Past Events

Compassion Matters by Shawn Copeland, Ph.D.

Monday, September 26, 2016 7:30 p.m. Gorecki 204, College of Saint Benedict

Author and theologian M. Shawn Copeland will deliver the Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture lecture at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, in room 204, Gorecki Center, College of Saint Benedict.

Her lecture, entitled "Compassion Matters," is free and open to the public. It will explore compassion as a disposition, a virtue, a way of being and a way of acting, and will consider the contribution compassion makes to creating the common good.

Copeland is the author of "Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race and Being," which was published by Fortress Press in 2010.

"Being human is neither abstract nor hypothetical. It is concrete, visceral and embodied in the everyday experience and relationships that determine who we are," Fortress Press wrote in describing the book. "In that case, argues distinguished theologian Shawn Copeland, we have much to learn from the embodied experience of black women who, for centuries, have borne in their bodies the identities and pathologies of those in power."

A professor in the theology department at Boston College, she has previously taught at Marquette University (1994-2003) and Yale University Divinity School (1989-94). She also taught systematic theology in the degree program at the Institute for Black Catholic Studies, Xavier University, from 1994-2005.

Sallie McFagueBook-Lunch Discussion Group for Faculty, Staff and Students on Sallie McFague's work, Blessed are the Consumers, Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint.

Co-sponsored with the CSB Office of Sustainability and the CSB/SJU Libraries

February 5 & 19


Stephen Pope"What Can Christian Ethics Learn from Evolutionary Examinations of Altruism?"

Lecture by Stephen Pope

Wednesday, January 22, 7:30 pm, Quad 264 SJU

Co-sponsored by the Moral Theology Lecture Series and the Nicholas and Bernice Reuter Professorship in Science and Religion


Science and Religion Reading Group Luncheon with Stephen Pope

(Faculty/Staff event) January 22

Spring 2016

Mary Hirschfeld Lecture - Creation versus the Technocratic Paradigm: The Challenge of Laudato Si

Monday, February 29, 2016 at Gorecki 204, CSB

Mary Hirschfeld is assistant professor of economics and theology in the Humanities department of Villanova Univer­sity. She earned her Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University in 1989 and her Ph.D. in theology at the University of Notre Dame in 2013. She is a fellow of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, and she serves on the Board for the Program of Catholic Social Thought at the Lumen Christi Institute.  Her articles include publications in Review of Economics and Statistics, History of Political Economy, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Journal of Catholic Social Thought, Econ Journal Watch, Horizons, and Faith and Economics.

Spring 2015

Darwin and the Divine: Is There Room for God in the Evolutionary Process?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 7:00p.m. in Pellegrene Auditorium, SJU

Kenneth R. Miller, professor of biology at Brown University discussed the tendencies of evolutionary science being at leggerheads with religion.Miller set fourth his own ideas about increasing public understanding of science with the knowledge that evolution can be seen as a result of God's creative work.

This event was co-sponsored by the Nicholas and Bernice Reuter Professor in Science and Religion, the College of Saint Benedict Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture, and the Moral Theology Lecture Series.

Fall 2014

Creation Care:  EPA's New Greenhouse Gas Regulations and the Catholic Church's Support

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. in Gorecki 204B

This event was co-sponsored by CSB  Sustainability, CSB Campus Ministry, the Department of Peace Studies, the Department of Environmental Studies, the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict, and the Catholic Climate Covenant.


The Politics of Immigration and a Catholic Counternarrative
Lecture by Kristin Heyer
Monday, October 6, 2015, 7:30 p.m., Gorecki 204

The United States remains the world's leading destination for immigrants, and across new regions, U.S. residents are increasingly confronted with newcomers. Kristin Heyer offers an overview of immigraiton paradigms and explores the resources the Catholic intellectual tradition brings to bear on this pressing moral issue. Given her expertise in gendered dimensions of immigration rotted in formative experiences with deported women and mixed-status families, Dr. Heyer will highlight the threats particular to migrant women and families as well as their contributions.

View her lecture 


Book-Lunch Discussion Group for Faculty and Staff : Mary Syzbist, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for poetry, discusses her most recent work:  Incarnadine.

Friday, October 3, 2014 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

In her gorgeous second collection, Mary Szybist blends traditional and experimental aesthetics to recast the mysth of the Biblical Mary for this era. In vulnerable lyrics, surprising concrete poems, and other forms, and with extraordinary sympathy and a light touch of humor, Szybsit probes the nuances of love, loss, and the truggle for religious faith in a world that seems to argue against it. This is a religious book for nonbelievers, or a book of necessary doubts for the faithful.


