The mission of the Jacques Maritain Center takes inspiration from its namesake, Jacques Maritain, one of the most influential Catholic thinkers of the 20th century, whose wide-ranging work made signal contributions to the Thomistic revival, to Vatican II, and to the UN Declaration on Human Rights:

Bust of Jacques Maritain with books in front and behind

With Maritain as its model, the Jacques Maritain Center aims to foster deep intellectual conversations and world-class research on the perennial questions of human existence, drawing special inspiration from the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas and Maritain’s own vision of “integral Christian humanism,” but also more broadly from the great traditions of human reasoning in conversation with faith.

  1. One major way in which the Center pursues these goals is by sponsoring Notre Dame’s History of Philosophy Forum to promote the study of the world’s great traditions of human reasoning, and the wisdom they continue to offer us today. This programming includes grants programs that bring dozens of researchers from around the world to campus each year; a high-profile annual colloquium; and events throughout the year that promote exchange of ideas across the boundaries that ordinarily divide scholars from each other. Through this partnership, the Center is also developing internal mechanisms to support the Notre Dame community in building innovative research collaborations across disciplines and institutions.
  2. Additionally, the Maritain Center sponsors programming to promote research and teaching in the spirit of “integral Christian humanism,” which prioritizes the value, dignity, and rights of the human person, the relationships and responsibilities of persons within society, and the fulfillment of human existence in communion with God. These programs include the Ralph McInerny Distinguished Fellowship, an annual Maritain Lecture, on-campus reading groups, and events in collaboration with units around campus.
  3. Finally, the Center is proud to support researchers through its significant collections of American Catholic and Thomistic materials. These collections include the papers of Jacques Maritain, Yves R. Simon, Germain Grisez, and Charles De Koninck. The Center also maintains the Jacques Maritain Center Library, a collection of over 5,000 volumes and an extensive body of articles of the River Forest School Thomists. This collection specializes in publications by or about Jacques and Raïssa Maritain, as well as primary and secondary works relevant to the study of Thomas Aquinas and Thomistic theology, philosophy, and politics. All our collections are located on the fourth floor of Geddes Hall, and can be accessed upon request to maritain@nd.edu.
Audience seated in blue upholstered chairs, listening to a female presenter at the front of an auditorium.
2024 Maritain Lecture.

The Maritain Center is associated with on campus with Notre Dame's de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture. It is associated nationally with the American Maritain Association and internationally with the Canadian Jacques Maritain Association (l'association canadienne Jacques-Maritain), Instituto Jacques Maritain do Brasil, the Istituto Internazionale Jacques Maritain (Rome), and the Cercle D'Études Jacques et Raïssa Maritain of Toulouse and Kolbsheim.

The Maritain Center operates an active visitor program. External researchers who desire to work with our collections are encouraged to reach out to us for assistance in planning a research stay.