Catholicism and the Arts

The Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage hosts its Catholicism and the Arts Series every spring. It is designed to promote cultural productions, both classical and contemporary, theatrical, musical, or pictural, that illuminate the rich heritage of art in Catholic culture.


  • Reading the Catholic Imagination

    Reading the Catholic Imagination is an online summer reading and discussion series for readers and writers to explore together the Catholic literary imagination in its myriad forms: in new work by self-professed Catholic writers; in the crossings and convergences of old and new work, religious and secular; and in our own habits of reading. This series is hosted by the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage of Loyola University Chicago and is led by four excellent emerging scholars of the Catholic literary tradition.
  • Public Performance: Missa Laudato Si’

    April 21, 2024 at 3pm
    Madonna della Strada Chapel, LSC

    Premiere of Kyrie and Gloria of Missa Laudato Si’ (Dongryul Lee, composer) paired with Sarah Kirkland Snider's Mass for the Endangered. Excerpts from the Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, were read between each of the movements. This landmark concert will be performed by Ignatian Voices, University Chorale, and University Singers– with guest musicians from The EcoVoice Project. This event was led by Professor Kirsten Hedegaard and supported by Loyola’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts and the Hank Center.
  • Mary Lou Williams Lecture and Gala Performance featuring Deanna Witkowski

    Lecture, March 21, 2024: 4:00 - 5:30 PM CDT. 4th Floor, Information Commons, LSC.
    Live Performance, March 22, 2024: 7:00 - 8:30 PM CDT. Skowronski Music Hall, Mundelein Hall, LSC.

    Loyola celebrated the music of the late jazz great, Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981), in late March, 2024. As an adult convert to Catholicism (with many ties to Jesuits), Williams’s sanctity is getting better known— especially in her corporal works of mercy for fellow musicians and loving care for all who crossed her path. Williams expressed her faith in her music– innovatively composing and situating jazz in liturgical settings and demonstrating the sacral range of jazz music in new registers. A virtuoso pianist, in her early career, Williams was part of the 1940s Kansas City jazz scene– inspiring and mentoring such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker. The Hank Center welcomed Williams scholar and jazz pianist, Deanna Witkowski, author of Williams’ biography, Mary Lou Williams: Music for the Soul for several events and classroom visits at LUC. Witkowski is the foremost interpreter of Williams– both musically (as a virtuosa pianist) and as a scholar.
    Both events were free, open to the public and all were welcome.
  • Kathy Osberger Book Lecture: I Surrender: A Memoir of Chile's Dictatorship, 1975

    February 5, 2024 at 4:00 pm
    McCormick Lounge, Coffey Hall, LSC

    Loyola welcomed Kathleen Osberger for a talk on her recently published memoir, I Surrender: A Memoir of Chile's Dictatorship, 1975. In September 1973, a CIA-assisted coup overthrew the democratically-elected president of Chile, ushering in the Pinochet dictatorship. In 1975, Kathleen Osberger, a recent graduate and lay volunteer from Notre Dame, left for Santiago to teach in a Catholic grade school. Upon arrival, she was told a secret: the religious women she would live with sheltered dissidents in the cross-hairs of Pinochet’s secret police. Soon, Osberger is handed a blindfold, a warrant, and must go on the run. I Surrender depicts the solidarity of the Chilean people and the transformational role of nuns and priests dedicated to serving the poor, while highlighting the changing and challenged Catholic Church. This lecture is sponsored by Catholic Studies and the Hank Center. Students, arrive early to receive a complementary copy of the book!
    Event video coming soon.
  • William Byrd Celebration: November 3-19 2023

    Loyola University marks the 400th anniversary of William Byrd’s death through a series of lectures and performances. Regarded as one of the most important English composers of the Renaissance, Byrd was also a devout Catholic during a period that condemned Catholicism and its followers. With programs presented by guest artists and Loyola music students, this series outlines his fascinating life and musical output. This series is led by Professor Kirsten Hedegaard and Department of Fine and Performing Arts with support from the Hank Center. A full schedule of events is now available. These events are free and open to the public.
  • Michael O'Loughlin and Hidden Mercy

    October 18, 2022
    McCormick Lounge
    A Loyola--Rogers Park Community Book Club Event

    Michael O'Loughlin read from his book Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and the Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear and engage our community in conversation. A collaboration between the Hank Center, St. Gertrude Church, and Loyola's Office of Mission Integration. This event was free and open to the public.
  • Restorative Justice: Unguarded Viewing and Discussion

    We were pleased to host a viewing of Unguarded, a documentary film that tells the story of successful restorative justice work in Brazil and America through the experience of Association for the Protection and Assistance of the Convicted (APAC). Discussion with film director and producer, Simonetta D'Italia-Wiener, film producer and Loyola Alumnus, T.J. Berden, Loyola Criminal Justice and Criminology Graduate School Alumnus, Phil Whittington, and The Honorable Thomas More Donnelly of Loyola University's School of Law followed viewing. This event was Co-sponsored with the School of Communications, the School of Law, the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, and the Center for Criminal Justice. This event was free and open to the public.
  • Conversations on the Catholic Imagination
    The Relevance of the Stars Book Discussion
    Featuring Cardinal Seán O'Malley

