Upcoming Public Events
Below is a listing of upcoming public events sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center at Saint John's University. For Jay Phillips Center events at the University of St. Thomas and in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area click here.
In Quest of the Jewish Mary: The Mother of Jesus in History, Theology, and Spirituality
Lecture by Sister M. Christine Athans, BVM, Ph.D.
Wednesday, February 12, 7:30 p.m.
Quad 264, SJU
How did Mary, the mother of Jesus, portrayed in Sacred Scripture as a Jewish woman of the first century, evolve into the blond blue-eyed Nordic virgin whose statues still adorn many churches, classrooms, and homes? The rediscovery and new appreciation of the Jewishness of Jesus since the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) has led some Catholics to rethink how they perceive and understand Jesus' mother. In this lecture, which will include a PowerPoint presentation of Marian art over the centuries, Sister Christine Athans will draw on her recently published In Quest of the Jewish Mary: The Mother of Jesus in History, Theology and Spirituality (Orbis Books, 2013) to explore historical, theological, and devotional approaches to Mary. She will give special consideration to what might have been Mary's experiences as a first-century Jewish woman, including her prayer life, and how this Jewish Mary may serve as an inspiration for twenty-first century Christians. Sister Christine's new book will be available for purchase and signing.
M. Christine Athans, BVM, a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is professor emerita at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas and an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago and Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley and has been a leader in the field of Christian-Jewish dialogue for more than four decades. While teaching at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, Sister Christine was closely associated with the Center for Jewish-Christian Learning (now our Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning), serving as an advisor to Rabbi Max Shapiro, the center's first director, and editing several volumes of the center's proceedings. Since 2002 she has been active in the Catholic-Jewish Scholars Dialogue of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Chicago Board of Rabbis, and the Jewish Federation, chairing that group from 2008 to 2011. Sister Christine has lectured extensively and was one of four scholars on the A & E Biography television production "Mary of Nazareth" discussing the Jewishness of Mary. Among her many publications prior to her new book In Quest of the Jewish Mary (Orbis Books, 2013) is the highly acclaimed study The Coughlin-Fahey Connection: Father Charles E. Coughlin, Father Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp. and Religious Anti-Semitism in the United States, 1938-1954 (Peter Lang, 1991).
Religion in Prison
Film screening of "If I Give My Soul" and interfaith conversation with Andrew Johnson and local prison chaplains
Monday, February 17, 7:30 p.m.
Alcuin Library, AV-1, SJU
If I Give My Soul: Pentecostalism in the Prisons of Rio captures the powerful role religion plays in the prisons of Rio de Janeiro. In particular, this film documents Andrew Johnson's work on why Pentecostalism thrives among inmate populations and the social consequences of charismatic Christianity for prisoners. Following the film screening, local prison chaplains -- Rabbi Lynn Liberman, Rashed Ferdous, and Robert A. Klanderud -- from the Jewish, Muslim, and Dakota and Lakota traditions will join Johnson in a discussion on the role of religion inside prisons in Minnesota and abroad. Click here to view the trailer.
Andrew Johnson, Ph.D., who will be scholar-in-residence for the Jay Phillips Center, is currently a research associate for the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California and recently served as a visiting fellow for the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. His publications include "Brazilian Evangelicals: Stepping out into the Streets?", "Brazil's Sleeping Giant: The Protestant Church," "Brazil's Restorative Prisons" coauthored with Lorenn Walker and Katherine van Wormer in Restorative Justice Today: Practical Applications (Sage, 2012), and the forthcoming "Politics of Presence: A Pentecostal Response to Violence in Prison in Rio de Janeiro" with the project Religion and Violence in Latin America at American University in Washington, D.C.. He earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Minnesota.
Rashed Ferdous, a speaker for the Islamic Resource Group, is involved in various interfaith activities in the Rochester area, including Interfaith Habitat for Humanity, Rochester Area Interfaith Youth Core, and the KSMQ weekly TV show "Diversity Connection: Faith Edition." A software engineer by profession, Rashed volunteers at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, a federal prison providing specialized medical and mental health care to for male inmates, the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center, and the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Red Wing.
Robert A. Klanderud, of Dakota and Lakota heritage, is enrolled with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in Minnesota and is committed to both his Native and Christian traditions. He served for eight years for the Division of Indian Work and Minneapolis Council of Churches as a case worker in the Fathers Program, Strengthening Family Circles program, and mentorship program for incarcerated men. He also served for eight years in the chaplaincy program of the department of corrections for Hennepin, Stearns, Steele, and Anoka counties.
Rabbi Lynn Liberman is a resident chaplain in Clinical Pastoral Education at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, an on-call chaplain at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, and a chaplain for the Mendota Heights and West St. Paul police and fire departments. She has worked in various educational settings and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Augsburg College. A board member of Nechama-Jewish Response to Disaster, she is trained in Psychological First Aid and is a volunteer at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee where she served as an intern chaplain.
Sponsored in collaboration with Intercultural and International Student Services at CSB/SJU
Listening for the Spirit of God in Our Pursuit of Justice:
Spirituality and Justice in the Jewish Tradition
Lecture by Rabbi Rachel Timoner
Monday, April 28, 7:30 p.m.
Founders Room (Quad 170), SJU
Judaism is an action-focused tradition. From the commandments given at Sinai and the shouts of Israel's ancient prophets to the teachings of contemporary women and men of prophetic vision and witness, Judaism calls upon people to end poverty, oppression, and all forms of injustice. But what is the relationship between spirituality and justice in Jewish tradition? In this lecture, Rabbi Rachel Timoner will explore the meaning of God as spirit, ways of discerning God's spirit in and around us, spiritual practices that help us nurture the gifts of God's spirit in our lives, and how all of this relates to the covenantal call for creating a better world.
Rabbi Rachel Timoner is associate rabbi at Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, where her focus is on social justice, spiritual life, and lifelong learning, and she is the author of Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism, published by Paraclete Press. She was born and grew up in Miami, Florida, earned a B.A. degree from Yale University, and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and received numerous awards, including one for excellence in biblical studies and another for scholarly writing. Before entering rabbinical school, she worked for thirteen years with social justice non-profit organizations, was named by the San Francisco Examiner and KQED (PBS) as an "Unsung Hero," was a Next Generation Leadership Fellow of The Rockefeller Foundation, and received the Do Something National BRICK Award for Community Leadership.