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Edith Stein Project to address ways to heal

Laura Wilczek | Friday, February 23, 2007

Its goal last year was to “redefine feminism,” but when the Edith Stein Project begins today, organizers hope to help women dealing with violence or societal oppression heal both body and soul.

Today and Saturday Notre Dame will host a two-day conference entitled “The Edith Stein Project: Toward Integral Healing for Women and Culture.”

The conference started last year when a group of undergraduate women planned “The Edith Stein Project: Redefining Feminism.” This year, both male and female students organized the event with help from Notre Dame faculty and members of the South Bend community.

The focus on healing as an underlying and unifying theme in the conference is a shift from last year’s focus, which tried to address the vocation of women in the modern world.

The goal of this year’s conference, according to the Center for Continuing Education Web site, is to “encourage and empower both men and women to understand the types of healing that need to occur, and to be healers in their families, communities and throughout society.”

The conference plans to utilize Notre Dame’s strong sense of Catholic tradition and will focus on a holistic approach to healing as guided by the Catholic faith. The attention to healing on a physical and spiritual level corresponds to its namesake, Edith Stein, a woman who valued her faith.

This year’s topics – which include sexual assault, pornography, women’s sexual health and eating disorders – will be discussed in conjunction with how women can cope with and heal from such plights in contemporary culture.

The conference will feature multiple speakers, including Brandi Lee, editor-and-chief and co-founder of True Girl magazine; Dr. Jennifer Roeback Morse, author of “Smart Sex”; Paolo Carozza, associate professor of law at Notre Dame Law School; and Dr. Pia de Solenni, awarded the Pontifical Prize of the Academies by Pope John Paul II.

The conference will close Saturday with a 5 p.m. Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and a banquet. While there is a registration fee for visiting guests, the conference is free for Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students and faculty members.