Documentary Film and Panel Discussion to Focus on Monastic Interreligious Dialogue Feb. 17


“Strangers No More,” a documentary film about monastic interreligious dialogue, will be shown at Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. in 3M Auditorium in the Owens Science Hall on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas. A panel discussion with Benedictine monastics involved in interreligious dialogue will follow the screening.

The program, sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, is free and open to the public.

Benedictines and other Christian monks and nuns have been involved in interfaith dialogue for many years, particularly since the 1965 publication of the declaration on interfaith relations at the Second Vatican Council. They meet and share life experiences with members of other religious traditions, especially with Buddhist monks and nuns.

“Strangers No More,” produced by Lizette Lemoine and Aubin Hellot of Films du Large in Paris, highlights the work done by the international monastic organization Monastic Interreligious Dialogue for more than 40 years. The film focuses on Christian monks and nuns in dialogue with Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims.

Panelists for this program are Father William Skudlarek, OSB, Father Michael Peterson, OSB, Sister Hélène Mercier, OSB, and the moderator is Susan Stabile of the St. Thomas School of Law.

Skudlarek, a monk of St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, is secretary general of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue and associate editor of Dilatato Corde (Expanded Heart), an international journal rooted in the Christian monastic experience of interreligious dialogue.

Peterson, also a monk of St. John’s Abbey, is chaplain at the College of St. Benedict and the president and chairman of the board of North American Papal Commission for Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.

Mercier, a sister of St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, is director of Initial Formation and of Women in First Monastic Profession at her monastery and the executive director of the North American Papal Commission of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.

Stabile is professor of law and faculty fellow for spiritual life at St. Thomas and the author of Growing in Love and Wisdom: Tibetan Buddhist Sources for Christian Meditation.

The Jay Phillips Center is a joint enterprise of St. Thomas and St. John’s University, Collegeville.