Art Exhibition and Day of Study at the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, Berkeley, USA

Art Exhibition and Day of Study at the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, Berkeley, USA.

On September 25, 2016 the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology in Berkeley hosted an opening reception for its art exhibition “Via Pulchritudinis – Fine Handpress Printing in the Dominican Tradition.” Part of the 800th anniversary jubilee year celebrations at DSPT, the exhibition focuses on the handpress materials and artwork from two Dominican presses. St. Dominic’s Press of Ditchling, Sussex, England, began in 1916 by Hilary Pepler under the inspiration of several important historical figures – G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc – and their work on Distributism. Under the guidance of Fr. Vincent McNabb, O.P. of the English Province, Pepler joined with Eric Gill, Joseph Cribb, and Desmond Chute to form the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic. Later, as lay Dominicans, they produced a variety of types of materials from political satire to tracts on philosophy and theology to mime and puppetry. Examples of all these categories are on display, along with works by the artists employed for the press. The ideas that captured the imagination of these artisans also inspired a Dominican of the Western Province, Br. Antoninus (William Everson). As the Distributist movement caught the attention of Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day, the ideals expressed through the Catholic Worker Movement drew Everson first to the Bay Area and then to the Dominican Order. There he established the Albertus Magnus Press and produced some of the finest handpress materials of the twentieth century. All of the materials from the Ditchling Pess belong to the Santa Fe Institute, a research and teaching library for religion and the arts that is owned by the Western Dominican Province and operated as a resource for students and professors of DSPT and Graduate Theological Union. The exhibition will be open for the entire Fall 2016 semester until the close of the jubilee year. A catalog is available for purchase which includes an essay by Ewan Clayton, one of the last members of the Guild. As part of the jubilee celebration, the Province has struck a commemorative broadside printed by students of Br. Antoninus, entitled, “O Lumen Ecclesiae.” Printed with the font used by Br. Antoninus to create his famous Novum Psalterium Pii XII, of 1955. For more information contact, C. Renz, O.P. at

On October 5, 2016, DSPT hosted a day of study as part of the 800th anniversary jubilee year celebrations entitled, “Imagination and Cooperation in the Care for our Common Home.” The event, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation through the “Science for Seminaries” program at John Carrol University, was designed by Christopher Renz, O.P. to explore the role that science can play in the discussion inspired by Pope Francis in his recent encyclical, Laudato sí. Participants were invited to read the encyclical before the meeting and to bring research questions from their own disciplines of science, philosophy, and theology to the day. The keynote speaker, Agustín Fuentes, Ph.D., anthropologist from Notre Dame University, invited participants to engage recent theories of human evolution with the encyclical, noting that humans are unique social creatures with particular skill for imagination that allow for the creation of unique and evolutionarily advantageous niche environments. His ideas were explored further by DSPT faculty Margarita Vega, Ph.D. and Sr. Marianne Farina, C.S.C., from the philosophical and theological perspectives. The afternoon session brought students and faculty from across the GTU and UC Berkeley into small groups to engage these ideas more thoroughly in light of Laudato sí. The talks will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Listening.

fr Chris Renz, op


(22 October 2016)