Sister M. Christine Athans, professor emerita at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas, will present the lecture “In Quest of the Jewish Mary: The Mother of Jesus in History, Theology, and Spirituality” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, in Woulfe Alumni Hall North (Room 378A) of the Anderson Student Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, a joint enterprise of St. Thomas and St. John’s University, Collegeville.

Sister M. Christine Athans

Sister M. Christine Athans

“The rediscovery and new appreciation of the Jewishness of Jesus since the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) has led some Catholics to rethink how they perceive and understand Jesus’ mother,” said Athans.

Drawing on her recently published book (Orbis Press) with the same title as the lecture, Athans will consider what might have been Mary’s experiences as a first-century woman, including her prayer life, and how this may serve as an inspiration for Christians today.

Athans’ book will be available for purchase and signing at the lecture.

A member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Athans taught church history, historical theology and spirituality at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity from 1984 until 2002.  She now is an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University and Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Athans holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley and has been involved in interfaith dialogue between Christians and Jews for more than four decades.

While teaching at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, Athans was closely associated with the Center for Jewish-Christian Learning (now the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning), editing several volumes of the center’s proceedings.

Since 2002 Athans has been active in the Catholic-Jewish Scholars Dialogue of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Federation, chairing that group from 2008 to 2011.

Athans was one of four scholars on the A&E Biography television production of “Mary of Nazareth,” which discussed the Jewishness of Mary.  Her publications include the book The Coughlin-Fahey Connection: Father Charles Father E. Coughlin, Father Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp. and Religious Anti-Semitism in the United States, 1938-1954 (Peter Lang Publishing, 1991).