Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Book Honors Life of Bruno Schlesinger

A new book pays tribute to one of Saint Mary’s most beloved professors, Dr. Bruno P. Schlesinger, who died in 2010 at the age of 99. Bruno Schlesinger: A Life in Learning & Letters, edited by Rick Regan, was published in August and available at

Schlesinger founded the Program for Christian Culture in 1956 and served as the long-time chair of the department, later renamed Humanistic Studies. In 1957, he inaugurated a lecture series that eventually brought over one hundred distinguished scholars to campus, and in 2006 the series was revived in his honor as the Christian Culture Lecture. During his 60-year teaching career, he received many honors, including an honorary doctorate from Saint Mary’s in 1994.

“This little book is a delightful, moving remembrance of Bruno,” says Professor Philip Hicks, department chair of Humanistic Studies. “It belongs on the bookshelf of every Christian Culture/Humanistic Studies graduate—anyone interested in Saint Mary’s, for that matter.”

The nucleus of the book is a chapter by Notre Dame historian Philip Gleason, “From Vienna to South Bend: A Refugee Professor’s Story.” Based on new interviews and research in the Saint Mary’s archives, Gleason’s essay provides the fullest account yet of Schlesinger’s public and private life, including his harrowing flight from Nazism, interrogation by the Gestapo, and month spent in a French jail.

Other contributors to the volume include Schlesinger’s son, Tom, his former colleague, Professor Gail Porter Mandell (Bruno P. Schlesinger Chair in Humanistic Studies Emerita), his friend Father Marvin R. O’Connell (another Notre Dame historian), and alumnae Patricia Ferris McGinn and Mary Griffin Burns. Also featured is a letter to Schlesinger written by the noted spiritual writer, Thomas Merton.

The book is illustrated with several black and white photographs, including childhood and wedding photos. Schlesinger was married for 70 years to Alice Teweles, a book illustrator and portrait artist who died in 2012. Several of Mrs. Schlesinger’s paintings are displayed on the Saint Mary’s campus. Her portrait of former Saint Mary’s president Sister Madeleva is now showcased on the ground floor of Madeleva Hall. It was Sister Madeleva who gave final approval for the Program for Christian Culture, after months of lobbying by Bruno Schlesinger for this experimental curriculum.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Field Trip to Chicago's Field Museum

The History Club at Saint Mary's is sponsoring a field trip into Chicago to see an exhibit on the World's Fair of 1893 at the Field Museum. They have kindly invited us along!

Chicago Field Museum
Saturday, February 8th
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
Ticket & transportation covered by Department

RSVP to Prof. Williamson Ambrose 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Krista Tippett (CCL 2013) - Resource Guide

We are thrilled to have Krista Tippett, NPR radio personality and journalist, visiting campus this September 24th and 25th for the annual Christian Culture Lecture. Her talk is titled "Civic Healing and Christian Virtue in the 21st Century." Tippett is an ideal fit for the lecture, as she presses us to think about the role religion and spirituality can and do play in public life.
"It's always been very important to me to enlarge imaginations about how this part of life we call religious and spiritual actually works in real, far-flung, 21st-century lives."

To help spread the good word and familiarize folks with her work, we're offering this brief resource guide.

Ways to become familiar with Tippett's work...
  • Listen live to her weekly radio show, "On Being", which focuses on "religion, meaning, ethics, and ideas." In the South Bend area, turn to 88.1 WVPE on Sunday mornings at 6 a.m. 
  • Or, if you don't fancy an early start to your Sunday, listen online to her radio show via NPR's website. You can also find transcripts of the individual shows/interviews since 2001.
  • Read her two books, Speaking of Faith and Einstein's God (reading questions for the former below). 
  • Check her out on TED: "Reconnecting with compassion". Or, watch the video below.

