About Us

The Joan and Bill Hank Center
for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage

Cuneo Hall Final

About | Staff | Board

 

The Center is a venue for faculty, students, and staff to learn about, and investigate, Roman Catholic thought and its links to all academic disciplines. With its strong emphasis on scholarly research and discussion, CCIH is a productive space where the fruits of that research can be engaged, debated, and shared.

The Center was founded in 2006 aiming to preserve and foster Catholic intellectual heritage not only at Loyola University Chicago, but also in the community. On April 24, 2007, Loyola University Chicago renamed this Center of Excellence in honor of two generous friends and benefactors—Joan Los (BS'54) and Bill Hank.

The Center offers a number of opportunities to learn about, and interact with, the Roman Catholic tradition. Here are a few examples of initiatives aimed at helping our community to connect with, research, and communicate the Catholic intellectual heritage.

  • Connecting to Roman Catholic thought
    The CCIH Reading Groups offer students and faculty the opportunity to read and discuss a classic text in the Catholic intellectual tradition with their peers from across the disciplines and around the university.

  • Researching Roman Catholic thought
    Faculty research projects for both individuals and groups concerned with or connected to Catholic intellectual heritage are funded by the Center. The typical goal is a published text, but it can also include an organized conference or team-taught course.

  • Communicating Roman Catholic thought
    The Cardinal Newman Lecture Series provides an opportunity, each spring, for a noted scholar who has converted to Catholicism to offer faculty and students a reflection on how their identification with the Catholic Church and the Catholic intellectual tradition influences and impacts their own professional research and scholarship.

The Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage stewards the Jesuit principal of finding God in all things, which is at the core of the mission of Loyola University Chicago. At the Center, the rich and variant lines of the Catholic intellectual  tradition are explored, communicated, and renewed.

Learn more about the center

Get to know our Staff:

Michael P. Murphy, Director
Meghan Toomey, Center Manager
Kathleen McNutt, Graduate Assistant
Katharine Flores, Undergraduate Assistant
Frances Rafferty, Undergraduate Assistant
Justyna Skowronski, Undergraduate Assistant

Michael P. Murphy
Director

MurphyHS1

Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.

Born and raised in California, I received my undergraduate degrees in English and Great Books from the University of San Francisco, an MA in English from San Francisco State University, and my doctorate in Theology, Literature, and Philosophy in a joint program with the Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkeley. My current research interests include Theology and Literature, Sacramental Theology, and the socio-political cultures of Catholicism.

What is your role at the Hank Center?

As Director for the Hank Center and the Catholic Studies Program, I wear many hats. From facilitating faculty research and teaching projects to conceiving, organizing, and bringing to fruition conferences and symposia to creating curriculum and advising our vibrant Catholic Studies Minor community, every day is a new adventure. I also have a moderately active scholarly agenda and engage public media on issues in Catholic thought and culture.

What is your favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality?

Of the many facets of Ignatian Spirituality that feed and nourish me—or rather, how God nourishes me through the many facets—the practice of Magis immediately springs to mind. One can never go wrong in devoting her/his energies to cultivating the more universal good. But then, we need prayer and reflection for all of it to thrive properly. After all, a bird doesn’t fly on one wing. So, I seek to be a “contemplative in action” as well.

Main takeaway from/ favorite thing about working at the Hank Center?

One of my greatest joys in working at the Hank Center is interacting with and learning from each member of our fantastic team. Each of them has a variety of skills and a unique spirituality that, taken together, help us inhabit, cultivate, and share this beautiful, living tradition. It’s also a profound honor to serve the church and the academy as a vital venue for faculty, students, and staff to learn about, and investigate, Roman Catholic thought and its links to all academic disciplines. CCIH is unique in that it has a large footprint. Its first charge is the Loyola Community, but it also hosts and facilitates both national and international gatherings. It is one of the preeminent Centers for Catholic thought and culture in the US and we take this responsibility very seriously. In this way, it is a true delight to continue the work of my distinguished predecessors, Mike Schuck and Fr. Mark Bosco, to see what the Holy Spirit has in store for us, and to discern the work we are called to do. 

