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Center for Mercy and Catholic Studies

Catholic Studies minors

The work of the Center for Mercy & Catholic Studies includes an innovative effort to enhance both the mission and Catholic identity of Mercyhurst University.

To this end, it will highlight the breadth and depth of the Catholic intellectual tradition, as well as the five critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

They are:

Caring for the poor, especially women and children

Caring for immigrants

Caring for the earth/creation

Promoting nonviolence

Combating racism

The Center will also collaborate with the Diocese of Erie to provide educational opportunities that can vitalize faith/reason through public scholarship and hospitable dialogue.


Endowed Chair


The Endowed Chair in Mercy and Catholic Studies owes its birth to the generosity of two Erie Catholics and college trustees: immediate past president, William C. Sennett and the late Charles A. Dailey, Jr.
Dr. Mary Hembrow Snyder, Professor of Religious Studies, is the first recipient to hold the Endowed Chair in Mercy & Catholic Studies. A member of the faculty of Mercyhurst University for the last 27 years, Dr. Snyder has a doctorate in theology from St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, and has authored/edited four books, the most recent being Joan Chittister: Essential Writings, edited with Mary Lou Kownacki and published by Orbis Books in July 2014. 




Is Economic Solidarity Bad Economics?
Reflections on Pope Francis and Catholic Social Thought
Speaker: Christine Firer Hinze, Ph.D., professor of theology and director of the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.
Walker Recital Hall, Mercyhurst University
Free and open to the public



All events sponsored by the Center for Mercy and Catholic Studies

Opening of the Helen Boyle Memorial Archive in honor of Joan D. Chittister, OSB

This event is open to everyone, and it will be featuring a lecture by Tom Roberts.

Wednesday, April 30th 

7:30PM in the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Aquinas and Natural Law: Resources for Women’s Equality 2013

Dr. Lisa Sowle Cahill

Inaugural Lecture, 2010: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition 

Dr. Terrence Tilley, Fordham University

The Future Church 2011 

John Allen, National Catholic Reporter

Faith and the Cosmos: Exploration into God, Evolution and the Mystery of the Universe 2012

Dr. Ilia Delio


Joan Chittister Archive

Mercyhurst partnered with Penn State University and the Erie Benedictine Community to preserve the literary archives of Sister Joan, a 1962 Mercyhurst graduate. While the archive will be housed on Penn State’s main campus, both Mercyhurst and Mount St. Benedict will maintain permanent archive rooms with access to her books, articles and other memorabilia. In addition, Mercyhurst will host the annual lecture series.

chittister eventchittister event

See more photos and video here




Catholic Studies

Mission Statement

The Catholic Studies Program at Mercyhurst incarnates the Catholic identity and Mercy heritage of the university.  Inspired by the university’s core values, it aims to deepen appreciation of Catholicism, both past and present, through commitment to serious intellectual inquiry and hospitable dialogue in an atmosphere where faith and reason flourish.  The program’s primary focus will be interdisciplinary engagement with the Catholic Intellectual Tradition through a variety of scholarly disciplines.


The Catholic Studies Minor is composed of six, three credit courses chosen from the following areas:

  • Catholic Studies: courses specifically designed to deepen understanding of the Catholic tradition, both past and present.  All students seeking the minor must take CST 200: Exploring Catholicism, and one other course from this category
  • Religious Studies: one,  of many courses in Religious Studies, will be designated as meeting this requirement
  • Interdisciplinary Studies: any one course in this category
  • Two electives in any of the above three categories


Catholic Studies Minor

Catholic Studies/CST

CST 200 Exploring Catholicism

CST 250 Theology of Church

CST 210 Mariology

CST 225 Catholic Moral Tradition

CST 260 Vatican II

CST 275 Catholic Social Teaching

CST 300 Foundations for Youth & Young Adult Ministry

CST 210 Globilization and the World Church

CST 320 Catholic Spirituality

Interdisciplinary Courses

ART             Art in the Catholic Tradition

DANC          Liturgical Dance

ENGL 358   Special Topics in Literature: The American Catholic Novel

PHIL 270     Foundations of Catholic Philosophy

POLI 201     Catholic Social & Political Thought

FREN 135    Religion, Politics and Drama in the 17th Century France


Religious Studies

RLST 110 Understanding Scripture

RLST 200 Contemporary Moral Issues

RLST 205 Western Christian Heritage

RLST 210 New Testament

RLST 245 Christian Spiritual Traditions

RLST 255 Religious Perspectives on Human Relationships

RLST 260 Catholic Symbols & Sacraments

RLST 270 Women & Scripture

RLST 275 Liberation, Religion & Society

RLST 280 Prophetic Traditions

RLST 290 Wisdom Literature

RLST 300 Science & Religion

RLST 310 Religion, Modernity & Post-Modernity

RLST 320 American Religious Thought

RLST 375 Religion & the Environment

RLST 380 Christology

RLST 385 Poetry of the Sacred

RLST 405 Social Ethics

RLST 440 Peace & Justice