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NDNU's Catholic Scholar Series Begins with Sister Joan F. Burke, SND, September 25

Belmont, CA, September 18, 2008 — “Where Are We In This Global World Gone Amuck? The Challenge & Our Responsibility,” will be the discussion as Joan F. Burke, SND, kicks-off NDNU’s Catholic Scholar Series, September 25.

Sponsored by the Sister Catherine Julie Cunningham Visiting Scholars Program, the series features the social aspects of contemporary society and how they affect theology and practice. The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. in the Ralston Hall Mansion Ballroom located on the NDNU campus at 1500 Ralston Avenue in Belmont.

Sister Joan represents the Sisters of Notre Dame to the United Nations. She began this appointment in 2002 as the first person to serve the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur as an accredited non-governmental organization (NGO) in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations. She is the current Chairperson for the NGO Committee on Social Development which focuses on the social impact of economic and political policy, particularly on persons living in poverty and other marginalized groups.

“This world of ours has gone amuck in its being a world of growing inequality both within and between countries,” said Sister Joan. “But, I believe with commitment, a clear focus, and hard work, together we can change that. We need to demand our society and the global world be more equitable.”

“If we and our planet-Earth, which is home for all of us, are not to perish, we must do our part and assume our full responsibility as global citizens of the 21st century,” she added. “Together, we can make a real difference. It’s our choice.”

Sister Joan grew up in the Bay Area before entering the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She completed her undergraduate degree and teacher training at the then College of Notre Dame, ’67, ’68, and received graduate degrees at UC Berkeley ’69, and Oxford University ’78, ’83, ’91.

She lived and worked in Africa for twenty years, including the Congo, Nigeria, and Kenya. She is a trained social anthropologist who has lectured and published extensively on the impact of African cultures in relation to the expression of the Catholic Sisterhood. Her research on the evolving African expression of religious life was based on eight years of experience and field research in what was then, Lower Zaire (1980-88). She also worked in Nigeria from 1991 to 2002. She served as the Director of the Centre for Renewal at Jos in the North (1991-95) which organized leadership training programs and spiritual development workshops for both priests and the laity.

“Sister Joan will draw on her personal experience of the problems being faced in third world countries and discuss how we, in the first world, cannot ignore them,” said Sister Roseanne Murphy, NDNU’s Executive Director of Planned Giving, Professor Emerita, and former Chair of the Psychology/Sociology Department at the University,

The talk is free and open to the community. For more information regarding NDNU’s Catholic Scholar Series, contact Sister Roseanne Murphy at (650) 508-3551.