    November 18, 2021, 6:00 PM CST
    Zoom Forum

    In his talks and essays, Lorenzo Albacete made profound theological and philosophical insights accessible without ever losing their depth and breadth. We were please to host a discussion of Albacete’s seminal insights collected in The Relevance of the Stars: Christ, Culture, Destiny, featuring Cardinal Seán O'Malley along with editors Lisa Lickona and Gregory Wolfe. Part of our series of Conversations on the Catholic Imagination.
    This event was free and open to the public. Registration Required
  • Conversations on the Catholic Imagination
    Why Dante Matters Today

    September 9, 2021, 4:00 PM CDT
    Zoom Forum

    Marking the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death—and his enduring influence on the Catholic imagination in theology, art, politics, and culture. Part of our series of Conversations on the Catholic Imagination.
  • Video Available | War, Peace, and the Catholic Imagination

    This event featured National Book Award winning novelist Phil Klay and multiple award winning poet Philip Metres discussing how violence, warfare, and oppression are mediated through an imagination that knows the profound failure of such human endeavors. Part of our series of Conversations on the Catholic Imagination.
    March 11, 2021, 4:00 PM CST
    Zoom Forum

  • Video Available | A Canticle for Leibowitz and the Monastic Figure in a Dystopian World

    January 26, 2021
    Avoiding excesses of both pietism and pessimism, Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz has an enduring relevance. Video is available of this conversation about this classic of speculative fiction -- a novel that rhymes with many realities of 21st Century life. Featuring Fr. Stephen Gregg, O. Cist. in dialogue with Katy Carl, Editor in Chief of Dappled Things.
  • Lured: The Curse of Swans

    A play by Terry Boyle, directed by Becca Holloway. Presented at Loyola University Chicago in April 2019.
  • Catholic Conversion Narratives in Modern Aesthetics

    In collaboration with the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven), the Hank Center was pleased to host this international and interdisciplinary conference exploring modern conversion narratives.
  • Live from Loyola: George Saunders Radio Hour

    An evening with MacArthur Genius and the Man Booker Prize-winning author, George Saunders. Raised Catholic in Chicago but now also a practicing Tibetan Buddhist, the author has a decidedly individual take on spirituality that informs his fictions.
  • My Dream Act: A Play by Martha Razo and Cecilie Keenan

    My Dream Act, performed by Martha Razo under the direction of Cecilie Keenan, was presented by FRONTERA: Artists Crossing Borders. The play took place on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at the Citizenship, Public Service, and the Common Good Symposium.
  • Catholicism and the Arts: Faithful Musical Modernisms: Poulenc, Villette, Langlais, and Arvo Pärt (A Lecture with Paul French)

    In spring 2016, the Catholicism and the Arts Lecture (part of our two-day Catholicism in the Arts Series) was given by composer and conductor Paul French. Click here to read about this interesting and informative discussion.
  • Catholicism and the Arts: Faithful Musical Modernisms: Poulenc, Villette, Langlais, and Arvo Pärt (A Performance by the William Ferris Chorale)

    In spring 2016, the Catholicism and the Arts Performance (part of our two-day Catholicism in the Arts Series) was given by the William Ferris Chorale, under the direction of Paul French. Read about their performance of pieces by Francis Poulenc and Arvo Part.
  • "Viriditas: Finding God in All Things" The 2015 Catholicism and the Arts Lecture by Fr. William H. McNichols

    Loyola University Chicago received and unveiled an icon from renowned iconographer Fr. William (Bill) McNichols on September 10th, 2015.
  • Catholicism and the Arts: Performance of Flannery O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge

    Directed by Karin Coonrod and performed by the New York based troupe Compagnia de' Colombari
  • *mark

    *mark (adapted and performed by George Drance, S.J. - Teilhard de Chardin Fellow in Catholic Studies for Fall 2014) is a one-man portrayal of the Gospel According to St. Mark, the oldest of the four gospels, originally performed out loud to give courage and hope to that quiet community of first-century rebels.
  • Mr. Richard Austin

    The Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage was fortunate to be able to bring to campus the noted English actor and performer Richard Austin. Austin’s specialty is the performance of poetry, especially the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Widely acclaimed as “the finest performer of Hopkins’ poetry today,” Austin contributed to the Hank Center’s annual forum on Catholicism and the Arts by giving a public lecture on “Poetry as Prayer” after which he staged his one-man show “Back to Beauty’s Giver."
  • Ms. Delia Surratt

    Delia Surratt, professor of Vocal Technique at Loyola University Chicago’s John Felice Rome Center and an acclaimed international vocal artist, offered a free lecture and concert series. She was the first guest of the Catholicism and the Art Series, designed to promote cultural productions, both classical and contemporary, that illuminate the rich heritage of art in Catholic culture.