2018 Edith Stein Project Conference

2019 Edith Stein Project Conference:

Arise: Restoring Identity as Beloved

See the Conference schedule HERE

Though often hidden beneath the surface of daily life, there are wounds in every human heart in need of healing. These wounds create holes that deprive one of the longed-for wholeness for which we have been created. Cultural lies about our human identity puncture our image of ourselves and of God. They perpetuate the belief that individuals are destined to define ourselves in isolation. The deep brokenness that arises from the mentality that ‘I am all alone’ affects each of us. It insidiously manifests itself in all of our relationships— friendship, familial, Romantic—and creates a schism between God, self, and others. Perpetuating this individualism, pornography, the hook-up culture, and the reduction of identity to achievement, image, ability, and experiences have become the responses to this brokenness—they are attempts to find fulfillment on our own.

Healing from this brokenness of isolation does not occur in self-definition or objectification of the other, but only in God, the One who defines us truly. Restoring the identity of the human person in God allows each human heart to recognize their own dignity and belovedness as persons created in His image and likeness. In the merciful arms of the Father, the sacrificial life of the Son, and the restorative movement of the Holy Spirit, we can come to know ourselves beyond our brokenness as persons being healed in love.

For philosopher Edith Stein, the need to restore identity and invite healing into our lives and the lives of others is connected to the concept of empathy. Stein writes, “Empathy constitutes for us an experience of another human body being in all his or her complexity: body and member of a body, fallen and redeemed, vulnerable and transcendent, imperfect and loved.” In other words, empathy values not a mere object, but a whole person in all their joys, sorrows, brokenness, and emotion who desires healing and wholeness. With empathy, we are able to enter into a relationship with another person—accepting and receiving them—and allow them to truly experience, acknowledge, and understand who they are. Through empathy, we do not impose ourselves on another, but allow them to see themselves before God.

Ultimately, when we embrace empathy, we adopt Stein’s mentality which states: “If anyone comes to me, I want to lead them to Him.” For, it is in Christ that we find our model of empathy and source of healing. Through the complete knowledge of embodying our humanity, Christ shatters the separation between God and humanity, reminding us of our identity in Him and bringing us to new and abundant life. What we as humans cannot offer to each other or restore ourselves, Christ perfects. In His love, Christ heals our broken relationality and reveals to us that God knows and loves us perfectly. Resting in this truth we are able to find peace and true healing.

As fellow humans longing for healing we invite you to enter into a time of prayer and discussion on “Arise: Restoring Identity as Beloved” at the fourteenth annual Edith Stein Project to be held February 15-16, 2019 at McKenna Hall on the University of Notre Dame’s campus. Participants of the 2018 Edith Stein Project will be able to engage the process of healing personally and relationally through the lenses of empathy and God’s mercy and love. Our conference aims to open a space for authentic personal healing rooted in relationship with God and a time to reflect on inviting others into a place of healing. We also welcome submissions of abstracts for paper presentations. Please join us!

Your Conference Chair,

Katherine Smith

Please submit abstracts for paper presentations to idnd@nd.edu for consideration.