International Symposium: Religious Orders, Public Health and Disease

In the current Covid-19 pandemic context, the symposium will consider how religious orders have played a key role in societies that had to deal with diseases that disrupted their lives or were part of their almost everyday life. Many paths will be explored to promote religious orders’ dynamic historiography by emphasizing a comparative and transnational approach to their history. The scope of the symposium will range from the Black Death to the present day. The symposium will take place through video-conference. 

This symposium is co-sponsored by the Vincentian Studies Institute and is organized by the Department of Catholic Studies, Emanuele Colombo, and the Dennis Holtschneider Chair, Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée.

Click here to register for this event.

Registration ends May 18th.


Thursday, May 20, 2021
8:45-11:45 am, US Central Standard Time (CST)

  • Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée (DePaul University),
    “We can only be saved together” (Pope Francis): What can we learn from Pandemics?
  • Karen Scott (DePaul University),
    “Se la mortalità v’è”: Catherine of Siena’s Advice to Dominican Preachers in Times of Plague
  • Emma Wall (Durham University),
    Disease Management in an International Context: The Venerable English College and the 1656– 57 Plague Epidemic in Rome
  • Mateusz Zimny (Pontifical University John Paul II, Krakow),
    The Order of the Holy Spirit de Saxia and its Hospital in Krakow
  • Emanuele Colombo (DePaul University),
    Mission at the Time of Cholera: Jesuits in Nineteenth-Century Italy

Friday, May 21, 2021
8:45-11:45 am, US Central Standard Time (CST)

  • Kristien Suenens (KADOC-KU Leuven),
    Sisters and the ‘Blue Death’: Female Religious and Cholera-Epidemics in Nineteenth-Century Belgium
  • Anne Jusseaume (Université d’Artois),
    Female Congregations and Nineteenth-Century Cholera in Paris
  • Thomas Rzeznik (Seton Hall University),
    The History of Community Medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital (NYC)
  • Francis Davis (University of Oxford),
    Witches, Wise or Diseased: Aspects of Being ‘Vulnerable’ in Rwanda and Singapore