A thought-provoking series for people seeking a learning community dedicated to exploring life's meaning and purpose. The series engages the religious, sociopolitical, and scientific issues of our time to identify the best of human values and stimulate thoughtful, creative responses for the enrichment of all peoples and stewardship of our earth.

Flourishing Together in Justice and Joy

2023-2024 William H. Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies Lecture Series
"In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced." — Pope Francis, XLVII World Day of Peace


The desire for a full life... The irrepressible longing for kinship... Drawn into fellowship... Seeing one another as neighbors to be accepted and embraced. Pope Francis speaks directly to the heart of what it means to be a human being: We are created for relationship, for connection, for intimacy. To be a human being is to carry a longing for friendship and love. This longing drives us out of ourselves, beyond the fears that cause us to retreat into isolation, and into the embrace of our neighbors. In that embrace, vulnerability is transformed into acceptance and brokenness is made whole. We discover that this embrace is the welcome of community, that exquisite bond of belonging that bursts forth in joy during times of celebration, that fosters a sense of inner peace and well-being, and that carries us when doubt and loss rock our world.

Pope Francis' certainty about who we are as human beings is not without its challenges. Each of us knows that inner impulse to view our neighbors as rivals and even enemies. We live in a time in which difference, diversity, and pluralism are experienced as threats and condemned as disruptive, deviant, or unpatriotic. This is precisely the context in which Pope Francis' words are most powerful. Each of us is called to root ourselves in communities whose values and principles lean into justice, causing joy to flourish. Together we are called, in every circumstance, to confront beliefs — no matter how subtle — and transform behaviors — no matter how imperceptible — that dehumanize any person, culture, or religion. Herein lies the source of our freedom to live rich, flourishing lives that witness to justice and radiate joy.

We are privileged to bring to our campus distinguished presenters who possess the courage to seek justice and the vitality of joy. With gratitude for sharing their wisdom with us, please welcome and plan to spend time with Leo Guardado, Robert Wicks, Sophfronia Scott, and Lucy Kurien.


Leo Guardado, Ph.D.

Church as Sanctuary: Healing Refuge in an Age of Forced Displacement
Open to all
Wednesday, October 11, 2023 • 7 p.m.
Forum, Otto Shults Community Center

We Become Neighbors: Accompanying Migrants in the Borderlands
Student Workshop — Registration Required
Thursday, October 12, 2023 • 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Medaille Hall, Formal Lounge

Robert Wicks, Psy.D.

The Simple Care of a Hopeful Heart: Strengthening Your Inner Life in Challenging Times
Open to all
Thursday, November 9, 2023 • 7 p.m.
Forum, Otto Shults Community Center

Mentoring Yourself in Uncertain Times: Enhancing Resilience, Compassion, and Mindfulness
Student Workshop — Registration Required
Friday, November 10, 2023 • 2:30 – 4 p.m.
Forum, Otto Shults Community Center

Sophfronia Scott, M.F.A.

The Color of Thought and the Heart of Nonviolence: Developing a Personal Practice
Student Retreat — Registration Required 
Saturday, February 17, 2024 • 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. with breakfast and lunch
Golisano Academic Center 151

Keep It Light, Keep It Moving: Riding a Wave of Joy to the Bright Shores of Change
Open to all
Sunday, February 18, 2024 • 3 p.m.
Forum, Otto Shults Community Center

Sr. Lucy Kurien

Walking Joyfully to Justice Together: The Story of the "Mother's Home" Ashram, India
Open to all
Thursday, March 7, 2024 • 7 p.m.
Forum, Otto Shults Community Center

Serving Humanity & Nature Each Day: A Way of Life at the "Mother's Home" Ashram, India
Student Workshop — Registration Required
Friday, March 8, 2024 • 2:30 – 4 p.m.
Medaille Hall, Formal Lounge

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