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Sister Mary Schmidt Lecture Featured Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Biographer Catherine O'Donnell

Seton Hill University and the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill presented a virtual lecture by Catherine O'Donnell, author of Elizabeth Seton: American Saint, as part of the annual Sister Mary Schmidt Lecture on April 15. 

During the presentation, “We Cannot Quarantine Compassion," O'Donnell reflected on social justice teachings and discussed ways that Elizabeth Seton’s life offers a guide for useful and compassionate ways to help ourselves and others cope with the pandemic.

The lecture offered engaging visuals and examples of people listening to and being present with each other in a way that embodies Elizabeth Seton's ethos for listening. Her ability to listen gave rise to Elizabeth’s vision of “living in charity with all,” rather than imagining herself as bestowing charity upon a lesser. Catherine guided the audience in exploring Elizabeth’s legacy of listening in order to cultivate understanding and compassion that are necessary to underlie and empower social justice activity.

The Sister Mary Schmidt Lecture is sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill and Seton Hill University in order to support the Catholic identity of Seton Hill University; engage the Sisters of Charity and Seton Hill University in learning and dialogue on timely topics of social and environmental justice with global impact; and develop an understanding of Catholic Social Teachings and how they pertain to this dialogue. It is named for Sister Mary Schmidt, SC, who served as president of Seton Hill from 1971 through 1977. She also taught in the English Department at the University for more than 20 years and served as executive vice president and the director of Alumnae Relations.

A recording of the virtual lecture is available on the Seton Hill Alumni Virtual Hub.