Catholic Culture Series on "Catholic Literary Heritage"

Nov 10, 2021
Ruth Lake Country Club
6200 South Madison Street
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Rachel Fulton BrownUniversity of Chicago

Michael P. MurphyLoyola University Chicago

Jennifer Newsome MartinUniversity of Notre Dame


$200 per semester/$75 for one session. The fall semester will meet in September, October, and November; the spring semester will meet in February, March, and April. Contact Austin Walker with any questions.

The Lumen Christi Institute's West Suburban Catholic Culture Series returns in 2021-22 with a monthly series on the theme of Catholic literary heritage. We will survey the history of literature written by Catholics from the early middle ages to the late twentieth century.  

What is Catholic literature? What is our Catholic literary heritage? St. John Henry Newman has informed us that Catholic literature is more than “religious literature” or “the literature of religious men.” Rather, Catholic literature is literature of “all subjects whatever, treated as a Catholic would treat them, and as he only can treat them.” Not only doctrine, controversy, and history; but all of human life, as seen from the perspective given by Revelation and the life of the Church.

Participants will receive a booklet with extracts from the authors covered in the lectures. No advance reading is required, but our speakers will refer to the extracts in their lectures. The selections will offer an accessible foray into authors like Dante, Shakespeare, Anselm of Canterbury, and the author of The Pearl and Gawain and the Green Knight.


6:30 p.m. cocktails | 7:00 p.m. dinner, lecture, & Q&A | 8:30 p.m. end

SEP 15: Medieval Catholic Literature 
Prof. Rachel Fulton Brown (University of Chicago)

OCT 13: Shakespeare 
Prof. Michael P. Murphy (Loyola University Chicago)

NOV 10: Dante
Prof. Jennifer Newsome Martin (University of Notre Dame)

Spring topics will include poetry, the English Catholic literary revival of the 19th and 20th centuries, and 20th century American Catholic literature. Dates and speakers for the spring series will be announced in November.



Rachel Fulton Brown is Associate Professor of Medieval History at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching focus on the intellectual and cultural history of Europe in the Middle Ages, with particular emphasis on the history of Christianity and monasticism in the Latin West. She is author of From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary 800-1200, History in the Comic Mode: Medieval Communities and the Matter of Person, and Mary and the Art of Prayer: The Hours of the Virgin in Medieval Christian Life and Thought.

Michael Murphy is Director of Catholic Studies and Director of Loyola’s Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage.  He earned his doctorate in Theology, Literature, and Philosophy from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, an MA in English from San Francisco State University, and undergraduate degrees in English and Great Books from the University of San Francisco. His research interests are in Theology and Literature, Sacramental Theology, and the socio-political cultures of Catholicism, but he also writes about issues in eco-theology and social ethics. Dr. Murphy, an Advanced Lecturer in the Theology Department, is a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow. His first book, A Theology of Criticism (Oxford), was named a "Distinguished Publication" in 2008 by the American Academy of Religion.

Jennifer Newsome Martin is Associate Professor in the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where she also received a PhD in 2012. She is a systematic theologian with areas of research interest in 19th and 20th century Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox thought, trinitarian theology, theological aesthetics, religion and literature, French feminism, ressourcement theology, and the nature of religious tradition. Her first book, Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Critical Appropriation of Russian Religious Thought (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015),  was one of 10 winners internationally of the 2017 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise (formerly the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise). She is also the co-editor of An Apocalypse of Love:  Essays in Honor of Cyril O’ Regan (Herder & Herder, 2018). Other work has appeared in Modern Theology, Communio: International Catholic Review, and in a number of edited volumes and collections of essays.