Spring 2014

Politics & A Pint: The Catholic Church, Politics and Social Justice

Thursday, February 13, 2014, 5:00 p.m., Brother Willie's Pub SJU

An engaging discussion with Bishop Kettler was held in Brother Willie's Pub. All majors and ages were invited and pizza was served. This event was co-sponsored by The Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy & Civic Engagement and the CSB Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture, both serving the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.


Book-Lunch Discussion Group for Faculty, Staff and Students: Blessed are the Consumers, Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint by Sallie McFague

February 5 and February 19, 2014

"Given our twin planetary crises of climate change and unjust financial distribution, what is needed is not more information but the will to move from belief to action, from denial to profound change at both personal and public levels," states McFague in her latest book, Blessed are the Consumers, Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint. McFague is one of the leading Christian theologians on climate change and the environment. Join us as we explore McFague's argument that restraint is the only possible path forward for a world bent on consumption and overuse. Co-sponsored by the College of Saint Benedict Office of Sustainability and the CSB/SJU Libraries.


Spring Lecture: What Can Christian Ethics Learn from Evolutionary Examinations of Altruism?

Lecture by Stephen Pope

Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 7:30 p.m., Quad 264 SJU

Stephen Pope is a professor of theology at Boston College, where he has taught since receiving his Ph.D. in theological ethics at the University of Chicago in 1988. He teaches courses on social ethics and theological ethics, and his written several books including "The Evolution of Altruism and the Ordering of Love" (Georgetown, 1994) and "Human Evolution and Christian Ethics" (Cambridge, 2007).

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Nicholas and Bernice Reuter Professorship in Science and Religion; the College of Saint Benedict Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture, serving the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University; and the Moral Theology Lecture Series at CSB and SJU. The goal of the series is to bring distinguished moral theologians to the CSB and SJU campuses to address pressing issues in contemporary life.


Fall 2013

Forgiveness in the Service of Justice
Lecture by Margaret Farley
Wednesday, September 11, 7:30 p.m., Gorecki 204

This lecture addresses key societal and interpersonal issues regarding the meaning and appropriateness of "forgiving" and "being-forgiven." Against backgrounds of violence, oppression, fractured relationships, the 21st century has seen unprecedented concern for these issues. They have been analyzed by philosophers and theologians, political theorists and psychologists. This lecture will focus on the relation between forgiveness and justice, resistance, and love. Taking into account both secular and religious understandings, Dr. Farley will probe these questions as they emerge in particular within a Christian perspective.

View her lecture.

Student Luncheon with Margaret Farley - September 10, 2013

Are some actions so atrocious that they become unforgivable? If you have ever pondered deeply (or would like to!) the demands of the virtue of forgiveness, join us for lunch as we consider Christian and Jewish philosophers and theologians' perspectives about whether we are obligated to forgive unconditionally or whether the trespasser must meet certain conditions prior to forgiveness--for example, acknowledging wrongdoing, apologizing, and seeking reparations. Dr. Margaret Farley, a leading contemporary Catholic moral theologian, will explore these issues by focusing especially on the differing views of Jankelevitch and Derrida, two Jewish philosophers who tackled issues of forgiveness in light of the Holocaust. 

Faculty-Staff Luncheon with Margaret Farley: September 11, 12 p.m., TRC, Main Building, CSB

Faculty and Staff are invited to a luncheon with Margaret Farley to discuss her contributions to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the discipline of Christian ethics.


Spring 2013

The U.S. Economy and "The Faithful Budget"
Lecture by Sister Simone Campbell
Other Faith Perspectives by Rabbi Amy Eilberg and Nahid Khan

March 6, 2013

Sister Simone Campbell, who led the "Nuns on the Bus" tour this in the summer of 2012 to educate Americans about current economic injustices, explained how embracing the ideas of "the Faithful Budget" reflects Catholic social teaching and will promote greater economic justice for all.  Rabbi Amy Eilberg and Nahid Khan shared brief responses from Jewish and Muslim perspectives.

View S. Simone's lecture

Student Workshop: Activist Nuns, the U.S. National Budget, and Justice

February 26, 4:30-5:30 p.m., Gorecki 204 A

CSB and SJU Students are invited to attend a workshop on the activist work of Simone Campbell, D.C. lobbyist and executive director of NETWORK. Invited to speak at last year's Democratic National Convention, Campbell has also enjoyed appearing twice on the Colbert Report. At this event we will discuss her lobbying strategies for a just U.S. national budget, which includes her famous Nuns on the Bus campaign. Space is limited, so please email Stacy Penk, McCarthy Center coordinator, to reserve your spot.

