Fall 2013: God and Culture

Secular and the Religious Good in Civil Society

The first amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America prohibits any law respecting an establishment of religion or impeding the free exercise of religion.  And yet, American civil society is saturated with anti-religious and religious sensibilities that often frame religious and secular goods as mutually subjugating.  This quarter’s lecture series will attempt to disrupt this polarizing frame.

Keeping the Faith

Catholic Writers on Heroes of Conscience

by Catherine Wolff |

October 30, 2013 | 4 – 5:15 p.m.

St. Clare Room, Library and Learning Commons

The Roman Catholic philosopher, Charles Taylor, writes that the church must recognize the right of every Christian to exercise his or her judgment in applying the gospel message to moral or political circumstances, and to be included in the great conversation from which the authoritative sense of the faithful emerges. This event will explore the challenges of maintaining a faithful conscience in the face of opposition from prevailing civil or religious authorities. Four contributing authors from Not Less Than Everything: Catholic Writers on Heroes of Conscience from Joan of Arc to Oscar Romero, ed. Catherine Wolff will reflect on the impact of a significant hero of conscience within their lives, the world, and the church. The panel will be introduced and facilitated by Catherine Wolff.

Catherine Wolff is a fifth-generation Californian. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in Art History and from the University of Michigan with an M.A.in Art History and Museum Practice. After teaching and serving as an administrator at St. Rose Academy and Notre Dame High in Belmont for several years, she completed her M.S.W. at Syracuse University and was named Social Work Graduate of the Year for 1987. From 1999 to 2005, she was the Director of The Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Center for Community-Based Learning at Santa Clara University. From 2006 to 2009, she served as Director of Faith Formation at CCAS, during which time she earned her M.A. in Pastoral Ministries at Santa Clara University. Together with her husband, author Tobias Wolff, Catherine received the 2005 Archbishop Alemany Award for Christian Service, was named a 2008 Community Hero by Peninsula Interfaith Action, and received the 2009 Tierney Award for Service to the Community from CCAS.

Robert Ellsberg is the Publisher of Orbis Books and the author of several award-winning books, including All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time and The Saints' Guide to Happiness. In the 1970s he worked with Dorothy Day at the Catholic Worker, and he has edited many of her writings, most recently, The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day and All the Way to Heaven: Selected Letters of Dorothy Day.

Bo Caldwell, former Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford University, is the author of the national bestseller, The Distant Land of My Father, which became the book of Silicon Valley Reads 2008. Her short fiction has been published in Ploughshares, Story, Epoch, and other literary journals.

Tobias Wolff is the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University. His books include the memoirs This Boy’s Life and In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War; the short novel The Barracks Thief; the novel Old School, and four collections of short stories, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Back in the World, The Night in Question, and, most recently, Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories. He has also edited several anthologies, among them Best American Short Stories 1994, A Doctor’s Visit: The Short Stories of Anton Chekhov, and The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories. His work is translated widely and has received numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, both the PEN/Malamud and the Rea Award for Excellence in the Short Story, the Story Prize, and the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work appears regularly in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and other magazines and literary journals.

Ron Hansen, Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. Professor in the Arts and Humanities, Santa Clara University, was born in Omaha, Nebraska and educated at Creighton University, the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, and Stanford University; at Stanford he held a Wallace Stegner Creative Writing Fellowship.



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