Last but certainly not least, favorite saint?

I’m a fan of the Saints. Sure, I have a special devotion to St. Michael, but my first thought here is St. Catherine of Siena. She was brilliant and a great fighter. Can’t go wrong there. I also think of St. Oscar Romero who was called to deeper awareness and conversion in his late middle age. This also cost him his life—a key aspect of our lives together that saints humbly place before us and there’s no getting around it. It’s true what Bernanos says: “The only tragedy in life would be not to become a saint”—a declaration that scares us and grates on the late modern ear.

 

Meghan Toomey 
Center Manager

ToomeyHS

Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, I’m a thoroughly New England gal living in a Midwest world. In addition to working for the Hank Center, I am a doctoral candidate in Integrated Studies in Ethics and Theology here at Loyola and currently working on my dissertation. 

What is your role at the Hank Center?

As Center Manager at CCIH, I help coordinate events and administrative tasks for the Center. 

What is your favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality?

Cura personalis, which has not only been a centerpiece of my own spirituality, but also a guiding principle in my life and relationships with others. 

Main takeaway from/ favorite thing about working at the Hank Center?

My favorite thing about working at the Hank Center is the people with whom I work and the culture of community and camaraderie I experience on a daily basis.

Last but certainly not least, favorite saint?

This is a very difficult question, because there are many saints I admire, especially Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Saint Oscar Romero. On most days I also find myself praying to Saint Anthony for my lost things or St. Jude for hopeless cases, but there is one saint who I have really built my entire life around following in her footsteps, and that is Saint Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursulines of the Roman Union. As a lay associate with the Ursulines, I have found my most authentic expression of discipleship to Christ through Saint Angela’s spirit and teachings.

 

Kathleen McNutt
Graduate Research Assistant

McNuttHS

Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m from a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut. I went to St. Olaf College in Minnesota where I majored in religion with a concentration in linguistics. I got an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, worked as a campus minister at Marist College for three years, and am currently a Ph.D. student in the Theology department at Loyola, currently in the dissertation stage.

What is your role at the Hank Center?

I serve as the Graduate Research Assistant. I work on our newsletter, website, and marketing; help to coordinate our Faculty Seminar; and staff events. I also have teaching assistant duties and generally try to help CCIH in any way I can.

What is your favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality?

I’ve always loved the Examen. It’s such a practical prayer and a way to reflect on the day.

Main takeaway from/ favorite thing about working at the Hank Center?

The staff is amazing to work with, and I feel lucky to meet so many distinguished scholars from different fields and universities. There’s always something new going on.

Last but certainly not least, favorite saint?

If I have to choose only one, Martin de Porres, a patron of racial justice. But can I also name Joan of Arc, Catherine of Siena, Thomas More, Oscar Romero, and Mary (my confirmation saint) in there for good measure?

 

Katharine Grace de Jesus Flores
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a first-generation Filipino American born in Bronxville, New York and raised in Sacramento, California. In addition to studying for an Environmental Science, BS and English, BA, I serve as an Executive Board Member for Kapwa Loyola, the university's Filipinx interest group, and an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Hank Center. My career goal is to help people by encouraging growth and change in communities and individuals.

What is your role at the Hank Center?

My various roles at the Hank Center include digital media and content creation, event logistics and management, and general office assistance. Undergraduate Research Assistance for me has been maintaining small event details and media to support big picture programming.

What is your favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality?

Service and Solidarity is my favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality because it fuels action and desire to help one another. As it becomes harder to see, hear or feel unity, we are reminded that we must always help one another.

Main takeaway from/ favorite thing about working at the Hank Center?

I love working with other Catholics who share similar Jesuit values. This team functions with genuine dedication and compassion, which is different from other office environments.

Last but certainly not least, favorite saint?

I always feel close to my Patron Saint, Cecilia. She feels like protection, and my prayers interceded through her feel like hugs. Additionally, St. Katharine Drexel is an excellent role model for the woman and Catholic I strive to become. Both saints continuously remind me to be patient, perseverant, and intuitive.

