Exhibit: Black Catholic "Rising Saints"
Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman
Venerable Henriette Delille
Venerable Pierre Toussaint
Servant of God Mother Mary Lange
Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton
Servant of God Julia Greeley
As the STM enters its 13th year, we are called as a community to examine, renew, and advance our commitment to formation for learned ministry in light of the Gospel, the Jesuit tradition, and the mission of the STM. At this moment, we must affirm that Black lives matter and address the sin of racism, both personal and structural.
If we are to be true heralds of the Gospel, building up the Body of Christ by witnessing to love and restorative justice, then we must cherish and respect the dignity of all bodies. Racism permeates our social, ecclesial, and academic institutions. For people of faith, called to conversion and new life in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, every day is an invitation to repentance and transformation. Repenting of racism requires a commitment to antiracism.
As theologians and ministers, we must name the root causes of racism, grow in our awareness of the ways in which it has affected Christian history, theology, and ministerial practice, fostered white privilege, and harmed people of color. A particular challenge for white students, faculty, and staff is to consider how we benefit from white privilege. This privilege not only distorts our perceptions, but it also influences our established norms and practices.
Last summer, STM Dean Thomas D. Stegman, S.J. convened a new standing committee at STM, the Committee on Race and Ethnicity (CORE). The basic charges for the committee are:
to serve as a venue for voicing concerns about race and ethnicity at STM;
to raise awareness of racial justice and promote equitable practices in all aspects of life at STM;
to provide anti-racism resources for the ongoing formation and development of students, faculty, and staff;
to promote programming around issues of race theory and racial justice (e.g., via conversations, activities, research and writing projects, pedagogies, advocacy actions, conferences, meetings, and discussion groups);
and to encourage encounter and engagement with racially diverse communities through events and activities sponsored by Boston College, STM, and the local area.
As we read the signs of the times, our schoolwide formation must include an unlearning of racist attitudes, learning new ways of thinking and acting, and relearning how we are to be ambassadors of peace and reconciliation.
For the past two years, STM faculty and staff have engaged in racial justice reading groups.
Fall 2019: White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Race, organized by Theresa O'Keefe, associate professor of the practice of youth and young adult faith
Fall 2020: Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope, organized by Matthew Monnig, S.J., assistant professor of New Testament
Felix Palazzi, associate professor of the practice, created a resource pamphlet for STM faculty as they seek to engage issues of racial justice in the classroom from the viewpoint of their areas of academic expertise.
In summer 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and other instances of Anti-Black violence, STM department chairs, Margaret Guider, OSF, Chair of the Ecclesiastical Faculty, and Hosffman Ospino, Chair of the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry, penned "A Time to Do Theology with the Voice and Vision of Prophets and Disciples."
Racial Justice Blog Posts
STM's community blog, Encounter, has featured a number of posts on topics related to racial justice written by STM students, staff, and alumni.
Whether sung liturgically, privately, or performed in concert, the Spirituals are a truly unique American music genre, steeped and founded in the Black Church experience with longevity and relevance for our lives today.
Over the 13 years of his public social ministry, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called our nation to self-reflection and action with regard to three urgent problems—racism, poverty, and war, which remain as urgent today as they did 50 years ago. This address explores King’s exercise of the prophetic and those problems from the vantage of political theology.
Responses to Covid-19 have only highlighted and exacerbated the racial and socioeconomic divides in this country, and as the contemporary civil rights movement pushes for reform and abolition, declaring yet again that Black lives matter -- where is God? Where is the (c)hurch? Together we reflect on both the questions and theological resources for pursuing community and racial justice.