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Club Feature: the Identity Project

| Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Identity Project of Notre Dame (IDND), a student club that addresses issues of sexuality and human dignity through the lens of Catholic Church teaching, is in the midst of planning its annual Edith Stein Project Conference.

“The Edith Stein Project Conference is the largest student-run conference in the United States,” Hailey Vrdolyak, club co-vice president and junior, said. “The conference brings together 30 speakers to discuss what the Catholic Church can offer to the discussion of issues faced on college campuses, such as the hook-up culture, pornography and other topics regarding human sexuality.”

Vrdolyak said past conferences have been attended by more than 300 people, including Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students and professors. This year’s conference, to be held Feb. 6-7 in McKenna Hall, will address the theme of “Radiant Image: Cultivating Authentic Identity in the Modern World” and will focus on the central idea of living in God’s image, according to the IDND website.

The conference namesake, Edith Stein, was canonized in 1998 as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and “fought for the truth and the dignity of women through her writings and frequent letters,” according to the IDND website. Working as a teacher, nurse and philosopher and eventually as a cloistered Carmelite nun, she was martyred at Auschwitz in 1942. The club website states: “We look to Edith Stein for inspiration as a model of turning one’s heart to God and as someone who lived her vocation with the genuine spirit of self-gift.”

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Edith Stein Project Conference.

“The club was founded in 2004, and the first conference was held in the spring of 2005,” IDND president and senior Mary Kate Martinson said. “The Identity Project has hosted an annual conference every spring since its founding.”

Although the annual conference serves as the club’s main event, IDND co-sponsors other campus events that promote the Catholic identity of Notre Dame and help students develop as Catholic leaders, Alexandra DeSanctis, IDND co-vice president and junior, said.

The club meets on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. in the McNeill Room of LaFortune.

“We foster fruitful conversation about issues of identity … and healthy relationships,” DeSanctis said. “We often read articles on these topics and discuss in a group. The meetings are also often used as a time to plan for the conference.”

Contact idnd@nd.edu or visit the club Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/identityND for more information about the club or the conference. Register for the conference online at www3.nd.edu/~idnd/. Registration is free for Notre, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students.

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