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Saint Mary’s lecture series to celebrate St. Teresa of Avila

| Tuesday, February 3, 2015

spirituality-graphic-WEBKeri O'Mara | The Observer

The Center for Spirituality (CFS) at Saint Mary’s announced its spring 2015 lecture series entitled “Saint Teresa of Avila: Carmelite Mystic and Doctor of the Church.”

The series will include two talks and one panel discussion, marking the 500th anniversary of Saint Teresa’s birth. According to a press release, the Saint Mary’s College Annual Endowed Lecture Series Fund will sponsor the lectures, which are free and open to the public and will take place in the Vander Vennet Theatre.

According to Michelle Egan, associate director of the CFS, the center hosts a series each fall and spring semester encompassing a specific topic or theme.

This spring series will follow the 2014 lecture series, “Unitas, Veritas, Caritas: Catholicism and the Liberal Arts and Sciences,” which explored the relationship of faith and reason across disciplines.

“When deciding on a theme, we consider the current contemporary religious and theological issues, or if there are any significant milestones within the Church,” Egan said. “The 500th anniversary of Teresa of Avila’s birth is one such milestone.”

While other CFS lecture series have focused on larger concepts, such as “facets of justice” or “leadership of Catholic women both past and current,” Egan said the spring 2015 series will discuss rather particular aspects of Teresa’s life and work.

The first lecture, titled “Teresa of Avila: Prayer is an Adventure in Love,” will take place Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

“Our first lecturer, Keith Egan, Aquinas chair of Catholic theology emeritus at Saint Mary’s, will explore Teresa’s thoughts on prayer and love because for this saint and doctor of the Church, she spent her life searching for God through prayer,” Egan said. “For her, prayer is an ‘exercise in love.’”

On March 3 at 7:30 p.m., the second lecture, “Teresa the Theologian on the Human Person as Capax Dei” will feature a visiting scholar from Fairfield University.

“Elizabeth Dreyer, religious studies professor at Fairfield University, will consider Teresa’s work as an incarnational theologian and how that has or hasn’t prospered in the history of Christian theology and spirituality,” Egan said.

The third and final lecture of the series will feature a panel of both undergraduate and post-graduate students from Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame, titled “Teresa and Us: The Significance of Teresa of Avila for Young Catholic Women Today.” The panel will take place March 19 at 7:30 p.m.

“Our final event in the series will be a panel discussion about the significance of Teresa for today’s young Catholic women,” Egan said. “Teresa was certainly a leader in the Church, she was a religious founder, a reformer, and her writings have been, and continue to be, very influential to theologians.”

“How she is a source of wisdom is just as relevant today to young women as she was several hundred years ago,” she said.

According to Egan, this series furthers the CFS’s purpose, as the organization was established in 1984 as a center to “build a theologically well-grounded spirituality among members of the College and greater South Bend community,” according to the press release.

Egan said the events also support the religious and academic missions of the College.

“World-renowned scholars come to Saint Mary’s to share their wisdom on contemporary religious issues and to address broader issues of how faith and reason interact,” Egan said.

Senior Madison Maidment said she enjoys having the opportunity to hear such scholars discuss aspects of spirituality that are not often elaborated upon in religion courses as fully as possible.

“I remember a lot of my friends who are nursing majors were really interested in the fall series because it had lectures concerning things like health care professions and biology,” Maidment said. “This spring series interests me a little more because it gives students a chance to get to know a saint on a more personal, relatable level, and I think that’s an awesome opportunity.

“… But both series this school-year have brought topics to the table that aren’t often discussed in our daily lives, and I think these unique themes appeal to a wide variety of students.”

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About Kelly Konya

Kelly Konya is an English major bred on Catcher in the Rye and Roman cornettos.

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