Catholic Culture Series on "Catholic Literary Heritage"

Mar 2, 2022
Ruth Lake Country Club
6200 South Madison Street
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David DeavelUniversity of St. Thomas

David GriffithUniversity of Notre Dame

James Matthew WilsonUniversity of Saint Thomas, Houston

Rachel Fulton BrownUniversity of Chicago

Michael P. MurphyLoyola University Chicago

Jennifer Newsome MartinUniversity of Notre Dame

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

MAR 2: English Catholic Revival of the 19th-20th Centuries
Prof. David Deavel (University of St. Thomas, MN)

APR 6: 20th Century American Catholic Literature
Prof. David Griffith (University of Notre Dame)

MAY 11: The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry  *Livestreamed on Zoom*
Prof. James Matthew Wilson (University of St. Thomas, Houston)



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)


David P. Deavel is Assistant Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas, where he is also Co-Director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy. He holds an MA, MPhil, and PhD from Fordham University. He is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative, editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture. With Jessica Hooten Wilson, he edited Solzhenitsyn and American Culture: The Russian Soul in the West (Notre Dame, 2020). With Liz Kelly, he co-hosts the Deep Down Things podcast and his writing has appeared in many publications, including Catholic World ReportFirst ThingsNational Review, and the Wall Street Journal.

David Griffith is Assistant Advising Professor at the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame. He previously served as Vice President for Education at the Chautauqua Institution, and held a number of teaching and leadership positions in Creative Writing, including Director of Creative Writing at Interlochen Center for the Arts, Chair of Creative Writing at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, and Assistant Professor of English at Sweet Briar College. A graduate of Notre Dame, Griffith received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. He is the author of A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America. His most recent research is focused on the intersection of Catholic Social Teaching and popular culture, as well as the connections between poverty and creativity and mythologies surrounding artistry and creativity.


James Matthew Wilson is Professor of Humanities and the Founding Director of the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing , at the University of Saint Thomas, Houston. He holds a BA from the University of Michigan, an MA from the University of Massachusetts, and an MFA and PhD from the University of Notre Dame. Wilson is a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, whose work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First Things,The Wall Street Journal​, The Hudson Review, Modern AgeThe New CriterionDappled ThingsMeasureThe Weekly StandardFront Porch RepublicThe Raintown ReviewNational Review, and The American Conservative. He has published ten books, including most recently, The Strangeness of the Good (Angelico, 2020) and the poetic sequence, The River of the Immaculate Conception (Wiseblood, 2019).

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.