Science & Religion 2018

Nourishing the Catholic Imagination of Teachers at the Intersection of Science and Religion


The Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame invites high school teachers to a summer seminar that integrates the disciplines of science and religion in ways that nourish the imagination.

The Science & Religion Seminars equip teachers with approaches that expand the dialogue between the disciplines and challenges the notion that science and religion are in conflict.

Program Highlights:

  • Inspiring talks from leading scientists and theologians
  • Development of lesson plans and teaching materials with curriculum experts
  • Collaboration with seminar faculty on how to develop an elective course in Science & Religion for high school students

Science teachers will learn how theological insights can be used to inform some of the typical topics in biology and physics, while religion teachers will explore how scientific findings can help inform and enhance their appreciation of God's creation.  All participants will discover how to pass that awareness on to the students.  In addition, the participants of Foundations Notre Dame will view a presentation of All Creation Gives Praise in Notre Dames's Digital Visualization Theater, in which theological reflections and astrophysical explanations are blended together in a digital journey through the universe.

Two Locations, Two Levels of Engagement

Level 1: Foundations Seminars 

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN (June 17-22, 2018)

Foundations Notre Dame offers a humanistic approach featuring lectures by scientists and theologians, as well as collaborative discussions and workshops. This seminar will be live streamed for participating schools.

Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, LA (June 24-29, 2018)

Foundations New Orleans offers a more STEM-oriented approach with hands-on scientific experiments and lessons that integrate theological concepts and reflection. Participants will work in a high school laboratory hosted by neighboring St. Mary’s Dominican High School.

Level 2: Capstone Seminar - June 13-16, 2018

Schools that already demonstrate a high level of science and religion integration will be invited to participate in a higher level 2.5-day Capstone Science & Religion Seminar at the University of Notre Dame that focuses on advanced topics in science and theology.

Who Should Attend?

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Teachers from the science and religion disciplines that possess a sincere desire to learn how the disciplines are connected and to share those insights with students in their classes.

Priority will be given to schools that apply with a team of at least three teachers from biology/chemistry, physics, and religion.

Teachers need not be experts in connecting the two ways of knowing, but they must possess the desire to learn how they can be connected and to share some insights gained in the seminar with students in their future classes. 


To submit an application, please click here.

If you have questions or are interested in future seminars, please contact us by phone at (574) 631-1379 or by email. Thank you.


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A More Integrated Way of Teaching

Catholic Tradition holds that there are two "Books of God": the Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture, both of which point to and reveal the invisible God who is both transcendent to and immanent in the world.  

In his recent encyclical letter, Laudato si', Pope Francis encourages the faithful to view the world through the eyes of faith and reason, and to recognize that "science and religion, with their distinctive approaches to understanding reality, can enter into an intense dialogue fruitful for both."  The Catechism tells us that "[t]hough faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason."  St. Paul said "the invisible things of God have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things."  For St. Augustine, "the ores of divine providence are everywhere to be found" in the created world.  St. Bonaventure held that "the presence of God suffuses creation and readily offers itself to those who study it attentively."  Diligent and faithful study enables us to discover those "ores of divine providence."

Despite the complementarity accorded to faith and reason in Catholic Tradition, the modern period has been marked by conflict and misunderstanding that has polarized science and religion.  Moreover, attempts to foster dialogue between them and to seek their integration have been undermined by those, in the name of science and religion alike, who seek to exclude one from the other.  While acknowledging areas of conflict and the need for respecting their own integrity, the seminar will attend to areas where dialogue between religion and science can be fruitful and where integration is possible.

Seminar Goals

Participants will learn how to incorporate material learned in the seminar into their regular classes in biology, physics, or religion.  Moreover, seminar faculty will work closely with teachers who wish to create a new elective course that focuses specifically on the relationship between science and religion.

Seminar Faculty

Foundations Notre Dame:

  • Stephen M. Barr, Professor of Physics, University of Delaware
  • John Cavadini, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
  • Fr. Terrence Ehrman, CSC, Assistant Director for Life Sciences Research and Outreach, Center for Theology, Science & Human Flourishing, University of Notre Dame
  • John O'Callaghan, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame

Foundations New Orleans:

  • Christopher T. Baglow, Ph.D., Professor of Theology, Notre Dame Seminary
  • Stephen M. Barr, Professor of Physics, University of Delaware
  • Tim Burgess, Ph.D., Chair of Science Department, McGill-Toolen Catholic High School
  • Matthew Foss, Char of Science Department, St. Mary's Dominican High School
  • Cory Hayes, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy and Theology, St. Joseph Seminary College
  • Clare Kilbane, Ph.D., Professor of Education, Otterbein University
  • Dan Kuebler, Chair of Biology Department, Franciscan University in Stuebenville
  • Stacy Trasancos, Ph.D., Author and Adjunct Professor, Seton Hall University, Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Kolbe Academy

Schedule & Stipend

Through the generosity of the Templeton Foundation, the Foundations Seminar is free to Catholic high school teachers recommended by their principal.

Over the course of 8 weeks prior to the event, seminar participants will read key texts in religion, philosophy and science and will share their insights in an online forum.A $750 stipend, lodging and meals will be provided for up to three teachers per school. Larger teams are invited to attend at a cost of $500 per each additional teacher. Additional participants may also join online via live streaming at no additional cost.Admitted schools are asked for a deposit for materials of $350 per teacher which is fully refundable upon completion of all seminar requirements.Participants will receive a certificate for up to 100 contact hours of professional development from the University of Notre Dame.


Apply now to Foundations!