Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Edith Stein Project: Toward Integral Healing for Women and Culture

A new student group, The Identity Project of Notre Dame (IDND), formed during the 2006-07 school year. IDND’s goal is to promote discussion of the dignity and vocation of men and women in light of Catholic anthropology (i.e., teaching on the nature and purpose of human persons) at Notre Dame and in the community. The students hope to help other students integrate these principles into their daily lives. The founding members of the enormously successful Edith Stein Conference helped to start IDND, and the conference now continues under its auspices.

This year’s conference, held at Notre Dame on February 23rd and 24th, was entitled, “The Edith Stein Project: Toward Integral Healing for Women and Culture,” and focused specifically on healing for individual women and for society generally. During this conference, participants were asked to discuss approaches to healing which embrace a vision of the person as an inextricable union of body and soul and to integrate spiritual, emotional and psychological aspects of the person. The participants were encouraged to weave together intellectual and pastoral elements of Catholic teaching in an effort to re-form our culture’s perception of the person and women’s perception of their selves in light of their inalienable human dignity. Speakers included Paolo Carozza, associate professor of Notre Dame Law School and a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Wendy Shalit, author of A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue; and Janet Smith, a moral theologian from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

In addition to the conference, IDND also sponsored various social events, an outreach initiative to high school students, and weekly discussions for undergraduate students on various issues concerning the dignity and vocation of human persons, on human sexuality and on marriage.

The conference closed with a preview screening of the movie Bella – an independent, prolife film, and winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, which is scheduled for general release in August 2007.

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