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Interface of science, faith to be analyzed

Nikki Taylor | Thursday, April 17, 2008

Internationally known author and lecturer, Barbara Fiand, S.N.D.deN, Ph.D., will speak tonight in Little Theater at Saint Mary’s College at the 23rd annual Madeleva Lecture. Her talk will be an abridged version of her lecture entitled “Awe-filled Wonder: The Interface of Science and Spirituality.”

Fiand will address concerns about how recent discoveries in physics affect traditional and often-treasured spiritual beliefs, said Dr. Kathleen Dolphin, director of the Center for Spirituality.

The lecture will also deal with the idea of an expanding consciousness as discoveries in quantum physics and cosmology are made and how that relates to the idea of God.

“Barbara Fiand claims that we are faced today with a collapsing world view,” Dolphin said. “Her primary work is to help people make a transition from the old and familiar to the new and sometimes frightening. She sees our time as an exciting opportunity of profound love and freedom.”

The topic of the lecture is especially timely as Saint Mary’s recently received a grant of $100,000 from the John Templeton Foundation to explore the religion/science interface, Dolphin said. Both the grant and the Madeleva Lecture are run through the Center for Spirituality.

“This is an exciting year for Saint Mary’s College,” said Dolphin. “Dr. Fiand is one of today’s key thinkers exploring issues in science and religion. She has a great deal of experience in philosophy of science, theology, and spirituality. This year’s nominating committee made an excellent choice in selecting Barbara Fiand.”

The Madeleva Lecture series is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Each year a speaker is chosen by a committee consisting of the Center for Spirituality director, faculty members, a committee of sisters, and past Madeleva lecturers, Dolphin said.

The lecture series was created in 1985 to honor former SMC president Sister Madeleva Wolff who began a pioneering program in theology.

Fiand is a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, and she teaches at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University in Chicago. She is the author of eight books and numerous articles. The full version of her lecture will be available for purchase following the talk, Dolphin said.

The three-day New Voices Seminar will also run in conjunction with the Madeleva Lecture. This project is aimed at gathering women scholars to add depth and reflection to furthering the Catholic tradition.