Faith & Reason Series: Building & Sustaining Supportive Networks & Relationships

Building & maintaining supportive relationships & networks. It is both easier and more difficult than ever before to build and sustain friendships and community in our time. A panel of committed, Catholic young adult professionals, including a young resident physician, a lawyer, an academic, a communications specialist, and a governmental policy analyst, look at ways of building supportive personal and professional communities in a splintered and aggressively secular world. We’ll assess the factors behind this status quo and discuss ways of staying better connected in an era of ‘disconnected connectivity’.

Hosted by Peter Copeland, animator for Catholic Conscience.


  • Brendan Steven – Executive Director Emeritus of Catholic Conscience, current Animator with Catholic Conscience, and Chief Writer for the United Jewish Appeal (UJA)
  • Maria Lucas – Lawyer, Co-Founder & Secretary of the Indigenous Catholic Research Fellowship (ICRF)
  • Samantha Rossi – Family Medicine Resident Doctor in Toronto Peter Copeland – Host, Policy Advisor in the Ontario Government

Faith & Reason Lecture: Contemplation In Community As Reason For Hope

Writers from St. Augustine of Hippo to Jane Austen have represented men and women together observing the natural world and thus being lifted into edifying conversation. In his Confessions St. Augustine recalls standing at a window overlooking a garden in Rome and speaking with his mother St. Monica until they are drawn from God’s “works” to contemplating eternal “Wisdom”. In Austen’s novel Mansfield Park, the Oxford theology student Edmund Bertram stands gazing out a window with his cousin Fanny Price, until she declares there would be less “wickedness and sorrow” in the world if more people attended to “the sublimity of nature”. These two scenes, one historical and one imagined, suggest men and women may be lifted together into theological and ethical forms of discourse by looking beyond themselves, out of windows, onto the beauty of Creation. Situated as we are, in the twenty-first century, how could we emulate the humble, receptive, and dialogic posture of St. Monica, as remembered by her son, or of Fanny Price, as imagined by Austen? I initially learnt the practice of collaborative speaking, writing, and editing in a graduate seminar on Virginia Woolf at the University of Toronto. The experience yielded my first academic publication: a book chapter co-authored with five other people. In my own journey as an academic, which ultimately led me into the Catholic Church, I have continued to engage in very collaborative forms of scholarship. My lecture will share some of these concrete experiences of contemplation in community as reason for hope.

About Professor Duquette

Dr. Natasha Duquette is author of 30-Day Journey with Jane Austen (Fortress Press, 2020) and is currently serving as editor-in-chief for The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Romantic-Era Women’s Writing (Palgrave MacMillan), which is a collaborative project involving writers based in universities around the globe. She is also author of Veiled Intent (Pickwick, 2016), co-editor of Jane Austen and the Arts: Elegance, Propriety, and Harmony (Lehigh University Press, 2013), and editor of Sublimer Aspects: Interfaces between Literature, Aesthetics, and Theology (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007). For the Chawton House Library series, she produced the first annotated, scholarly edition of Helen Maria Williams’s Julia, a novel interspersed with poetical pieces (Routledge, 2009). Her articles have appeared in the journals Persuasions, English Studies in Canada, Christianity and Literature, Notes and Queries, Mosaic, and Women’s Writing. She has contributed essays to multiple collections, including Through a Glass Darkly: Suffering, the Sacred, and the Sublime in Literature and Theory (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2010) and Art and Artifact in Austen (University of Virginia Press, 2020). Her research has been supported by fellowships from SSHRC, Chawton House, and Gladstone’s Library. Before coming to Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College, she taught full-time at the Royal Military College of Canada, Biola University in Southern California, and Tyndale University in Toronto, where she also served as Associate Dean of undergraduate studies for four years. She is an adult convert to the Catholic faith who was drawn to the Church by the sustaining peace she found in the mass and by the magisterium’s commitment to the beauty, goodness, and truth of the gospel. Dr. Duquette enjoys teaching courses on eighteenth-century satire, aesthetics, Jane Austen, African literature, and Indigenous writers of North America.

