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SMC explores faith and law

| Monday, February 3, 2014

Faculty and students gathered for the first lecture in the Spirituality Monday series, sponsored by the Saint Mary’s Center for Spirituality, to hear justice education professor Adrienne Lyles Chockley share insights on the relationship between spirituality and law in the Student Center.
Lyles Chockley said she defines her personal spirituality as an “internal life directed by confident faith, passion, transcendence and revelation of God.”

This notion of spirituality influences her legal career, she said.

“Spirituality guides power in a very healthy way,” she said.

Lyles Chockley said she acted as an advocate for rape victims while living in California. Sexual assault is an issue that “men and women address together,” she said.

Lyles Chockley said during her time as a legal advocate for needy clients, she witnessed callings that told her where she needed to be and guided her to help people. Some of these callings directed her to attend Notre Dame over a free alternative institution, to start her own legal practice and to start a social justice initiative in Benton Harbor, Mich., she said.

Although her goal was set on obtaining her legal degree, Lyles Chockley said she strongly supports the idea of being an equal to the people she serves. She also said she believes being a powerful lawyer entails more spiritual ability because ex-offenders often lack “self-love.”

“Spirituality can make attorneys better practitioners of the law.”

Lyles Chockley said she wants to be more than an attorney.

“What can we do as a community to make sure everyone’s fundamental human rights are enforced and not just the rights that you have on paper or the rights you have on agreement with another party,” she said.

The next talk in the series features biology professor Tom Fogle discussing the connections of spirituality to biology, to take place Thursday, Feb. 13, and the final installment features chair of the Social Work Department Frances Kominkiewicz discussing the relationship between spirituality and social work Monday, Feb. 17.

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