In the wake of last year’s debate at Notre Dame about whether The Vagina Monologues should be staged on campuses, three undergraduate students initiated and led a two-day conference titled “The Edith Stein Project: Redefining Feminism.”

The aim of the students, inspired by the writings of both Edith Stein (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) and Pope John Paul II, was to establish a forum for education and dialogue about the dignity of women and the problems facing women in contemporary culture, such as rape, pornography and abortion.

Speakers addressed the need to rethink the culture’s misconception of the nature and dignity of the human person, especially the female person, which lies at the core of such problems.

As described in “Redefining Feminism,” an account of the event published in ethics &  culture, the newsletter of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, speakers strove:

…to articulate a solid, philosophical foundation for the “new feminism” called for by John Paul II in Mulieris Dignitatem. This new feminism is one that acknowledges and upholds the reality that men and women are endowed with equal dignity, being made equally in the image and likeness of God, but are also endowed with unique natures and distinct gifts to offer society.

A second conference, planned for February 2007, will focus on re-forming our culture’s notion of the person and women’s conception of themselves in view of their inalienable dignity. Speakers will seek to articulate:

…an approach to healing [women and society] which embraces a vision of the person as an inextricable union of body and soul and integrates spiritual, emotional and psychological aspects.

For more information about these two conferences of the Edith Stein Project, explore or contact Madeleine Ryland at [email protected] or Anamaría Scaperlanda at [email protected].

Note further that students from other campuses have shown interest in conducting similar events at their universities.