Faith & Reason Lecture Series with Rod Dreher

Live Not By Lies – impending ‘Soft Totalitarianism’ in the west? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once noted that people often assume that their democratic government would never submit to totalitarianism—but Dreher says it’s happening. Sounding the alarm about the insidious effects of identity politics, surveillance technology, psychological manipulation, and more, he equips people to see, judge, and act in response to contemporary circumstances.

About Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Leming—as well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

The Way of Mercy: Catholics On The Journey Of Reconciliation

Mercy-First – Moving forward in Reconciliation: As Christ taught us and as Aquinas reiterates, “In itself, mercy takes precedence of all the virtues,” since through it, it makes up for each of their deficiencies. In this webinar, we will discuss the topic of reconciliation in light of the upcoming Papal visit, with an aim of identifying concrete ways of moving forward together towards justice, forgiveness, and healing. We will explore mercy as a key to frame the way in which people from all perspectives and places in life can enter difficult and fraught discussions such as these, with humility and a willingness to listen and love, first and foremost.

On June 27th, 2022 – the eve of the Papal visit to Canada – we spoke with Fr Cristino Bouvette and Maria Lucas about matters of reconciliation.

Fr Cristino Bouvette is an Indigenous Albertan ordained in the Diocese of Calgary in 2012. He oversees the St. Francis Xavier Chaplaincy for young adults and is passionate about fostering reconciliation between the Catholic Church and Indigenous Peoples. In preparation for the Papal visit in July 2022, he has been serving as the National Liturgical Coordinator for the Office of the Papal Visit to Canada on behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Maria Lucas is a Black-Métis woman whose heritage inspired her to study Indigenous-Crown relations in a historical and political context in her undergraduate degree, which she completed at the University of Toronto. In her studies, she discovered the unique legal framework that informs Indigenous peoples’ relationship with the Crown and she came to understand that the law is key to reconciling this relationship. As a result, she was prompted to pursue law school. She completed her Juris Doctor at the University of Ottawa with a specialization in Aboriginal law and Indigenous legal traditions in 2019. She was recently called to the Ontario Bar as a lawyer. Maria is also a Co-Founder and Secretary of the Indigenous Catholic Research Fellowship and she currently serves as the Indigenous-Government Relations Assistant at Indspire.

Federal Election 2021: Catholics & Canadian Politics with John Milloy

A free webinar part of our Catholic Action initiative in the 2021 federal election campaign

FEDERAL ELECTION 2021: Catholics & Canadian Politics with John Milloy

“How did religious faith, particularly the Catholic faith, which has been such a source of strength and comfort to so many Canadians, assume such a negative connotation? Why is anyone associated with public life encouraged to keep a major part of their identity separate from their public work? Why has the wisdom of Canada’s faith communities been prevented from even being discussed in the public square?”

These are some of the questions posed by former Ontario cabinet minister and prime ministerial advisor John Milloy in his new book, Politics and Faith in a Polarized World: A Challenge for Catholics. In it, Milloy brings to bear the full weight of his experience and analysis to one of the most crucial questions for Catholics in Canada today: how do we effectively bring a Catholic social vision into our political engagement—a crucial core of our call to public witness—in a highly-secularized political environment where Catholic perspectives are often denied a place in the public conversation, or, at worst, are treated with outright hostility? Milloy offers ideas for the way forward that will both inspire and challenge Catholics to think differently about how we can bring Pope Francis’ idea of political love to life in Canada today as our country’s single largest religious voting demographic.

In a wide-ranging conversation at the apex of the 2021 federal election, we will discuss the past, present, and future of Catholic political engagement at the federal level, as well as the ongoing election campaign—Catholics’ place in it, and Milloy’s analysis of the state of Canadian politics as we prepare to elect our next federal government.

Catholic Canadians passionate about the future of their country won’t want to miss this timely and relevant conversation with a Catholic civic leader who has served at the senior-most levels of Canadian politics. Participants will also enjoy a discount code for Milloy’s new book, courtesy of its publisher, Novalis.


From 2003 to 2014, John Milloy served as the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Kitchener Centre, holding five cabinet portfolios. Prior to that he worked on Parliament Hill as a political adviser to a number of senior cabinet ministers as well as spending five years on the senior staff of former prime minister Jean Chrétien. Today, he is an Assistant Professor of Public Ethics at Martin Luther University College, and Director of the Centre for Public Ethics.

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