Catholic Culture Series on "Faith and Reason"

Mar 20, 2024May 15, 2024
Ruth Lake Country Club
6200 South Madison Street
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Bronwen McSheaAugustine Institute

The West Suburban Catholic Culture Series returns in 2024 to continue its series on
"Faith and Reason as the Two Wings:
The History and Enduring Importance of Catholic Philosophy




(Business casual attire encouraged. For questions, please email Marial Corona at

Schedule: 6:30 p.m. Drinks | 7:00 p.m. Dinner, Lecture, & Q&A | 8:30 p.m. End 


March 20:
Catholic Women in the Arts and Sciences: An Underappreciated Tradition
Bronwen McShea (Augustine Institute)

While many people are aware of the important intellectual and literary contributions of modern 
Catholic women such as St. Edith Stein and Flannery O'Connor, it is not widely appreciated that there is a long line of Catholic women scholars, scientists, and writers stretching back to the Patristic era.

In this talk, Dr. McShea will draw from her forthcoming book, Women of the Church, and highlight a range of brilliant and faithful women from the monastic, humanistic, and university traditions who can inspire Catholic intellectual life and culture today.



In his 2006 Regensburg Address, Pope Benedict XVI argued that "it is necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian Faith."

Christianity shared a sense of "reason" with Greek philosophy. Jesus himself was the Word (Logos), the Greek word for reason and speech.  St. Paul himself reminded us that Christian worship is "reasonable worship" (logike latreia) (Rom. 12:1), and while love "transcends" knowledge and can perceive more than thought alone, it remains the love of the God who is Logos (Eph. 3:19).

Faith and reason support one another; however, many have tried to tear them asunder. The Reformation tried to get to a “pure” faith without reason; modern atheism has claimed that nothing can be “known” about God. When faith and reason are pulled apart, we lose sight of God and of ourselves, since we are made to know and love God.

In this year’s WSCCS, we will challenge the all-too-common assumption that the Church’s faith stands in opposition to reason. Join us as we examine the philosophical, monastic, and artistic geniuses who have borne the Church aloft through their engagement and enrichment of worldly wisdom.

Each month, we will gather at Ruth Lake Country Club. Over dinner, we will listen to a sophisticated yet accessible lecture offered by accomplished academics. The lectures will introduce insights from the treasure house of the Church's intellectual tradition and their bearing on contemporary themes and issues, presenting faithful Catholic teaching in a way that avoids the acrimony of the culture wars.



September 13: Golden Calf: Philosophy and Theology in the Early Church
Kenneth Calvert (Professor of History, Director of the Oxford Program, Hillsdale College)

October 4: The One Thing Necessary: Monasticism and Philosophy
Prior Peter Funk, OSB (Monastery of the Holy Cross)

November 9: Integrity, Creation, and a Restless Heart: Augustine's Contribution to Philosophy
Jared Ortiz (Professor of Theology, Founder and Executive Director of the St. Benedict Institute, Hope College)

March 20: Catholic Women in the Arts and Sciences: An Underappreciated Tradition
Bronwen McShea (Professor of History, Augustine Institute)

April 10: St. Thomas Aquinas: Student of Aristotle, Disciple of Christ
Fr. Stephen Brock (Professor of Medieval Philosophy, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross)

May 15: The Bond of All Creation: Renaissance Humanism and the Incarnate Word
Matthew Gaetano (Professor of History, Hillsdale College)



Bronwen Catherine McShea is an historian and author of three books and is based in New York City.  She is also a Visiting Assistant Professor of History with the Augustine Institute Graduate School in Denver.  Additionally, she serves as an advisory editor for the Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu (IHSI) in Rome.  With advanced degrees from both Harvard University and Yale University, she is a scholar of early modern European history and of the history of Catholicism from late medieval to modern times.  Furthermore, as a writer, speaker, and artist, McShea is concerned broadly with the Christian faith as a bearer and shaper of culture.