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Professor, author will give Madeleva Lecture

Liz Harter | Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dr. Susan A. Ross, a professor of theology at Loyola University Chicago, will present the 2006 Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality today at 7:30 p.m. in Little Theatre at the Moreau Center for the Arts.

“[Ross] brings a feminist critique to theologies that romanticize or demonize the feminine as a symbol of heavenly or profane beauty,” the lecture program states.

In her lecture, entitled “For the Beauty of the Earth: Women, Sacramentality and Justice,” Ross will argue that it is both appropriate and just that women’s ways of seeing and doing be valued as well as men’s in the Church and in the world.

Ross has authored three books, including “Extravagant Affections: A Feminist Sacramental Theology,” as well as numerous journal articles on the topic of women in the Church, feminist ethics and theology.

Each year, the Saint Mary’s Center for Spirituality (CFS) – created in 1985 to continue focus of mature theological thought at the College – selects a prominent female scholar to address the community through the Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality.

“These women are stellar examples of how to integrate faith and human reason,” CFS director Kathleen Dolphin said.

This year will mark the 21st anniversary of the Madeleva series and returns to the tradition of featuring a solo lecturer. Last year’s address, entitled “Vatican II Forty Years Later: Legacy, Leadership, and Unfinished Business,” included several Madeleva scholars and marked the College’s yearlong celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Vatican II decisions.

“[These lectures] give a strong signal that we’re talking about a post-Vatican II Church here, and the strongest voice for change in the Church is our Madeleva lectures,” Dolphin said.

The Madeleva Lectures in Spirituality were named to honor Sister Madeleva Wolff, who served as Saint Mary’s president from 1934 to 1961. Wolff inaugurated the Graduate School of Sacred Theology, which was the first woman’s program in Catholic theology.

“She was a woman of vision, imagination and courage,” Dolphin said.