St. Joseph’s Sisters endow theology chair

  • September 24, 2007

{mosimage}TORONTO - Theology in Toronto just got a $2.5-million shot in the arm. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto have put up the money to endow a chair in systematic theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, and  chosen Catholic Theological Society of America president Margaret O’Gara as the first professor to hold the chair.

“I’m very struck that they (the sisters) have decided to use their resources in this way. This is really a commitment to this faculty,” said O’Gara, already on the faculty at St. Michael’s.

Historically the St. Michael’s faculty of theology has had the support of Sisters of St. Joseph among other religious orders in the form of teaching faculty. There aren’t as many professors who belong to the religious orders as there once were, but the substantial gift shows that the Toronto CSJ community still believes advanced theological study is important, O’Gara said.

“The constituency for theology is the whole church,” said O’Gara. “If Catholics want to see theology taught properly, then of course we have to find the money to do it.”

In the future the money to maintain faculties of theology will have to come from lay people rather than religious orders, O’Gara predicted.

“If people recognize the importance of theology for the life of the church they will find ways to contribute to the schools of theology that teach it,” she said.

An expert in ecclesiology (study of the church) and the role of the bishop, O’Gara is one of the most prominent Catholic theologians working in Canada today. She has a long-standing involvement in ecumenical dialogue and is a member of the Disciples of Christ-Roman Catholic International Commission for Dialogue, the Lutheran-Roman Catholic International Commission on Unity, and the  U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Co-ordinating Committee.

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