Sister Simone Campbell is executive director of NETWORK, the Washington-based Catholic social justice lobbying group. She is an attorney and a poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change related to immigration reform, health care, peace, and economic justice. A member and former general director of the religious community Sisters of Social Service, Campbell led the "Nuns on the Bus" tour through nine states this past summer to educate Americans about current economic injustices and to encourage governmental officials and other citizens to embrace the ideas in the document "Priorities for a Faithful Budget" as a means of promoting greater economic justice for all. In the process, she and her companions on the tour highlighted the work of Catholic sisters in serving the poor and advocating for social justice. Cited for her "distinguished advocacy and commitment to economic justice and peace building," Campbell was awarded the 2012 Defender of Democracy Award by the Parliamentarians for Global Action, an international organization of legislators from 120 parliaments.

Co-sponsored by the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement at St. John's University.

Student Event: U.S. Politics and Social Justice

Pizza and Discussion with Sister Simone Campbell

March 4, 2013, 4:30-6:00 p.m., TRC, Main Building, CSB

CSB and SJU students are invited to take advantage of an exciting opportunity to meet and speak with national public policy lobbyist Simone Campbell about U.S. politics, economics, and justice for all Americans. Students will be assured a space at this dinner if they attend the Feb. 26th event described above. Please email Space is limited, so please email Stacy Penk, McCarthy Center coordinator, to reserve your spot on February 26 and March 4th.

Co-sponsored by the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement at St. John's University.

Faculty-Staff Luncheon: What the Angles left: A Poetry Lunch Discussion with Marie Howe

March 18, 11:30 a.m., TRC, Main Building, CSB

Catholic poet Marie Howe will reflect on her writing, her way of being in the world, and how her Catholicism has influenced her spirituality. Join Marie as she imaginatively explores deep and diverse theological questions:

Where did the angels go? Who or what might angels be in our world, and what is their gift? What, in 2013, is a devil? Is there a "good thief" in our lives? Where is the Kingdom of heaven? What does the nativity really mean? What about resurrection?

Poetry for Marie has been a way to enter questions like these and to listen in silence for God's answer. Is poetry, then, equivalent to prayer-a spiritual/theological/religious practice?

Co-sponsored by the College of St. Benedict Literary Arts Institute.

Poetry event with Marie Howe

Monday, March 18th, 7:00 p.m.
Gorecki Theater, CSB

Marie Howe has published three collections of poetry, with two of those three chosen for the National Poetry Series, Lavan Young Poets Prize, and Publisher's Weekly as among the five best poetry collections of the year. In addition to poetry, she has co-edited an essay anthology on the AIDS pandemic, an issue near to her heart from her brother's death.

Co-sponsored with the Literary Arts Institute and CSB Fine Arts Programming.

2011-2012 Program and Events

Fall Lecture:

American Catholicism in an Age of Global Influence  Read More
Dr. Joseph Chinnici, Professor of History and President/Rector of the Franciscan School of Theology, Berkeley, CA
October 24, 2011

Spring Lecture:

The Case of Ruby Hurley: Religion and the Making of U.S. Democracy Read More
Dr. Rosetta Ross, Associate Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
March 19, 2012

Book Discussion:

In 2013 CSB will be celebrating its Centennial. In preparation for that event the Koch Discussion Series this year focused on the roots of the Benedictine community of women who founded the college and continue to sponsor it today. Chapters I, II, and III of the book, The Reshaping of a Tradition, Ephrem Hollermann, OSB, St. Mary's Press, Winona, MN 1994 were discussed on October 17 and November 14, 2011.  The article "To Hold in Trust: The Evolution of the Relationship between the Monastery and the College," by Emmanuel Renner, OSB, In With Hearts Expanded, St. Cloud, Minn.: North Star Press, 2000, pp. 199-230, was discussed February 27, 2012.

2010-2011 Programs and Events

Fall Lecture:

Memory and Resistance: Catholic Sisters and the Politics of Memory Read more
Dr. Margaret Susan Thompson, Associate Professor of History and Political Science, Maxwell School of Syracuse University, New York
October 18, 2010

Fall Co-sponsored Event: 

Luncheon Discussion, "Spiritual Mutuality on the Path to God"
With Margaret Susan Thompson, Syracuse University
An Event Sponsored by Companions on a Journey
October 18, 2010

Spring Lecture:

Catholic Women in a Protestant World: The Dissolution of the English Convents in the 1530s Read more
Dr. Emilie Amt, Hildegarde Pilgram Professor of History, Hood College,  Frederick, MD
March 28, 2011

Book Discussion:

