Sr. Mary Catherine Hilkert honored for ‘incomparable’ contributions to theology by CTSA

Article published in America – The Jesuit Review

The Catholic Theological Society of America honored Mary Catherine Hilkert, O.P., with the John Courtney Murray Award, its highest honor, this past weekend in Baltimore.

Named for the American Jesuit theologian noted for his significant contributions to the Second Vatican Council and his influence on American Catholic theology, the John Courtney Murray Award is given yearly to a scholar for distinguished theological achievement.

In presenting her with the award, outgoing C.T.S.A. president Kristin E. Heyer noted that Sister Hilkert’s contributions to theology remain “incomparable in contemporary Catholic homiletic scholarship, nourished by and shared through decades of lecturing and preaching in Catholic and ecumenical contexts in the United States, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia and South Africa.” Dr. Heyer also praised Sister Hilkert’s dedication to underrepresented groups in theology, her scholarship on Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., and her “research and teaching in fields of fundamental theology, theological anthropology, and feminist theology and spirituality.”

Mary Catherine Hilkert, O.P., the 2024 John Courtney Murray Award recipient (Paul Schutz/CTSA)

A former president of the C.T.S.A. herself, Sister Hilkert is the author of three books: Naming Grace: Speaking with Authority (1997), Catherine of Siena and the Voices of Women Today (2008) and A Time to Keep Silence and a Time to Speak (2023). She also has published three edited volumes and nearly 70 articles and book chapters. After teaching for 11 years at the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, she has taught at the University of Notre Dame for the past two decades. Many of her former doctoral students and colleagues in attendance at the convention joined her on stage after the presentation of the John Courtney Murray Award.

“Cathy Hilkert is an incredibly erudite and generous scholar, the rarest combination among scholars of her caliber,” said Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a professor at Manhattan College in New York City whose doctoral dissertation was directed by Sister Hilkert, in an interview with America. “Her commitment to scholars from underrepresented communities is a legacy the whole academy—and more importantly, the whole church—will benefit from for generations to come.”

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