Dominican Attends St. Albert Initiative on Science and the Catholic Faith

At the St. Albert Initiative on Science and the Catholic Faith, held February 2nd at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, St. Mary’s Dominican High School students and personnel joined attendees from other area schools. The half-day program on science and faith was for Catholic high school students, teachers, and parents as well as the general public (high school age and above). It featured talks by Catholic scientists and the opportunity for attendees to meet, eat with, and ask questions of Catholic scientists in many fields and at various stages of their careers.

This event was co-sponsored by the McGrath Institute for Church Life and made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Three previous St. Albert Initiatives have been held: Washington, DC, November 2021; Chicago, February 2022, and Philadelphia, March 2023. 

Through St. Mary’s Dominican High School STREAM Initiative, Dominican has been a host site for lab experiments that were part of the Foundations New Orleans seminars from 2017-2019. At those seminars Matthew Foss, Chair of Dominican’s Science Department and Math faculty member, served as lab manager and instructor. In addition to the McGrath Institutes’ programs, Dominican also participated in the 38th annual Gulf Coast Faith Formation Conference.

“Through our STREAM Initiative, we teach important connections between faith and science to our students,” said Mr. Foss. By attending the St. Albert Initiative, our students had an opportunity to learn directly from professional scientists who are also practicing Catholics.  This experience will give them a better understanding of how to, as St. Pope John Paul II said, integrate the worlds of science and religion in their own intellectual and spiritual lives.

Tess Baker (24): “The topics covered during the event allowed someone from any background to be able to learn and understand something new. I particularly enjoyed speaking with Dr. Angela Amedee about Virology. We discussed the speed at which viruses can adapt within a host to spread to different species or create an even stronger, more resilient virus. For example, the swine flu passing from pigs to humans.”

Caroline Conner (27): “Something I enjoyed about the seminar was learning about Neuroscience about the brain, what it does, and how your brain cells are created.”

Blair Foss (26): “I learned that both science and religion can lead us to a deeper understanding of the universe and our place in it. Science can help us understand the physical world, while religion can help us understand the spiritual world. This field trip helped me expand my knowledge on how to connect science to religion.”

Camille Truxillo (24): “I had high hopes for the St. Albert Initiative, but it exceeded my expectations by far! The scientists not only described how they are able to maintain their faith within their fields, but even how their faith helps them in their research and analysis. Conversely, the scientific information they shared, which was fascinating, strengthened their Catholic faith, illustrating beautifully how to live out Catholicism in a scientific career.”