READING QUESTIONS (Speaking of Faith): 
  • What does she mean when she says "faith is as much about questioning as it is about certainties. It is possible to be a believe and a listener at the same time" (3)? 
  • There seem a number of places, particularly as she speaks on social justice, reform, and the role religion plays in fostering such realities, that Tippett's book seems to dovetail with James Carroll's lecture from last year (3-7). Did you have any responses to these? 
  • Do you agree that "a fundamentalist temptation, both secular and religious, accompanies twenty-first-century tumult and runs across the spectrum of our beliefs" (15)? In other words, she takes care to take that word, 'fundamentalism', out of the strict confines of religion and to introduce its errors to a broader, even secular, context. 
  • Tippett reveals a frustration with the connection between politics and religion, or, more specifically, the limits of politics (9). Does this resonate for you? especially today? in what ways? 
  • In what ways does Tippett's biographical chapter, "Remembering Forward," set up the rest of her book? What purpose does it serve--for her? for the reader?
  • She spends a great deal of time detailing the ways in which science and faith are not--as much of our contemporary chatter would presume them to be--in opposition to one another. Instead, she details the overlap in their "ways of looking." What were your responses to these pages (esp. 75-102), these points? 
  • Tippett could have been a HUST major, it seems. She has read and makes reference to early Christianity and the Bible, the Jacob of Jabbok story that so entrances Martin Luther (59), Galileo, Voltaire and Leibniz (81), Julian of Norwich (113), the Benedictines (123), Augustine (132), and many other examples. How did your knowledge (or lack thereof) of these references affect your reading? 
  • Much of this book takes a first person, narrative approach--what Tippett calls a "narrative theology" (133). What were your responses to this style? 
  • The 2008 paperback version of the book also offers a reader's guide with "Questions for Discussion" in the back of the volume. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hooding & Honors Convocation 2013

Another lovely spring day to celebrate the 56th class of Humanistic Studies grads at their hooding ceremony! This year's Thomas More Award winner was Jean Osberger. Congratulations to all!

More pictures are here or in the slideshow below:

Monday, May 6, 2013


Senior bonding, clever-like, with the 2013 custom shirt: "Everyday I'm HUSTlin".

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring 2013 - Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Front row seats!

Ambreen, Rachel, & Jean

Kerry, Molly, Jessica & Tara 

Top: Colleen & Anna
Bottom: Lucy, Clare & LWA

HUST huddle

Our annual trip into Chicago landed squarely and appropriately in the middle of HUST week this year. The entire cohort of HUST majors was able to attend, making this year's trip especially memorable--well, that, and the shell casings and fake blood raining down on us from the stage (Julius Caesar...lots of fighting).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Henrietta Lacks events

Several events are happening on campus related to the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which details the biographical and cultural history of the discovery of HeLa cells (used to find treatments for cancer, HIV, etc.), cells which were taken without permission from a young African-American women in the 1950s. There's been a great deal of buzz about the book on campus: it was a national bestseller, it was chosen by the SMC book club as their selection for last year, it's been taught in several classes on campus (in my Lives and Times, in Political Science, Philosophy, Biology, and others) and, most importantly, there are several events happening on campus related to the book. If you haven't read it, I'd highly recommend it. It's a fast-paced, moving, thought-provoking book that proves that we can't so easily separate issues of science and the human, social justice and medical development, in ways that we so often try to do.

Upcoming events include a visit and presentation by members of the Lacks family and a lecture by the author of the book, Rebecca Skloot (details below). And, for those who just can't get enough, Saint Mary's has an alumnae book club called "One Book One Saint Mary's" (modeled after a national trend for college and university book clubs) with regional meetings / groups. The selected book this past year for clubs across the country and the world was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and the South Bend chapter will be discussing the book with yours truly and Prof. Kathryn Haas (Chemistry). Feel free to join us, and please do spread the word for any friends who didn't get to discuss the book in a class.

RSVP for Skloot lecture (HUST students only)
Friday, February 1

"One Book One Saint Mary's" Book Club Discussion
Wednesday, February 6
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Student Center Lounge
Open to alums and SMC students/faculty/staff

Lacks Family Presentation
Tuesday, February 12
7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Carroll Auditorium
* free & tickets required *

Rebecca Skloot Lecture (& book signing!)
Wednesday, February 27
7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
O'Laughlin Auditorium
* RSVP to LWA & tickets required *

I hope to see many of you at these events! Please let me know if you have any questions.

A brief video to give you a taste of what to expect: