In related news, Dr. Stephen J. Loughlin is the new president of St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry, whose main campus is in Pittsford, N.Y., with classes also offered in Syracuse and Albany. Dr. Loughlin was a teacher and chair of the philosophy and theology department at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. SBSTM offers master's degrees in theology and continuing education in the Catholic faith; see www.stbernards.edu.
In related news, Dr. Stephen J. Loughlin is the new president of St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry, whose main campus is in Pittsford, N.Y., with classes also offered in Syracuse and Albany. Dr. Loughlin was a teacher and chair of the philosophy and theology department at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. SBSTM offers master's degrees in theology and continuing education in the Catholic faith; see www.stbernards.edu.
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Sister Mary Frolich, RSCJ, will be the keynote speaker at the annual convocation to start the academic year at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Albany, the Diocese’s graduate school for theology. The convocation will be held Sept. 5, 7 p.m., at Mater Christi parish in Albany.

Sister Mary is a professor of spirituality at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Her talk, which is open to the public, is titled, “A Christological Spirituality for Conversion to the Earth.” In between teaching a course in the Philippines and leading a retreat, she squeezed in a moment to talk about her keynote address with The Evangelist via email.

Q: How would you describe the title of your talk in layman’s terms?

Sister Mary: The talk will be about how our relationship with Jesus and our relationship with the Earth are related to each other.

Q: In the description of your presentation, you write that “the Spirit of God has labored with love to make known the face of Christ in the wondrous web of life on Earth.” How so?

Sister Mary: The theological approach I am embracing is that Christ was already beginning to be incarnated from the very beginning of creation, although the incarnation came to the fullness of expression in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
In this perspective, Christ lives in all creatures, and evolution allows more and more dimensions of divine life to be expressed through created forms. For example, creatures’ capacities to know and to love (which are aspects of the divine image) increase as one moves along the evolutionary tree.

Q: Do you believe that, if people reconnect with nature, it will lead them to a connection with God, or is it vice versa?

Sister Mary: I find that it works both ways. Many people have spiritual experiences in nature that open them up to prayer and love of God. But now, Pope Francis, among others, is reminding us that if we love God, we must also care for our “common home,” the Earth. So, we are all called to explore this connection.

Q: You’ll primarily be speaking to theology students, but why would you encourage others to attend your presentation?

Sister Mary: I will aim to speak in a way that can be understood by those who do not have theological degrees.

Q: Have you been to the Albany Diocese before? As someone who is passionate about care for creation, will you be able to explore the area while you’re here?

Sister Mary: My congregation has one of its retirement centers there. I haven’t had much time to explore, though.
This time, I am going to try to visit Sprout Creek Farm in Poughkeepsie [in the New York Archdiocese], which we recently handed over to Marist College to continue the mission of educating youngsters about the delight of connecting with animals and raising food.

(Learn more at www.stber­nards.edu or call 518-453-6760.)