Some Thoughts on Edith Stein 2014

I went to this year’s Edith Stein project, which focused on “Relationships and the Call to Love”. Michael Bradley writes about its success in the Irish Rover:

1) The presentations—They were fantastic. Oriented around the theme of “Relationships and the Call to Love,” each speaker, from his or her own perspective, tackled contemporary problems with relationship, and offered reflections on how to restore and build up relationships in the modern situation. Most of the presentations will be made available online soon.

2) The food—Donuts for breakfast? Yes. Sorry, mom.

3) The students and speakers from other schools and areas of the country—I find it refreshing and invigorating to meet and talk with peers from other colleges and universities, peers who have gathered on campus to discuss pressing topics in the context of shared commitments.

4) The booths—Set up throughout the McKenna atrium, these “information centers” provided opportunities to purchase a variety of books, learn about the respective organizations or groups to which many of the speakers belong, chances to make new personal connections and friendships, and more.

5) The Masses—Project attendees packed the Basilica of the Sacred Heart both days (Friday and Saturday) to celebrate our faith and enjoy two excellent homilies by Fr. Terry Ehrman, CSC, and Fr. Bill Miscamble, CSC.

6) The conversations—In every nook and cranny of McKenna (which is deceptively spacious, especially on its second floor), Project attendees gathered during breaks and presentations alike to explore further the thoughts evoked at the conference.

7) The community—Many fellow students—from Notre Dame and elsewhere—expressed gratitude, joy and even sometimes relief at being in a space where faith is deeply and openly explored, and where each attendee shares with every other attendee a deep commitment to faith as a foundation for healthy relationships.

8) The number of young people present—The vast majority of Project attendees were 25 or younger. We face a cultural environment that is either openly hostile to, or simply provides little or no cultural support or script for, living Christian lives authentically. We find and embrace in each other’s presence and witness sources for an increase in faith, hope and love.

9) The Project organizers—are entirely inspirational themselves. They have worked since last spring—over half a year—at preparing this Project, and they certainly enjoyed little rest during the course of the weekend. I am especially proud that the Project co-chairs, Madeline Gillen and Caroline Reuter, and the president of idND, Liz Everett, are members of the Rover‘s editorial staff. I am humbled and privileged to work alongside Catholic leaders of such caliber and dedication.

10) Simply put, the Edith Stein Project is an occasion and source of great grace. Where two or three—or 350—are gathered in Christ’s name, Christ is present in their midst. I speak for many people when I say that the Project has strengthened my will, encouraged my moral growth, enriched me with prayerful relationships and awakened in me a greater desire to know, love and serve God, his Church and the beautiful truths in the name of which we gathered together on campus this weekend.

Some thoughts I meant to publish a few weeks ago –

  1. The world is beautiful. Seeing the other half of the country is truly a blessing for someone who experiences nothing but warm weather. As the old saying goes, “The universe is a sort of book, whose first page one has read when one has seen only one’s own country.”
  2. It was interesting to learn a new philosophical subject – namely, phenomenology. (I will post MacIntyre’s talk on the subject when it’s available.)
  3. I loved the environment. It was pleasant to be conversing with thinking Christians. (We need more of them!)
  4. I miss the snow.
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