 

Frances Rafferty
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Champaign, IL, but have lived most of my life in Carmel, Indiana. In addition to studying for an Environmental Policy BA and a Catholic Studies minor, I serve as a Resident Assistant for the Department of Residence Life at Loyola University Chicago, as well as an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Hank Center. My career goal is to work within the U.S. and, potentially, global food system to create sustainable solutions and options for my generation and the generations that follow.

What is your role at the Hank Center?

My various roles at the Hank Center include digital media and content creation, event logistics and management, general office assistance, assisting in promoting the Catholic Studies Minor, and managing the social media platforms and promotions for the Catholic Studies Minor.

What is your favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality?

The importance of intentionality in one’s actions is my favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality because it emphasizes the importance of finding and seeing God in all things. I strive to live in an intentional way so that my actions are reflective of the holistic and panentheistic nature of God’s Being.

Main takeaway from/ favorite thing about working at the Hank Center?

I appreciate sharing a workspace with faith-filled individuals who come from various backgrounds and identities, but who are all grounded in the mission and passion for sharing and promoting the truth of God’s Love and Peace through creation and innovation.

Last, but certainly not least, favorite saint?

St. Francis of Assisi is my favorite saint. He is not only my patron saint and Confirmation saint, but he has been with me since the beginning of my life. My dad was brought into the Church in law school, and St. Francis is his Confirmation saint. There is a picture of me when I was three years old with my arm hanging about the shoulders of a St. Francis of Assisi statue in our wet garden after a rain shower. This image is representative of the role that St. Francis plays in my life. As an Environmental Policy major, St. Francis is an inspiration for me on a daily basis, as he is the Patron Saint of Ecology and Animals. I strive to live out his values of a love for God and Creation in my everday life.

 

Justyna Skowronski
Undergraduate Research Assistant

 JSkowronski HS

Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been a Chicagoan for most of my life, besides a few years my family spent in Michigan. My family of thirteen is from Orland Park, a wonderful suburban area on the southwest side of Chicago, where we’ve lived for most of my life. I am majoring in English and Journalism from Loyola University with the hopes of teaching some day, while also writing for a news media outlet where justice, truth, and human dignity are valued. I currently work at the Hank Center as a an undergraduate assistant, nanny for a family in the city,  and teach private lessons on the violin in my free time. 

What is your role at the Hank Center?

At the Hank Center, I have a plethora or roles including, but not limited to, digital media and content writing, event management and logistics, and office assistance as an undergraduate research assistant. My role isn't concrete, but I have enjoyed begin flexible and getting to know all the odds and ends of the Hank Center this semester.

What is your favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality?

My favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality is to be where your feet are and to do things for the greater glory of God. If we can be grounded in each moment and offer every present moment up to God, then our lives are naturally lived out for the greater glory of God.

Main takeaway from/ favorite thing about working at the Hank Center?

The best takeaway from working at the Hank Center has been all the new skills I have learned. However, my favorite thing about CCIH is the incredible staff and wonderful behind-the-scenes people at the events we host. 

Last but certainly not least, favorite saint?

St. Gianna Beretta Molla is my favorite saint because of her commitment to her family and children. She was my confirmation saint and is the patron saint of families.

 

 

ADVISORY BOARD

Micael Clarke, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of English
Loyola University Chicago

Colby Dickinson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Theology
Loyola University Chicago

The Hon. Thomas M. Donnelly, J.D.
Associate Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County
Part-Time Faculty, School of Law
Loyola University Chicago

Dr. D. Scott Hendrickson, S.J., DPhil
Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literature
Loyola University Chicago

Jane Locke, J.D.
Associate Professor, School of Law
Loyola University Chicago

Lorraine A. Ozar, Ph.D.
Clinical Associate Professor and Andrew M. Greeley Endowed Chair in Catholic Education
Loyola University Chicago

Michael J. Schuck, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Theology
Founding Director, The Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage
Loyola Univeristy Chicago