The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies at Newman University will present a lecture by Paula Huston, author of Forgiveness: Following Jesus into Radical Loving and several other spiritual works, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 7 in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center, inside the Dugan Library and Campus Center on the Newman campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Huston will link her reflections on forgiveness to current debates about capital punishment. Her lecture is the latest in a series of presentations on the theme "Reconciling Differences" by the Gerber Institute, which was founded to promote interdisciplinary dialogue exploring Catholic thought and practice in the areas of educational, philosophical, political, social, and cultural life.
In Forgiveness, Huston asserts that Christ's injunction to forgive without measure is central to Christianity, and is not merely an option but a requirement. Huston explores the topic through the lenses of psychology, theology, and personal narrative, and suggests specific ways we can forgive parents, spouses, and community, and can begin to seek forgiveness for ourselves.
Copies of Forgiveness and other works by Huston will be available for purchase at the reading by Eighth Day Books.
A popular speaker and retreat leader, Huston often appears at conferences, bookstores, churches and other venues to speak on the topics of forgiveness, simplicity and prayer, and the practice of the virtues. She has been a Newman Lecturer for several universities and has appeared on public radio stations and cable TV. In addition to Forgiveness, she is the author of The Holy Way: Practices for a Simple Life, a personal narrative about her struggles to incorporate into her life some of the practices of a contemplative monastic community in Big Sur, Calif. She also wrote By Way of Grace: Moving From Faithfulness to Holiness, which revisits the Christian virtues of prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude, humility, faith, hope, and love. In her first work on spirituality, she co-edited Signatures of Grace: Catholic Writers on the Sacraments, which brought well-known fiction writers and poets together to write essays around a spiritual theme.
Huston is currently at work on The Year of Living Catholicly about her experience converting to Catholicism 15 years ago, and Pilgrim Heart, the story of her solo trip around the world in search of holy people.
Huston wrote literary fiction for more than 20 years before shifting her focus to spirituality. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Daughters of Song about life in the classical piano world at Peabody Conservatory, and many short stories that have appeared in literary magazines including American Short Fiction, North American Review, MSS, and Image, and were twice selected for the Best American Short Stories list.
Huston is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, and has served on the National Screening Committee for Fulbright Awards in Creative Writing. She taught writing and literature at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and served for many years as a core faculty member of the California State University Consortium Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. A Camaldolese Benedictine oblate, Huston is married with four grown children.
Founded in 1995 and named for the Most Rev. Eugene J. Gerber, Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, the Gerber Institute presents speakers, conferences and other activities that focus on a particular theme. For the current year, the institute has explored the theme of "Reconciling Differences."
In March 2009 the institute presented a lecture by Robert Schreiter, C.PP.S., who has mediated conflict all over the world. In November, the institute featured a reading by Ron Hansen, author of several award-winning books including Atticus, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and A Stay Against Confusion: Essays on Faith and Fiction. In January 2010, the institute presented a panel discussion called "Reconciliation and the Death Penalty: What Is the Way Forward?" which included the Catholic Church's stance on the issue of capital punishment, and the perspectives of two panelists who have lost family members to murder yet oppose the death penalty. Beginning next week, the institute will sponsor a series of breakfast discussions on health care reform.
For more information about The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies at Newman University, visit www.gerberinstitute.org or call 316-942-4291, ext. 2798.