Meet Dr. Kathleen Duffy, professor of Physics at Chestnut Hill College, who believes in the unity and interconnection between spirit and matter. Part 1/4.
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The Great Cosmic Tapestry Part ¼ Laura Wells: Exactly how and why the universe came about is something people with different beliefs and backgrounds continue to debate. The same is through for the origin of life on earth including the arrival of our own human race. One thing scientist and people of faith the world over seem to agree on is that existence as we know it, with all that stars and planets, atoms and molecules, life forms and ecosystems did have a common beginning. The question then arises, could it also be headed toward a common end? Hello and welcome Matter & Beyond. I’m your host Laura Wells. On today’s program, we meet Dr. Kathleen Duffy, a member of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and a professor of physics at Chestnut Hill College. Please join us now on Matter & Beyond as we explore Dr. Kathleen Duffy’s vision and life’s quest where art and religion, science and service to others come together in appreciation of what she calls the “The Great Cosmic Tapestry.” Male: Like many great journeys, Professor Duffy begins in the home. During her childhood, she and her family form a vibrant tapestry of personalities, living, learning and growing together. There is of course Kathleen, the bright and curious daughter. Her mother whose warmth in faith are the heart of their home and last but not the least her charismatic and hardworking father. Dr. Kathleen Duffy: My father was very interested in the way things worked. And he would often talk to me about the way the chemistry of candy. He worked for a candy factory. So, he would tell me about the chemistry of candy and I would be thrilled with these kinds of things. He would tell me how electricity worked. I thought he was a great scientist and yet later, I found that he wasn’t really but I’m just very interested in this works. Male: Duffy has a special bond with her mother, a devout woman who instills in her daughter a love of the spiritual side of life. As a young girl, Kathleen often turns to her mother with important questions. Dr. Kathleen Duffy: All in my life, I remember going to my mother and asking her about Santa Claus. I had suddenly discovered that there just couldn’t possibly be a Santa Clause because there were just two many houses to go to so I felt that this was just impossible for Santa Claus to do. And I asked her about Santa Claus and she said, yes, I was right. Eventhough it would be hard for me as a small child to name that feeling but I probably felt dupes in a way. People were telling me one thing and there was really something else going on. I often think it would have been good for my mother to find another way to tell me the truth without spoiling the mystery. Male: Professor Duffy now looks back on the event with mixed feelings. Despite everyone’s good intentions, she feels that something important, something delicate could have been lost. Dr. Kathleen Duffy: I mean, there is a truth in the Santa Claus myth and so I think it might have been much better if she had done that, but of course I don’t blame her because no one has the words to do that yet but I did think that would be good for people to reflect on things like this because I think children do pick up their sense of belief at a very early age. Male: Family often gives us our very first taste of the unity of life as well as the truth’s diversity. It shows how with love and mutual respect people with different talents and interests can live and learn together. Growing up, Kathleen Duffy is drawn to both science and religion giving little thought to how they might differ. As she nears adulthood however, she discovers the relationship between the two is more complex and amazing than she had imagined. Dr. Kathleen Duffy: So, I think these two influences, had a great effect on me because I was very interested in the way things work but I was also interested in religion and it was not until later in my life where I began to see that there was some conflict here. And so, I began a journey to try to ex