Laudato si’ and Northern Appalachia:

A Conference on the Environment and Catholic Social Teaching

Friday, October 21, 2016  

The past forty years have seen a series of pastoral letters addressing the environment and the social conditions of the Appalachian region (This Land is Home to Me [1975]; At Home in the Web of Life [1995]; Laudato si’ [2015]). The conference is designed to foster interdisciplinary reflection on the state of the environment, the people and the culture of Northern Appalachia in light of Catholic Social Teaching as expressed in all of these documents, but with a special emphasis on the significance of Laudato si’ for the region.

WV-riverFour areas will structure the conference: 

  • Theology
  • History, Public Policy and Activism
  • Environmental Literature  
  • Environmental Science 

Conference Scheduleconference-schedule
8:45 - 9:15 a.m.

Registration, Coffee, and Fellowship
(FRC Second Floor Lobby)

9:15 - 10:15 a.m.

Welcome: Jason King, Chair of Theology, Saint Vincent College and Editor of Journal of Moral Theology
Plenary Address
“The Significance of Pope Francis’s Prophetic Call—‘CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME!’—for Northern Appalachia”
Anne Clifford, Iowa State University
(FRC Banquet)

10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Track Sessions

History: Labor-Activism
Timothy Kelly
(FRC 2A)

“Catholic Activism and the Rise and Fall of the Coal and Steel Industries in Pennsylvania and West Virginia”
Charles T. Strauss
Mt. St. Mary’s University

“The Catholic Worker Farm in Lincoln County, West Virginia, 1970-1990”
William J. Collinge
Mt. St. Mary’s University

“The Catholic Workers and ‘Green’ Civic Republicanism in Lincoln County, WV, 1970-1979”
Jinny A. Turman
University of Nebraska at Kearney

Theology Jessica Wrobleski
(FRC 2B)

“Christ Has a Union in Heaven: Church, Union, and Land in the West Virginia Mine Wars, 1890-1921 and Beyond”
Joel James Shuman
King’s College

“Schoharie County and the Constitution Pipeline: Catholic and Reformed Theologies in Dialogue”
Nancy Rourke
Canisius College

“Sustainable Communities and Eucharistic Communities: Laudato si', Northern Appalachia, and Redemptive Recovery”
Lucas Briola
Catholic University of America

Environmental Humanities
Christopher McMahon
(FRC 1B)

“The Spiritual Lens of Rachel Carson's Narrative Call to Environmental Justice”
Christine Cusick
Seton Hill University

“Maxo Vanka’s Murals as a Sign of the Times:  A Catholic New Deal?”
Joel Woller
Carlow University

“Making the Mountains Fall: Mountaintop Removal Mining and Ann Pancake’s Ecofeminist-Homiletic Novel Strange As This Weather Has Been”
David Von Schlichten
Seton Hill University

Environmental Science
Br. Albert Gahr, OSB Moderator
(FRC 1C)

“Seasonal Recovery of an Appalachian Stream Affected by Acid Mine Drainage and Municipal Wastewater”
Peter M. Smyntek
Saint Vincent College*

“Modeling Saint Vincent College’s Carbon Dioxide Emission:  A Class Project”
Caryl Fish
Saint Vincent College

12:15 - 1:15 p.m. LUNCH

1:15 - 3 p.m. Track Sessions

Environmental Activism
William Collinge
(FRC 2A)

“Discerning a Catholic Environmental Ethos: Three Episodes in the Growth of Environmental Awareness in Western Pennsylvania”
Timothy Kelly
Saint Vincent College

“Laudato si’, Public Theology and Northern Appalachia: Shaping Energy Discourse and Policy”
Daniel R. DiLeo
Boston College

“Now Go Transform the World!: Teaching Students to Live the Mission”
Susan E. Eichenberger
Seton Hill University

Jessica Wrobleski
(FRC 2B)

“Spatial versus Temporal Revelation: The Primacy of Place (Presence) over Time (Progress)”
John Alverson
Carlow University

“Pope Francis, Local Church, and the ‘Theology of the Body’”
Robert Ryan
Catholic University of America

“An Integral Eucharist? Pope Francis, Louis-Marie Chauvet, and Ecology’s Relationship to Eucharist”
Derek Hostetter
University of Dayton

Environmental Arts and Communication: Theory, Criticism, and Performance
Christine Cusick
(FRC 1B)

“Civic Calling and the Common Good: Toward a Dialogic Meeting amid Environmental Crisis through Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter, Laudato si’: On Care for Our Common Home”
John H. Prellwitz
University of Pittsburgh Greensburg

Poetry of Place: Appalachian Literature and Bioregionalism”
Noah Davis
Seton Hill University

“Writing the Region:  Poetry Reading by Todd Davis”
Todd Davis
Penn State University Altoona

Environmental Science
Br. Albert Gahr, OSB
(FRC 1C)

“Monastery Run Improvement Project:  A Model for Hope”
Caryl Fish, Beth Bollinger, Angela Belli, Cynthia Walter
Saint Vincent College

“Quantifying Insecticides and Their Break-Down Products in Children’s Foods Using Gas Chromatography: Implications for Risk Assessment”
Benjamin Jones, Simon Pitman, Samantha Radford
Saint Francis University, PA

3:15 - 4 p.m. Roundtable

“Taking Our Place in the Stories that Shape Us: A Panel Discussion on the Catholic Committee of Appalachia Past, Present, and Future”
(FRC Banquet)
Jessica Wrobleski, Wheeling Jesuit University and members of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia



With gratitude we would like to acknowledge the following sponsors who made this conference possible:

The Department of Theology
Saint Vincent College

Fr. Rene Kollar, O.S.B.
Dean of the School of Humanities and Fine Arts
Saint Vincent College

Journal of Moral Theology
Mt. St. Mary’s University

The Monastic Community of Saint Vincent Archabbey