Mary Milligan RSHM Lecture in Spirituality Series

Named in honor of Mary Milligan RSHM (bio below), the Mary Milligan lecture series brings progressive Catholic minds to LMU to discuss faith in the modern world, and how Catholic beliefs hold up in the face of modern science and knowledge.

The series began in 2013 with Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM lecture Resurrection: Did It Really Happen and Why Does that Matter?. A professor at the Jesuit School of Theology and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Sister Schneiders has published extensively on Catholic issues in cultural context. She joined IHM in 1956 and holds an MA in Philosophy, an STL in Patristics, and an STD in Scripture and Spirituality.  

Resurrection was published by Marymount Institute Press in April of 2013, to coincide with Sister Schneiders’ lecture.

The series continued with a lecture from Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ entitled Creation: Is God’s Charity Broad Enough for Bears?. A Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University, Elizabeth A. Johnson holds a PhD in Theology from Catholic University of America and has written a number of books exploring theology, religion, Catholicism, and the church in relationship to feminism and from a feminist perspective.

Creation was published by Marymount Institute Press in March, 2014 to coincide with Dr. Johnson’s visit to LMU.

The series continued in the spring of 2015 with Spiritual Maturity, a lecture from Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI, author of nearly a dozen books, most recently Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity. His lecture explores such questions as what is maturity? What is the meaning of discipleship? What is a blessing - how does it work, what is its purpose? How does a blessing contract with, and therefore in some respects define, a curse? 

Sister Mary Milligan, RSHM

Sister Mary Milligan was born on January 23, 1935 in Los Angeles, California. She entered the RSHM Novitiate in New York and was later sent to the International Novitiate in Béziers, France. She earned a BA in French at Marymount College in Tarrytown, NY in 1956; an MA in sacred scripture at St. Mary’s College in Indiana in 1966; a PhD in English at the L’Université de Paris in 1959; and in 1975, she was the first woman to receive her Doctorate at the prestigious Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Her dissertation on the Spirit-Charism of Father Jean Gailhac provided a solid foundation for future research and study of RSHM history and spirituality. 

In 1988, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. She published numerous articles on subjects such as scripture, women in religion, spirituality, and the relationship between feminism and religion. She spoke and wrote in several languages and she traveled extensively as part of her teaching, leadership, and scholarship; she was a leader in the Church, and represented the needs of women both locally and globally.

Mary was elected Councilor during the second mandate of Sister Margarida Maria Gonçalves. In 1975, and at the request of Sister Maria de Lourdes Machado, Mary coordinated process of revising the Constitutions of the Institute. A Special Commission and Mary gave the Constitutions their final form. The document was accepted by the Vatican in its first draft. In 1980 the General Chapter elected Mary as the 10th General Superior of the Institute of the Religious Sacred Heart of Mary.

Mary was a participant in the International Synod on the Laity in Rome (1987) and she was one of the prime movers of the Synod process for the Diocese of Los Angeles (1987-9), for which she co-wrote the final draft, a document which would outline the direction of the Diocese in the years to come. In 1986 Mary moved to Loyola Marymount University. She assumed many roles at LMU, including Professor of Theology; Provost (1986–1989); and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (1992-1997).  She died on April 2, 2011 at the age of 76.

The Mary Milligan RSHM Lecture in Spirituality Series is made possible by the generous donations of friends of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary and Loyola Marymount University.