Fons Vitae is an initiative of Duke Divinity School that seeks to deepen the Catholic intellectual presence and its cross-disciplinary engagement in the Duke University community and to serve as a Catholic think-tank at the service of all people of goodwill in our region and beyond.
Fons Vitae sponsors programs that promote God as the “fountain of life” and that help learners from diverse fields and backgrounds to grow in wisdom, knowledge, and awareness of authors and modes of thinking formed and handed down by the global Catholic Church. In all its efforts, Fons Vitae seeks to engage with wide-ranging contemporary questions and concerns and to contribute to conversations happening in the Church, the academy, and the wider culture today.
Summer Seminar Series
Coming together at Duke Divinity School for a week of study and learning in the summer, scholars, graduate students, and young professionals from across the country and the globe meet to bring Catholic thought and spirituality to bear on a key question or theme that has wide-reaching and interdisciplinary implications. The Summer Seminar of 2023 was devoted to the relationship between faith, science, bioethics, and ecology.
Word of Life Faculty Gatherings
These gatherings bring faculty together from across disciplines at Duke for the purpose of allowing Catholic perspectives to enter into conversations among diverse fields. Over a meal and with a guiding theme and text, faculty members engage with questions and topics to which the Catholic intellectual tradition can both speak and be engaged with in a challenging and rigorous manner.
The primary goal is to provide a forum that pushes back on the increasingly fragmented landscape of academia today, which often prizes specialization over dialogue and skepticism over trust, all of which comes at the expense of the wisdom that can be sourced in all disciplines and brought into conversation with Catholic thinking.
Fons Vitae invites scholars and experts to Duke to lecture and host workshops on diverse subjects. These events are not so much coordinated by theme as they are by their desire to address issues of immediate importance to learners in our community and to respond to challenges facing the world today.
Fons Vitae’s earliest activities consisted of coming together for Midday Prayer, a meal, and encouraging conversation. These weekly gatherings remain a mainstay of Fons Vitae. They create an important space for fellowship among Catholic students and other friends in the university community who are eager to pray, build community, and walk together in a life of Christian discipleship.