Inclusivity in Catholicism: The Edmundite Center for faith and culture

“Subversive Habits” book cover page from author Dr. Shannen Dee Williams’s website.

By Declan Wlochowski | Staff Writer |

The Edmundite Center for Faith and Culture recently hosted guest speaker Dr. Shannen Dee Williams, a professor at the University of Dayton, who discussed her book on the topic of Black Catholic Nuns. The book, titled “Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle”, describes the struggles and accomplishments of African American nuns in the Church. This talk is one of many that has worked to diversify the cultural aspects of the Catholic faith, providing an in-depth look at topics like race and ethnicity within religious orders.
The Edmundite Center for Faith and Culture is a Edmundite run program that explores and grows the relationship between culture and Catholic values. “The aim of the Edmundite Center for Faith and Culture is to bring together what is the Christian faith with various areas of culture on our campus,” said Fr. David Theroux, Director of the Edmundite Center for Faith and Culture. “As Edmundites, we say to be where the Church might not be, so it is our duty to be filling in the gaps or looking to be a presence of faith outside just the parish community.”

The Edmundite Center is responsible for educating and advising mainly faculty members through seminars, book recommendations, and certain programs such as hosting guest speakers. This impact on faculty and staff is meant to eventually translate in classrooms and on campus, further impacting students as they grow in faith and knowledge.
Dr. Helen De Cruz, professor of philosophy at Saint Louis University, has an upcoming discussion regarding love for all of humankind. “The talk is about feeling at one with the rest of humanity,” De Cruz said. “How can you love everybody? It sounds psychologically impossible, but I’m going to be looking at the research behind people having the disposition to have love that goes beyond those close to us.”
Crystal L’Hote, Professor of Philosophy at St. Michael’s, is the one who recommended De Cruz to the Center. “I anticipate that students and faculty will emerge from De Cruz’s talk with increased interest in the relationship between science, religion, and philosophy,” L’Hote said in an email. “De Cruz is likely to challenge our ordinary ways of thinking about these matters and, in so doing, to create space for us to wonder and inquire.”
According to Theroux, The Edmundite Center plans to look for more speakers in the near future, particularly those who aren’t necessarily well known, but have recently published a book or spoken out about important topics regarding cultural aspects of the Catholic faith. The messages within these talks provide an outside perspective on culture within the faith that students may not hear about on campus or in the local community. “Students should take advantage of the opportunities that these talks provide,” Theroux stated.
Dr. Helen De Cruz’s talk “Can We Feel at One with All of Humanity” on Thursday, April 13, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm in the Farrell Room.

Dr. Shannen Dee William.
Dr. Helen de Cruz.