Creative Attention: Seeing as a Form of Justice | Summer Institute 2022

Oblate School of Theology

Originally Published on the website of Oblate School of Theology

June 20 @ 7:00 PM – June 22 @ 8:30 PM

Monday, June 20 – Wednesday, June 22, 2022 | IN-PERSON AND ONLINE OPTIONS AVAILABLE

In Waiting for God, Simone Weil describes “creative attention”–attention that is “creative” in that it holds the power to restore the dignity and humanity of a person who is suffering, alone, alienated. For Weil, social justice is rooted in our willingness to look and to see the sufferer.

It seems to me we have never been more in need of considering “creative attention” as a practice in our lives than now. Between the phones to which our eyes are glued and the many screens that demand our constant attention, to the ways we avert our eyes from the victims of various kinds of sexual abuse, especially in a Catholic context, we are more likely to turn away from those who need us to see them more than ever, or to fail to notice them altogether.

Together we will consider Weil’s simple, yet revolutionary spiritual practice for today’s world, more broadly with respect to the digital age, and also with respect to the current (and ongoing) situation that is the Catholic clergy abuse crisis. We will ask ourselves where–in our own communities and lives–we might begin to practice “creative attention” toward the end of justice and social transformation in big and small, everyday ways. We will wonder about our own needs to be seen, to be witnessed, for our own pain and suffering. On the final night, Keynote Presenter Donna Freitas will also share her personal story in this regard, and how she came to realize how important “creative attention” is in her own experience as a victim in the clergy abuse crisis (a story which she tells in Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention).

Attendees are encouraged to read Donna Freitas’ Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention prior to the Institute.

Summer Institute’s featured speakers will be Donna Freitas, James Martin, SJ (presenting remotely), and Carolyn Y. Woo.

Speakers

James Martin, 53, is a Jesuit priest and author

Donna Freitas has written more than twenty books, both fiction and nonfiction, for adults, children, and young adults. Among them are Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention (Little, Brown, 2019), and Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance & Religion on College Campuses (Oxford). Her debut novel for adults, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano (Viking, 2021), has been translated into 20 different languages. Donna has spoken at nearly two hundred colleges and universities about her nonfiction research and has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe. She has appeared on radio and television, from NPR’s All Things Considered to The Today Show. She has been a professor at Boston University and Hofstra University, and is currently a member of the faculty at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s MFA program.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Carolyn-Y.-Woo-photo-150x150.png

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo coordinated and facilitated the Vatican Dialogues for Energy Transition in 2018, 2019 and 2021.  She currently serves on the corporate boards of AON (UK), Arabesque (Germany) and on the International Advisory Group of Equinor (Norway). Former corporate board service includes five publicly traded companies in utilizes, community banking, pharmaceutical distribution, electronic retail, and automotive manufacturing. In terms of Catholic organizations, she is a board member of National Catholic Education Association, Our Sunday Visitor, Our Sunday Visitor Institute, and Holy Cross Family Ministries, Give Us This Day (editorial board). Former Catholic board service includes Ascension Health System, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic University of America, University of Notre Dame Australia, and University of Portland.

Carolyn served Catholic Relief Services as CEO from 2012 to 2016. CRS undertakes humanitarian relief and sustainable development in over one hundred countries serving over a hundred million people each year. CRS designs and implements over a thousand programs annually to reduce poverty, diminish risk and foster prosperity. The areas include emergency relief, micro-finance, health systems, childhood development, education, agricultural productivity, empowerment of women, refugees resettlement, peace-building, and capacity building of partners and beneficiaries, and impact assessment.

From 1997 to 2011, Carolyn was dean of the Mendoza College at the University of Notre Dame and zeroed in on the quality of teaching, curricula innovations, placement of students and embedding ethics in all business disciplines.  She was elected the first female chair of AACSB International (accreditation association for business schools worldwide) and led the launch of the Principles for Responsible Management program with the United Nations.

Carolyn Woo received her Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate degrees from Purdue University. She is the author of two books, Working for a Better World, and Rising: Learning from Women’s Leadership in Catholic Ministries. Dr. Woo is the recipient of close to thirty honorary doctorates and was cited by Foreign Policy as one of the five hundred Most Powerful People on the Planet and one of only thirty-three in the category “a force for good.”

