Inaugural Maritain Lecture in Review

Author: Christopher Enabnit

Two women in formal attire standing before wooden lectern, with presentation screen behind them announcing
Thérèse Cory, director of the Maritain Center, introduces invited speaker Margarita Mooney Clayton.

The Maritain Center welcomed Prof. Margarita Mooney Clayton, associate professor in the Department of Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and executive director of the Scala Foundation, to offer the Inaugural Maritain Lecture on February 21. Mooney Clayton, an advocate for liberal arts education and cultural renewal through engagement with the arts, spoke on "Jacques Maritain and Creativity in Education" (video below).

In her introduction, Thérèse Cory, director of the Maritain Center, spoke about the role of education in Jacques Maritain's vision of integral Christian humanism and drew special attention to how the Center's founding director, Joseph W. Evans inspired a generation of teachers with Maritain's vision of education. In her lecture Mooney Clayton discussed how the process of artistic creation, when rightly understood, can integrate emotions, imagination, craft, and the practice of virtues, and thus educate the whole human person. Moreover, she characterized artistic creation as a practice to be cultivated within a community, passed on to new generations through education, and cherished by those with who share a history with the resulting works of art. Finally, Mooney Clayton contrasted works of art that emphasize the integrity and dignity of the person with those that disregard or deform these qualities.

Woman stands before lectern with arms raised, addressing seated listeners.
Margarita Mooney Clayton delivers the Inaugural Maritain Lecture in the Eck Visitors Center Auditorium.

The lecture was attended by students, faculty, and staff of the tri-campus community of Notre Dame, Saint Mary's, and Holy Cross College, together with members of the broader South Bend community and a number of visitors who trekked from out of state to be present. Following the lecture, listeners were able to participate in a question-and-answer session with Mooney Clayton, considering the implications of her proposals for contemporary art. Thereafter, the Center hosted a reception in the atrium of the Eck Visitors Center, wherein guests were able to speak with Mooney Clayton and converse at length about the lecture topic.

Two men and four women sit around a round table in conversation.
Attendees of the lecture enjoy conversation during the reception in the atrium of the Eck Visitors Center.
Three young men stand around a high table and speak with a woman.
Margarita Mooney Clayton converses with lecture attendees at the reception.
People stand in line to dish food from a buffet table
Attendees gather for food and conversation at the reception.