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Center for Spirituality to hold lecture series

Bridget Feeney | Friday, March 1, 2013

Beginning next month, the Saint Mary’s Center for Spirituality (CFS) will bring three speakers to campus as part of the 2013 Spring Lecture Series, “Mind, Body, Spirit: Connected.”

CVS director Sr. Kathleen Dolphin, PBVM, Ph. D, said these lectures will illustrate the overall goal of the Center, reminding people how the body, mind and spirit of a person are connected and dependent on one another.

“The mind and spirit are intimately connected and mutually enriching to each other in an academic setting,” she said. “We’re in a unique position to engage the Saint Mary’s community in discussion of the critical issues related to spirituality that are facing students.”

The lecture series, sponsored by the College’s Annual Endowed Lecture Series Fund, kicks off March 5 when Margaret O’Brien Steinfels will deliver a talk called “Perspectives on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.” Steinfels is the former co-director of the Center for on Religion and Culture at Fordham University.

“What we are trying to talk about in this first lecture is the Catholic intellectual tradition, which is very strong throughout history,” Sr. Dolphin, PBVM, Ph. D said. “It’s an acknowledgement of the power of human intellect.”
Sr. Dolphin said the human mind is a crucial part of a developing spirituality.

“It’s an emphasis on the mind in that we must think about the issues of the world, and it’s concerns and the issues in the church,” she said. “We are constantly thinking about what role the church plays in these issues.”

Sr. Dolphin said she admires Steinfels as both an author and a speaker. The two have a history together that came about long before their mutual interests in spirituality and the Catholic tradition.

“I went to grade school with Margaret in Chicago, so I’m very excited to hear see her speak and talk,” she said. “I highly respect her.”
However, Sr. Dolphin said she is also looking forward to the other two lectures in the series. The second speaker visiting campus is Suzette Bremault-Phillips, from the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Alberta in Canada.

Bremault-Phillips will speak March 26 in a talk called, “Exploring the Body/Spirituality Interface.” The talk, according to Sr. Dolphin will focus on the use of spiritual experiences in medicine.

“She is exploring how the body and spirit get along with each other,” Sr. Dolphin, PBVM, Ph. D said. “She is studying the impact spirituality can have on someone who is ill. She’s done research on how people get better and recover if they’ve had some sort of spiritual or religious experience.”

Sr. Dolphin also said she is extremely interested in this lecture because the topic of connecting science and religion in this way is still in its early stages.

“I’ve met [Bremault-Phillips) before and she’s very energetic and very convinced there is something about spirituality and physical/mental health that we need to take a look at,” she said. “It’s a new field and study so I’m excited.”

The third and final speaker in the series, Mary Jo Weaver, is a Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at Indiana University speaking on April 2. Her talk, titled “The Evolutionary Adventure of Catholic Spirituality,” focuses more on the development of Catholic spirituality throughout history, according to Sr. Dolphin, PBVM, Ph. D.

“Catholic spiritually has evolved over the years and seen major changes,” she said. “We’ve seen old ways that didn’t work for people falling by the way side.”

Sr. Dolphin 5 said the audience might be hesitant of the talk or unsure of how to react because of the world “evolution” in the lecture’s title.

“Some people don’t like the world “evolved” when it comes to Catholic spirituality,” she said. “But it has certainly and Weaver is a high-energy speaker who has a lot to say on this subject.”

Each lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the CFS at (574) 284-4636 or visit www.saintmarys.edu/spirituality-current-lecture-series.