Luke O'Connell, religion faculty at Visitation and lecturer at Georgetown University, presented his work on the recently canonized St. John Henry Newman and the definition of friendship at the 20th annual fall conference of the University of Notre Dame last weekend. The conference theme was: "I Have Called You Friends."
"As a teacher I take seriously the obligation grow in knowledge for my students," said O'Connell. "Georgetown Visitation is a community that gives generously of its time and resources to allow its teachers to pursue excellence in our vocation."
In his presentation ("Stranger Things: Should Christians Have Best Friends?") abstract, O'Connell stated that the focus was on "how the insistence on loving all people equally actually diminishes true friendship and true justice, despite its seeming aspiration to the contrary." Ultimately, he argues that "to love a few well is closer to a Christian ideal of love."
The conference was an opportunity for O'Connell to receive feedback on his work from "some of the academy's best minds," he said. "My hope is to continue to ask serious questions about education, friendship, and the pursuit of truth in contemporary culture in a way that is meaningful to the Visitation family."
In addition to the conference's academic focus on friendship, O'Connell had the chance to put friendship into action, connecting with former students. He visited with one of his first students from 15 years ago in Zambia, as well as getting coffee with four Visitation alumnae currently studying at Notre Dame.