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“Spring is a Coming In”: The Renewal of Catholic Education in Christian Friendship


June 26
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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St. Mary’s Chapel
2260 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105 United States
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(651) 962 5050
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There has been a tremendous renewal of American Catholic education over the past 50 years which offers the promise of exponential growth even relative to the accelerating renewal of the past decade. We should always be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), and the excellent work of so many Catholic educators and leaders gives great hope for coming generations of well-formed, well-educated Catholics. But our hopes also rest in Catholic adults today to become the “intelligent, well-instructed laity” that St. John Henry Newman wanted.  For the first time in 60+ years, we can look forward to a ‘new spring’ Catholic moment when education grounded in biblical anthropology, integrated across Newman’s circles of knowledge, and attuned to the natural development of the human person and the supernatural gift of Christian friendship, will not be fundamentally counter-cultural.



About Dr. Alex Lessard

Lessard studied theology as an undergraduate at the University of St. Thomas (MN) with Don Briel, the founder of the Catholic Studies movement, who introduced him to the writings of St. John Henry Newman and to the breadth and depth of Catholic literature. He took his doctorate in systematic theology at Boston College with Fr. Matt Lamb, who directed his thesis: Conversion & the Art of Reading: Dante vs. Augustine. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Institute for Catholic School Leadership at Saint Paul Seminary | University of St. Thomas, teaching “The History, Philosophy & Mission of the Catholic School.” He will also be teaching Sacred Scripture for Rosary College as it opens in the Fall of 2024.

Dr. Alex Lessard
Dr. Alex Lessard

Having co-founded St. Monica Academy, an independent Catholic school in Pasadena in 2001, he and his wife, Angela, now support the renewal of Catholic Liberal Education and Culture through their nonprofit, Adeodatus. Dr. Lessard is Executive Co-Director of The Cornerstone Forum, founded by Gil Bailie to bring René Girard’s anthropological contribution to human self-understanding into fruitful dialogue with the theological tradition exemplified by Joseph Ratzinger, Henri de Lubac, et al. He is a Senior Fellow of the Albertus Magnus Institute; an inaugural Fellow of the Boethius Institute for the Advancement of Liberal Education; serves on the Wyoming Catholic College Presidential Advisory Council; on the Thomas Aquinas College Board of Regents; on the board of the Cantwell Foundation, a nonprofit supporting Los Angeles Catholic Arts & Culture; on the Executive Advisory Team of the John Paul the Great Institute of Lafayette, Louisiana; as the Theological Advisor to Gaudent Angeli, an apostolate promoting renewed devotion to St. Vibiana, the patroness of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; and is Executive Board Secretary of the Newman Club of Los Angeles, a lay Catholic literary organization founded in 1899 under the inspiration of Bishop George Montgomery – less than a decade after Newman’s death – with an uninterrupted series of monthly meetings over the subsequent 125 years. He is a perpetual member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and a Knight of Columbus at St. Therese Carmelite Church in Alhambra, CA. Dr. Lessard  and his wife Angela have nine children and seven grandchildren. 

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.

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