2012 Edith Stein Conference "Encountering Vulnerability: Courage, Hope and Trust in the 21st Century"
The Identity Project of Notre Dame's 7th Annual Edith Stein Project:
"Encountering Vulnerability: Courage, Hope and Trust in the 21st Century"
- February 10-11, 2012
- Notre Dame Conference Center in McKenna Hall
- University of Notre Dame
Encountering Vulnerability: Courage, Trust, and Hope in the 21st Century
What does it mean to be "vulnerable"? The idea of "vulnerability" often carries with it a negative connotation: abuse, instability, heartache. As such, we think of vulnerability as something to eradicate from our lives. But, because of our finite human nature, we will always be limited in our abilities and strengths. As Blessed John Paul II said, "No amount of economic, scientific or social progress can eradicate our vulnerability to sin and to death." This gives us good reason to guard ourselves carefully in situations where we could be harmed; however, in trying to protect ourselves, we often come to fear our vulnerability.
But perhaps there is a flip side to vulnerability. In addition to examining ways in which it may be misused, we must also consider its value. If vulnerability is intrinsic to us as human beings, is there a proper place for it in our identity and our relationships?
Through the presentations and discussions of the conference, we hope to accomplish two objectives: (1) to offer hope and healing to those who have been harmed by the exploitation of their vulnerability, and (2) to examine the positive role of vulnerability, particularly within relationships.
In considering vulnerability’s positive role, we look to Christ as a model, "For precisely by lowering himself to the point of defenseless vulnerability of love, he shows what his true greatness is indeed" (Blessed John Paul II). We consider our weakness and our dependence upon God and others to be a strength, because as St. Paul wrote, "It is when I am weak that I am strong."
Moreover, it is "not good for man to be alone," so we must cultivate an ability to share our lives and our hearts with each other. With this openness comes the risk of being rejected or spurned, yet C.S. Lewis reminds us of the necessity of this risk because "to love at all is to be vulnerable." In this sense, vulnerability breaks down barriers between persons and allows for genuine communication and intimacy; it asks that "the thoughts of our hearts may be laid bare" (Blessed John Paul II). Accepting human vulnerability can help one cultivate a humble faith, a strong hope and an honest love.
We look to St. Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta) for inspiration. A philosopher and convert who was martyred in Auschwitz in 1942, Edith Stein wrote on questions of human dependency and suffering, particularly pertaining to women.In light of the founding mission of the conference, we will draw on the richness of Catholic teaching on authentic personhood and sexuality, masculinity and femininity, Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body, the dignity of women, prayer and the spiritual life, technology, and relationships.
We anticipate that the conference will help each individual encounter what it means to be vulnerable as human beings. It is our fervent hope that it will provide an opportunity for individuals to seek healing for its harms and to develop a deeper understanding of how to live a healthy vulnerability.
We invite you to join in our discussion at the seventh annual Edith Stein Project, entitled Encountering Vulnerability: Courage, Trust, and Hope in the 21st Century. This year's conference will take place February 10-11, 2012, at McKenna Hall on the University of Notre Dame campus. We welcome suggestions for presentations. Please join us!
Registration fees include all conference materials, and refreshments.
- $60 full registration
- $40 graduate student registration
- $25 undergraduate student registration
- $0 Notre Dame/Saint Mary's College/Holy Cross College student, faculty and staff
Conference roster (name, institution, and email address) will be made available to participants during the conference. Please indicate your permission to have your contact information included in the conference roster during the registration process.
If you are a student visiting from another school, please contact Renee Roden.
If you would like to attend the banquet Saturday evening, the cost is $10 per dinner. Please select this option during the registration process.
