Conversations about Faith, Meaning, and Identity

As a Catholic university Saint Mary’s is attentive to and nurturing of conversations about the values, meaning, and understanding of our Catholic identity. 

In keeping with this, in 2011, the university initiated the Cardinal Conversations.  The conversations are intended to be for "Cardinals" on topics that relate to our identity as a Catholic university and be a "cardinal" means of strengthening our comprehension of who we are as a Catholic university (as articulated by John Henry Cardinal Newman, the primary role of the university is to give students a "perfection of the intellect … the clear, calm, accurate vision and comprehension of all things" that allows the individual to make good judgments. He wrote of this: "It is almost prophetic from its knowledge of history; it is almost heart-searching from its knowledge of human nature; it has almost supernatural charity from its freedom from littleness and prejudice; it has almost the repose of faith, because nothing can startle it; it has almost the beauty and harmony of heavenly contemplation").  

Past Presenters

Vulnerability, the University, and Virtue Ethics

Rev. James F. Keenan, S.J., moral theologian, bioethicist, writer, and the Canisius Professor of Theology at Boston College. 


Sister Diane Kennedy, OP, D.Min., Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Father James L. Heft, SM, Ph.D., Catholicism and Interreligious Dialogue

Eboo Patel, Ph.D., Inclusive Ecumenical and Interfaith Dimension of our Lasallian Catholic Identity

Father Alejandro Crosthwaite OP, Ph.D., Pope Francis, Gospel Joy, and Catholic Social Teaching: The Role of Catholic Educators in the New Evangelization

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Ph.D., Pope Francis and the Catholic Church

Sister Sandra Schneiders, IHM, Feminism and Catholicism: Strangers, Rivals, or Partners? 

Dr. Bob McCarty and Mr. John Vitek, from Saint Mary's Press, "Going, Going, Gone! The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics"