Benedictine University’s 14th Annual Faith and Reason Symposium

Photo Credit:

Angela Plys – Staff Writer

Jesus Cortez – Staff Writer

Benedictine University virtually held its 14th annual Faith and Reason Symposium with the theme of The World of Women on April 9. The event was hosted in three parts: A faculty panel, a keynote speaker and an alumni panel.

The faculty panel discussion was called, “She Opens Her Mouth with Wisdom: The World of Women,” about faith and reason’s relationship with the world of women. 

“The College of Liberal Arts, the Center for Mission Ministry and Inclusion, and the Department of History and Philosophy and Theology present today the Symposium to explore the relationship between faith and reason and how using both for the search of truth can lead to transformation from the individual to the global,” said Dr. Vincent Gaddis, the Department Chair of History, Philosophy, and Theology, “[T]his year, our focus will be on the contemporary issues facing women globally and the ways that faith and reason can improve the world of women.”

Following Dr. Gaddis’ introduction, the panelists from the Department of History, Philosophy, and Theology presented.

Dr. Burgess presented the argument by Judith Butler that ‘sex’ is as culturally constructed as gender. Dr. Mikula spoke about women’s place in history.  She addressed the notion of patriarchy, which kept women excluded from history textbooks. Dr. Tvrtkovic explained theological terminology and the impact of theologians Julian of Norwich, Dorothy Day, and Angela Polite. Dr. Huff concluded the presentations with the topic of the ordination of women in the Catholic Church.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Rosetta Ross, Professor of Religion, who focused on civil rights activist Ruby Hurley and the links between women, civil rights, and religion.

“I want to offer that the civil rights movement was in viewed with religious norms and ideas of religion prevalent in black communities,” Ross said.

The alumni panel focused on women shaping the world in the workforce and the struggles that women face within it. It featured Alex Rose, Tiff Pua and Ghazal Shafiei.

“You don’t see many people like me in the media,” said Pua, instructor of television and video production at Milwaukee Area Technical College. “As a woman, it took me a while to rise through the ranks to become a director, to be the person in charge of an actual newscast.”

Shafiei mentioned the struggles she faces as a woman with a Ph.D. as she is berated by some of her older male attendees for her sex and talked about the wage gap between men and women.

Rose explained the struggles of working in the ocean. As a woman, as she is constantly stared at in her bathing suit. She also explained that people assume that she is there with a husband rather than there for work. “It is a constant and nagging assumption that people make that you’re not the one driving your own destiny and that really intensely bothers me.” said Rose.