LATROBE, PA – The Saint Vincent Center for Catholic Thought and Culture has announced the publication of its first academic journal, “Conversatio: A Journal in the Tradition of Catholic, Benedictine, and Liberal Education.” Inspired by the Benedictine Hallmark of conversatio, or the way of formation and transformation in community, the journal is dedicated to developing and continuing scholarly dialogue in support of the College’s mission and liberal arts education.
Jerome Foss, Ph.D., associate professor of politics and the Endowed Director of the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture, developed the idea to create this journal in December 2020 and, in less than a year, took the idea from concept to reality.
“The work of our faculty, students, Benedictines and alumni is what made this journal possible,” Foss said. “Their support and enthusiasm to contribute was inspiring throughout this process. I am very proud that we were able to bring this journal to our academic community at Saint Vincent and its many friends.”
True to a liberal arts education and interdisciplinary in nature, the journal exists at the cross-sections of topics such as religion, science, literature, politics, art and philosophy.
Building on its purpose to celebrate the work and insights of faculty, the opening essay is composed by Father Nathan Munsch, O.S.B., a longtime professor of theology, who explores the concept of conversatio in a piece titled, “Conversatio Morum: Hallmark of Benedictine Education or Invitation to a Way of Life?” In it, with assistance from assistant professor of theology Lucas Briola, Father Nathan discusses how conversatio applies to monastic life dating back to “The Rule of St. Benedict” and its current place in shaping an academic community rooted in the Benedictine tradition.
The journal features a variety of peer-reviewed faculty books, essays analyzing historical texts and poetry from alumni and current students. There is also a symposium that explores E.F. Schumacher’s “Small Is Beautiful” from theological, analytical and economical perspectives.
“Our goal is to welcome conversation from all disciplines that strengthen the way of life we aim to cultivate at Saint Vincent,” Foss said. “We look forward to this continuing with future volumes of Conversatio.”
Samantha Firestone, Coordinator for the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture, served as managing editor, while the cover and layout were designed by Ellie Powell, a senior digital art and media major from Fairfield.
Officially published on Thursday, Nov. 18, the same day that Saint Vincent celebrated Founders’ Day and the conclusion of its 175th year, “Conversatio: A Journal in the Tradition of Catholic, Benedictine, and Liberal Education” is available to the public. Copies are $14.95 and available for purchase through the Saint Vincent Bookstore at https://bookstore.stvincent.edu/conversatio-journal-tradition-catholic-benedictine-liberal-education-volume-1.
About the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture
The Center for Catholic Thought and Culture was founded in 2019 as an interdisciplinary academic institute that advances the mission of Saint Vincent College. Through campus programs and sponsored research, it engages today's intellectual climate through sustained reflection upon the Catholic Intellectual and Benedictine wisdom traditions. It promotes scholarship in areas such as theology, philosophy, marriage and family, politics, economics, rhetoric, art and science. The Center offers a variety of formative academic programs for students, faculty and the general public to better inform them of the intellectual rigor of Catholic scholarship and its ability to improve the lives of thoughtful individuals and the health of communities. It hosts several exciting opportunities for students, including the Benedictine Leadership Studies Program, SVC Summer Institute in Rome and Faith and Reason Summer Program, in addition to reading groups, colloquia and lectures.
Photo 1: Cover of “Conversatio: A Journal in the Tradition of Catholic, Benedictine, and Liberal Education.”
Photo 2: Jerome Foss, Ellie Powell and Samantha Firestone pose with the cover design of the journal.