Friday, February 10
12:45 p.m. Welcoming Remarks
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Keynote Address
AuditoriumHuman Strength and Weakness: Edith Stein's Life at the 'Hand of the Lord
Sarah Borden Sharkey, Wheaton College
2:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m. Invited Speakers
Auditorium The Biology of Theology of the Body
Vicki Thorn, Founder, Project Rachel
Room 101-104Love Conquers Fear -- Or Does It Really? Fear, Vulnerability and the Christian Life
Fr. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C., University of Notre Dame
3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Invited Speakers
AuditoriumAn Exchange of Gifts: Embracing Vulnerability & Celebrating Adoption
Elizabeth R. Kirk, Visiting Scholar, Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame
Room 101-104Marriage and the Book of Ruth
Gary Anderson, University of Notre Dame
Sheltering and Vulnerable--the Carmel of Edith Stein's Experience
Sr. Ann Astell, University of Notre Dame
5:15 p.m. Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart
6:15 p.m. Pizza Dinner
7:00 p.m. Film Screening: The Human Experience by Grassroots Films
8:30 p.m. Dessert Reception
Saturday, February 11
*Please note that Holy Mass will be offered in the Alumni Hall Chapel at 8am Saturday morning.
9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Submitted Papers
AuditoriumSession 1: Edith Stein Instructs: Vulnerability, Care, and Trust in Successful, God-Centered Marriages
Pamela Fitzpatrick, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
The Core of Personhood: Vulnerability, Responsibility, Individuality
Philip Harold, Robert Morris University
Room 101-104Session 2: The Blessed Wound: A Consideration of the Posture of Vulnerability Before Beauty
Daniel Clarke, John Lane, and Garret Ahlers,University of St. Thomas
Room 112-114Session 3: To Hold, Care, Challenge and Affirm: Entering into Vulnerability and Imaging God’s Love for Victims of Violence
Lorraine Cuddeback, University of Notre Dame
"Virtues of Acknowledged Dependence" and the Gift of Friendship with the Disabled
Esther Terry,University of Notre Dame
Room 202Session 4: Vulnerability and Mary’s Fiat in Edith Stein
Jacob Torbeck, Aquinas Institute of Theology
Being Present: The Little Way to Love and the Path to Vulnerability
Benjamin Rusch, University of Notre Dame
Room 200Session 5: A Pilgrimage to Lourdes: Embarking with Hope, Praying with Courage, Leaving with Trust
Mary Regina Slonkosky, Holy Cross College
The Role of Vulnerability in the Life of Brother André
Andrew Polaniecki, Holy Cross College
AuditoriumGive Us This Day, Our Daily Bread: Real Healing and Hope in the Struggle with Eating Disorders
Caroline Murphy Lashutka, Alumnus, University of Notre Dame
Room 101-104"I Will Boast in My Weakness": St. Paul and the Discovery of Christian Glory
Fr. Anthony Giambrone, O.P., University of Notre Dame
Hyper-Vulnerability and Hypo-Vulnerability: Disordered Female Orientations, Empathetic Friendship, and Jane Austen’s Heroines
Kelly Henson, St. Thomas More Academy
11:30 -12:30 Invited Speakers
Auditorium Women, Sexual Asymmetry and Catholic Teaching: How the Church Beats Secular Feminists at their Own Game
Erika Bachiochi, Author, Women, Sex, and the Church
Room 101-104Masculinity and Vulnerability
David O’Connor, University of Notre Dame
1:15-1:45 Dialogue composed by Edith Stein
AuditoriumPerformed by students of Sr. Ann Astell
2:00-3:00 Invited Speakers
AuditoriumThe New Sexual Revolution
Kathryn Lopez, National Review Online
Room 101-104Girard, GaGa, and Ghandhi: Redefining Sexual Violence and Transforming Vulnerability
Amelia Ruggaber, Alumnus, University of Notre Dame
3:15-4:15 Invited Speakers
Auditorium Using the Relationship Attachment Model to Build Secure Relationships
John Van Epp, Author, How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk
Room 101-104 Consumed by Mercy: Mary Magdalene and the Christian Witness
Fr. Nathan Cromly, CSJ, Congregation of St. John
4:30-5:30 Invited Speakers
Auditorium How to Have "Safe" Sex
Anamaria Scaperlanda-Ruiz, Co-founder, Edith Stein Project
Room 101-104Women and Public Policy
Emily Matich, Director of Operations, World Youth Alliance North America
Room 112-114Beauty and Vulnerability
Ashley Crouch, Director of Outreach and Programs, Love and Fidelity Network
6:00 Closing Banquet