In this "Year of Sustainability" at CSB/SJU the Koch Chair Discussion Series engaged in a year-long discussion of Green Sisters by Sarah McFarland Taylor. Green Sisters is an ethnographic study that explores "the practice and experience of women whose lives bring together Catholicism and ecology, orthodoxy and activism, traditional theology and a passionate mission to save the planet."
October 4, November 18, 2010; March 7, April 18, 2011

2009-2010 Programs and Events

Fall Lecture:

"Longing for Running Water: Ecofeminism and Liberation" View video
Ivone Gebara, Ph.D., Philosopher and Theologian, Recife, Brazil
October 19, 2009

Spring Lecture:

"Timeless Values for Twenty-First Century Careers" View video
Cheryl Crozier Garcia, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Human Resource Management, Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu
March 11, 2010

Fall Discussion:

"The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Catholic University" By Monica Hellwig in Examining the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, edited by Anthony J. Cernera and Oliver J. Morgan, 2000 More info
November 9, 2009

2008-2009 Programs and Events

Fall Lecture:

"Discovering the Obvious: Religion and Theology as Ever-Renewing Arenas of Human Creativity." View Video
Dr. Mary Bednarowski, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul
November 17, 2008

Spring Lecture:

"Prosperity in Adversity: Adaptations of the Christian Communities of Syria and Mesopotamia to Muslim Rule During the Early Islamic Centuries." View video
R. Stephen Humphreys, Ph.D., King Abdul Aziz Al Saud Professor of Islamic Studies and Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara.
March 18, 2009

Spring Discussion:

"Openness and Limit in the Catholic Encounter with Other Faith Traditions" by Francis X. Clooney in Examining the Catholic Intellectual Tradition edited by Anthony J. Cernera and Oliver J. Morgan, 2000
March 30, 2009

2007-2008 Programs and Events

Fall Lecture:

"After Regensburg: Where Catholic-Muslim Dialogue Is Today" View video
Dr. Sandra Keating, Ph.D., Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island
November 8, 2007

Fall Discussion:

"Education within the Benedictine Wisdom Tradition"
Statement of the Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities (ABCU), August 2007, More info
November 29, 2007

Spring Lecture:

"Going After a Life: The Myth and Mystery of Vocation" View video
Anne Patrick, Ph.D., William H. Laird Professor of Religion and the Liberal Arts, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota
March 27, 2008

Spring Discussion:

"The Benedictine Wisdom Tradition Meets the Catholic Intellectual Tradition: Shall We Gather at the Altar"
Paper presented by Mary Collins, OSB, of Mount Saint Scholastica Monastery, Atchison, Kansas, at the annual meeting of the ABCU, June 2007 More info
March 3, 2008

Co-sponsored Event:

Women's Spirituality Conference, "Spirited Questions, Sacred Answers"
An Event Sponsored by Companions on a Journey
College of Saint Benedict, Saint Jospeh, Minnesota
March 27-28, 2008

History (2002-2007) Prior to Appointment of First Chair

"God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It"  More info
James Wallis, Founder and Director of Sojourners
September 27, 2006"World Christianity and Christian Mission: Being Church in Asia" More info
 Peter Phan, Ph.D. Ellacuria Chair in Catholic Thought at Georgetown University
November 9, 2006

S. Ephrem Hollermann, O.S.B. Ph.D. Associate Professor of Theology, Appointed First Chair of the Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture, July 1, 2007


"Catholic Social Mission: Directions and Dangers for Higher Education"
John Carr, U.S. Council of Bishops
October 10, 2005"Is Your Spirituality Violent?" More info
Tom Beaudoin, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University
March 9, 2006"Environmental Justice: Making Our Cities Green" More info
John Coleman, S.J. Charles Casassa Professor of Social Values at Loyola Marymount University
April 26, 2006


"The Vital Vote? Thinking Catholics and Politics" More info
 Joe Feuerherd, Washington Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter
October 18, 2004"Vatican II to the Blogosphere: Church and Politics today" More info
John Thavis, Vatican News Bureau Chief
March 14, 2005


"The Eliot School Rebellion, Boston, 1859: Education, Slavery and the Nineteenth Century Catholic Revival" More info
John T. McGreevy, Ph.D. John A. O'Brien Associate Professor of History and Department Chair
University of Notre Dame
February 12, 2004

Noreen Herzfeld, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Computer Science and Theology, Appointed Coordinator of the Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture, June 30, 2004

2002-2003 Inaugural Year of Consultation and Planning
Professor David O'Brien Visiting Lectureship

David O'Brien, Ph.D. Director of the Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Maryland
March 23-25, 20032002 Memorandum of Agreement, Koch Chair Endowment
$3 Million Gift from Barbara and David Koch, Long Lake, Minnesota
February 25, 2002

Student Workshop: Activist Nuns, the U.S. National Budget, and Justice