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Dominican Sisters of Sparkill Welcome Guest Speaker, Elizabeth Johnson


On September 25, 2018, the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill hosted the second Dr. J. T. Vincent Lou Lecture. Their guest speaker for the evening, Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, is Distinguished Professor of Theology Emerita at Fordham University. For the lecture, Dr. Johnson tackled the topics of creation and ecology with the main question for the night: “Is the God you believe in or seek passionate about all creatures—even bears?” Dr. Johnson enticed the crowd with her unique approach to the awareness of the place of all creatures—human beings, animals, and inanimate objects—in Christian theology. Through her lecture and choice of topic, she wants people to understand that “the earth is our common home and needs our care and that’s a deeply religious issue – it’s not just political…it has religious dimensions.”

The lecture was inspired by a question asked by John Muir, a 19th century American naturalist: “Is God’s charity broad enough for bears?” If they weren’t already concerned about the environment and the impact of humans on it, Dr. Johnson stretched the minds of her audience and filled them with an abundance of knowledge about the ecological crisis the earth faces as a consequence of humans, as she put it, "not fighting to save what they do not love."

Members of the packed audience spoke in glowing terms about not only the topic, but the fact that Dominican Convent gave them the opportunity to see Dr. Johnson in person. When asked what brought her to the event, Mair Liberace, responded, “Sister Johnson one, the topic number two.” Liberace also went on to say that she is “interested in how destructive our world is and how we unknowingly contribute to the destruction.” Another audience member, Johanna Karumm, shared that Dr. Johnson “is a woman who I see in a leadership role in the church and that really sinks it for me.”

The event was made possible by the Dr. J. T. Vincent Lou Fund which enables the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill to offer educational opportunities on social justice issues through lectures, conferences, and seminars.  

The entire lecture is available for viewing here.


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