On November 3, 2017, the Catholic University of America invited members of the Carmelite community at Whitefriars Hall and other guests to witness the signing of an historic gift agreement establishing the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Endowed Chair and Center for Carmelite Studies at Catholic University. It is the first research center sponsored by a religious order at Catholic University.
The $5 million gift–the single largest donation in the history of CUA’s School of Theology and Religious Studies (STRS)–funds the Center for Carmelite Studies, the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Endowed Chair, annual scholarship stipends for three doctoral students and the Roland Murphy Annual Lecture Series. The series is named in honor of Roland Murphy, O.Carm., the Carmelite priest, biblical scholar and alumnus who taught at CUA for more than 25 years. The late Father Murphy served as a collaborator on the New American Bible and co-editor of both the Jerome Biblical Commentary and the (New) Jerome Biblical Commentary.
“We believe that the mystical emphasis of the Carmelite tradition, focusing on prayer and contemplation, add depth to our theological endeavor,” says Very Rev. Mark Morozowich, dean of theology and religious studies. “This contemplative tradition invites people to deepen their encounter with God. The new center is going to be a dynamic place to invite all students to this mystical theological tradition and to engage them at the highest academic level.”
“The mystical emphasis of the Carmelite tradition… adds depth to our theological endeavor…The new center is going to be a dynamic place to invite all students to this mystical theological tradition and to engage them at the highest academic level.”
As part of its mission, the new center will develop programming and courses that will be open to both graduate and undergraduate students. Approximately 400 Carmelites in initial formation have studied at Catholic University since it was founded in 1887. Presently 15 are enrolled at the University.
“The new center will give us a presence on a large university campus, allowing our spirituality to be researched and to become better known,” says Very Rev. William J. Harry, O.Carm., prior provincial of the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary. “Students who do their doctoral studies through the center will teach at other universities and continue to spread our spirituality around the world.”
John Garvey, the President of Catholic University who was in Europe and unable to attend the signing ceremony wrote in a letter to the Carmelites “The Carmelite Order’s gift … makes a significant investment in the school and ensures that the Order’s charism will be shared in perpetuity, with the University and beyond.”
See images from the signing ceremony below.