Monday, November 29, 2010

Diocesan evening of reflection for couples struggling with infertility

We want to put the word out that the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Office of Family Life is hosting An evening of hope for those touched by infertility on Friday, December 3, from 7:00-9:30 p.m. at St. Pius X parish in Granger. The evening will begin in the Holy Cross Room with witness talks by married couples, and will conclude in the chapel with a reflection by Fr. Bob Lengerich, followed by Eucharistic Adoration. This event is free and open to the public, and registration is not required. It should be an excellent event.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanks for a great conference!

Sincere thanks to all who participated in this weekend's eleventh annual fall conference-- invited speakers, presenters, session chairpersons, and attendees. We were particularly pleased to have the largest undergraduate turn-out to date. All ten of the invited speaker sessions were recorded on video, so look for those to be featured on our website after Thanksgiving. Registered participants should also receive the conference roster within a week. Thanks for your enthusiastic participation and support, and make sure to save the date for next year's conference, Nov. 10-12, 2011!

Friday, November 19, 2010

TODAY: Annual Fall Conference

Join us all day today, Friday, November 19 and tomorrow, Saturday, November 20, for our annual Fall Conference, "Younger Than Sin: Retrieving Simplicity Through the Virtues of Humility, Wonder & Joy." Sessions will be going on in McKenna Hall all day from 9 a.m. through the keynote at 7:30 p.m. View the full schedule here.

Tonight's keynote address will be delivered by Lawrence Cunningham of Notre Dame, speaking on the recently canonized St. Andre Bessette, C.S.C., in the auditorium of McKenna Hall at 7:30.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Integritas Seminar I

Last week the Integritas program met for its first seminar, "The Value of an Education in the Liberal Arts." The seminar was led by Greer Hannan, director of the program, and it explored such questions as: What is the enduring value of a liberal arts education? What sort of preparation for living do the liberal arts provide? What does it mean to learn “how to think?” How is a Christian education unique? What vision of the integration of scholarship, spirituality and service does Pope John Paul II offer us? 

The students read three texts in preparation for the seminar: Ex Corde Ecclesiae by Pope John Paul II, Go with God, an article by Stanley Hauerwas, and David Foster Wallace's Kenyon College commencement address, delivered in 2005 and recently published as This Is Water

The students debated how a Christian college education should be different from that of a great secular university that also values the search for truth and the ways in which it can bear fruit in service to others. They located the difference in the emphasis that Christians place on protecting and advancing human dignity which we all bear since we were made in the image and likeness of God. Pope John Paul II provides a comprehensive vision for what a Catholic university should be in Ex Corde when he says, "Every Catholic University, as a university, is an academic community which, in a rigorous and critical fashion, assists in the protection and advancement of human dignity and of a cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to the local, national and international communities."

Several students raised the question of whether the sort of formation that a liberal arts education is supposed to provide can only be received at a university, or whether life in the wide world can be an equally good school. They concluded that such formation can be found outside of a university, but that the ultimate challenge is to see the world with greater complexity and imagination, and that a university in a unique way can provide both complexity and integration through its various discipline and extended intellectual interrogation of ideas. David Foster Wallace expressed education as a quest for freedom: "But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving... The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. This is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing."

Solipsism came up several times during the discussion, and the idea that a liberal education is liberal enough to give a person a wider view, as it helps one to imaginatively step outside oneself and truly see a problem from other perspectives. Undertaking an education in the liberal arts challenges our unreflective experience of the world, that "everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence....It is our default setting hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of," as David Foster Wallace puts it.

Although sometimes students worry that the indulging in the luxury of four years of college is itself a selfish and solipsistic undertaking, Stanley Hauerwas speaks of education as a calling and as intended for the benefit of the community, rather than just an individual's ambitions. He says, "By all means honor those who are serving the Church in the ordained ministry, or through social action, or through spiritual direction. But remember: You are about to become a student--not a pastor, a social worker, or a spiritual director. Whatever you end up doing with your life, now is the time when you develop the intellectual skills the Church needs for the sake of building up the Body of Christ."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bread of Life

The Center for Ethics and Culture hosted its fourth Bread of Life dinner and discussion last night, sponsored by the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human life. Forty students and professors gathered in the Oak Room of the South Dining Hall to reflect on the theme of adoption, with Elizabeth Kirk giving the address, "An Exchange of Gifts: Celebrating Adoption in the Culture of Life" before dinner. The dinner guests, who came from a variety of faith commitments and ethical commitments on beginning of life issues, discussed the ways in which society might be theoretically committed to adoption as a positive option, but practically adoption is not encouraged popularly in our culture: it remains that case that there are around two million couples who desperately desire to adopt, while less than 7,000 infants are put up for adoption domestically each year, with a million babies lost to abortion every year. Students and professors alike left with a new perspective on the issue, and a new commitment to seek out ways in which Notre Dame can promote adoption and publicly witness to the sanctity of life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thursday night lecture at St. Mary's College

This week St. Mary's College  welcomes distinguished pro-life lawyer, theologian, and mother Erika Bachiochi to its campus.   Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School calls Erika Bachiochi one of the leaders of a "new feminism."

Bachiochi will speak on how the Catholic Church's teaching on sex, abortion, and birth control are pro-woman.  Her talk will take place on Thursday, November 11th at 7:30pm in St. Mary's Stapleton Lounge in LeMans Hall.

Integritas Program Launches

Our long-anticipated undergraduate program integrating scholarship, spirituality, and service, called Integritas, launched on Thursday, November 4. The program opened with Mass in Our Lady of Mercy Chapel in Geddes Hall, followed by dinner for our 13 student participants. Several professors who will be involved with the program and Center staff were also able to attend the Mass and dinner. All of us at the Center were excited to finally meet the students who we have been thinking about and praying for since June, when we first committed to introducing the new program. It is a diverse and dynamic group, comprised of five freshmen, three sophomores, one junior, and four seniors, hailing from Notre Dame, Saint Mary's College, and Holy Cross College, representing the Arts & Letters, Architecture, Business, and Engineering colleges. Check back here for updates on our weekly activities!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TONIGHT: Stratford Caldecott to lecture on "Beauty for Truth's Sake"

Don't miss Stratford Caldecott's lecture "Beauty for Truth's Sake"  tonight at 7:30 p.m. in 138 DeBartolo Hall. Caldecott is the Editor of Second Spring.