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Creative Attention: Seeing as a Form of Justice | Oblate Summer Institute 2022

June 20, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - June 22, 2022 @ 9:00 pm


Monday, June 20 – Wednesday, June 22, 2022 | IN-PERSON AND ONLINE OPTIONS AVAILABLE

TO REGISTER: https://ost.edu/event/si2022/

In Waiting for God, Simone Weil describes “creative attention”–attention that is “creative” in that it holds the power to restore the dignity and humanity of a person who is suffering, alone, alienated. For Weil, social justice is rooted in our willingness to look and to see the sufferer.

It seems to me we have never been more in need of considering “creative attention” as a practice in our lives than now. Between the phones to which our eyes are glued and the many screens that demand our constant attention, to the ways we avert our eyes from the victims of various kinds of sexual abuse, especially in a Catholic context, we are more likely to turn away from those who need us to see them more than ever, or to fail to notice them altogether.

Together we will consider Weil’s simple, yet revolutionary spiritual practice for today’s world, more broadly with respect to the digital age, and also with respect to the current (and ongoing) situation that is the Catholic clergy abuse crisis. We will ask ourselves where–in our own communities and lives–we might begin to practice “creative attention” toward the end of justice and social transformation in big and small, everyday ways. We will wonder about our own needs to be seen, to be witnessed, for our own pain and suffering. On the final night, Keynote Presenter Donna Freitas will also share her personal story in this regard, and how she came to realize how important “creative attention” is in her own experience as a victim in the clergy abuse crisis (a story which she tells in Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention).

Attendees are encouraged to read Donna Freitas’ Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention prior to the Institute.

Summer Institute’s featured speakers will be Donna Freitas, James Martin, SJ (presenting remotely), and Carolyn Y. Woo.


June 20, 2022 @ 4:00 pm
June 22, 2022 @ 9:00 pm


Oblate School of Theology
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Oblate School of Theology, Whitley Theological Center
285 Oblate Drive
San Antonio, TX 78216 United States
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