sexta-feira, 1 de outubro de 2010

The 6th Annual Edith Stein Project

Every Life is a Vocation
February 11-12, 2011
Conference Leader Profiles

"Every life is a vocation," Pope John Paul II proclaimed on the 2001 World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Although the term "vocation" is frequently used to refer to a special calling to the priesthood or religious life, this usage is too limited, reflecting a common misunderstanding of what it means to have a vocation. The writings of St. Paul, St. Francis de Sales, Ven. John Henry Newman, and Pope John Paul II, among many others, suggest that each and every human being has been called by name and has a unique and multifaceted vocation.

All are recipients of the common Christian vocation: to know, love, and serve God and one's neighbor. To Mother Teresa, who exemplified a willing response to this universal call to charity and service in the name of God, vocation at its most universal meant simply that our vocation is the love of Jesus. One's vocation is also lived out through one's state in life's whether through marriage, the priesthood, single life, or consecrated life. Devoting ourselves to the service of God through our life's work is the only path to a deep and lasting fulfillment, for, as the Second Vatican Council declared, "Man, who is the only creature on earth that God willed for its own sake, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self."

Through careful, individual discernment, taking our distinct situation and our natural talents into account, each of us can live out each day in response to God's will. Our particular social networks, relationships, commitments, and duties that come with our state in life cause the nature of our vocation to be radically different than anyone else's. In the words of St. Paul, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us" (Romans 12:4-6). Each one of us is called to perform an irreplaceable role in the Body of Christ that only we can perform, simply by the virtue of being ourselves in our own distinctive situation.

The Edith Stein Project seeks to promote a greater understanding of the intimately personal nature of men and women's vocations and how they can be understood and lived out concretely in our modern world. This understanding is crucial to those who, consciously or unconsciously, are grappling with vocational decisions as well as those who are striving to live out the vocations they have to some extent already discerned. Christ tells us that, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10)." It is our fervent hope that the conference will help each individual to meditate on and embrace his or her own unique vocation while coming to better understand of the vocations of others, in order to have the abundant life Christ promised us. We hope to contribute to each person's ability to respond to the high dignity of his or her vocation with the joy of faith and love.

We look to St. Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta) for inspiration. A philosopher and convert who was martyred in Auschwitz in 1942, Edith Stein discussed questions concerning vocation, particularly the vocation of women, in her own philosophical work. This year, the Edith Stein Project will address the role of vocation, especially as it pertains to how we can act more fully in accord with our human dignity. In keeping with the founding mission of the conference, we will draw on the richness of Catholic teaching on authentic personhood and sexuality, including presentations on masculinity and femininity, marriage, lay vocation, the priesthood and religious life, the family, homosexuality, Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body, and student life.

We invite you to join in our discussion at the sixth annual Edith Stein Project, entitled Irreplaceable You: Vocation, Identity, and the Pursuit of Happiness. This year's conference will take place February 11-12, 2011, at McKenna Hall on the University of Notre Dame campus. We welcome suggestions for presentations. Please join us!

Suggestions for presentations are welcome and encouraged.

We hope that you can join us!

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