Dr. Renata Furst is Associate Professor of Scripture and Spirituality, Montalbano Chair of Scripture Studies, and serves as Associate Dean for Hispanic Engagement at Oblate School of Theology. Dr. Furst holds Master Degrees in Spanish Literature, Business Administration, and Theology, and a PhD in Theology (Université de Montréal, Canada). In scripture, Dr. Furst is specifically interested in Prophetic Literature in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Biblical Hermeneutics, Wisdom Literature, the Pentateuch and Hispanic/Latino(a) Biblical Interpretation. In spirituality, her areas of interest are Ignatian Spirituality, Spiritual Direction and the Biblical Roots of Christian Spirituality. Dr. Furst also teaches in Magis, a program to train spiritual directors to accompany others in the Annotation 19 format of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Most Reverend Gary W. Janak, JCL was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Victoria in Texas on May 14, 1988. He has served as pastor in Yoakum, El Campo and Victoria,  including Rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Victory.  In addition to his parish assignments, he was appointed as diocesan Vicar General and Chancellor.  He is the co-founder and past executive director of The Emmaus Center, the counseling and spiritual direction center for the Diocese of Victoria.  On February 15, 2021, he was appointed auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, where he serves as Chancellor and Episcopal Vicar for Vocations and Priestly Formation.  Bishop Janak holds graduate degrees in theology, canon law and counseling and is licensed by the State of Texas as a professional counselor.

The Reverend Ann E. Helmke was ordained as a Lutheran (ELCA) minister in 1990 and currently serves as the city’s first Faith Liaison for the City of San Antonio, working to facilitate relational collaboration and active partnerships between the San Antonio faith community and governmental agencies, non-profit organizations and community groups towards services that will improve the lives of families and communities in need. Prior to that, she served as the Director of Spiritual Services at Haven for Hope, a 22-acre campus designed to serve the unhoused through a trauma-informed, recovery-oriented, peer-supported, and collaborative approach. Ann’s 30+ years of service in our city includes co-founding the all-volunteer and interfaith San Antonio Peace Center, co-authoring a couple books, and always social justice with civic engagement. Rev. Helmke considers Peace is Our BirthRight as her most important book which pales in comparison to the seven babies she is passing peace onto in her life: 2 daughters, 2 sons-in-love, 2 gorgeous grand-boys and 1 gregarious grand-girl! Long recognized around the globe for her work in peacemaking, most recently Rev. Helmke received an Honorary Doctorate from Oblate School of Theology in May 2022.

Tentative Schedule / Central Time (UTC/GMT -5 hours)

Monday, June 20, 2022

4:00pmCheck-In for On-Campus LodgersOblate Renewal Center (ORC)
5:30pmDinner for On-Campus LodgersORC
6:00pmCheck-In for CommutersWhitley Theological Center (WTC)
7:00pmWelcome, Gathering Prayer, & Keynote by Donna Freitas “Simone Weil and the Importance of Looking Up”WTC 101
8:30pmSocialWTC

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

7:30amEucharistImmaculate Conception Chapel (ICC)
8:00amBreakfast for LodgersORC
9:00amMorning Prayer & AnnouncementsWTC 101
9:15amKeynote by James Martin, SJ “Walking with the Excluded” (remote presentation)WTC 101
10:45amHealth Break 
11:00amOptional Activities:
—  Process Groups*
—      On Campus (WTC classrooms 104, 105, 106)
—      Zoom Meeting (link will be sent via email)
—  Sabbath Time**
 
12:00pmLunch BreakORC*** or on own
1:30pmPresentation by Dr. Renata FurstWTC 101
3:00pmHealth Break 
3:30pmKeynote by Carolyn Y. Woo “Cultivating Moral Vision as the Bridge from Knowing to Doing”WTC 101
5:30pmDinnerORC*** or on own
7:00pmGathering Prayer & Keynote by Donna Freitas “The Catholic Abuse Crisis, #MeToo, and the Cost of Turning Away”WTC 101

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

7:30amEucharistICC
8:00amBreakfast for LodgersORC
9:00amMorning Prayer & AnnouncementsWTC 101
9:15amKeynote by Bishop Gary Janak “­­­­The Human Face of Catholic Social Teaching: How the Poor and Vulnerable can be Our Greatest TeachersWTC 101
10:45amHealth Break 
11:00amOptional Activities:
—  Process Groups*
—      On Campus (WTC classrooms 104, 105, 106)
—      Zoom Meeting (link will be sent via email)
—  Sabbath Time**
12:00pmLunch BreakORC*** or on own
1:30pmPresentation by Rev. Ann Helmke “Blessed Are Your Eyes Because They See”WTC 101
3:00pmHealth Break 
3:30pmKeynote by Carolyn Y. Woo “The Gospel Call to See, Seek, and Sing”WTC 101
5:30pmDinnerORC*** or on own
7:00pmGathering Prayer & Keynote by Donna Freitas “Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention”WTC 101

For information or to register by phone, contact Associate Registrar, Victoria Rodriguez, at vrodriguez@ost.edu or (210) 341-1366 EXT 240.