford, CT.



Upcoming "Tuesdays with Merton" Dates:

  • More details to be announced in the coming months