Meet Dr. Kathleen Duffy, professor of Physics at Chestnut Hill College, who believes in the unity and interconnection between spirit and matter. Part 3/4.
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The Great Cosmic Tapestry Part 3/4 Female: Dr. Kathleen Duffy sees a unity between the inner world of the spirit and heart and the outer world of matter and action. Just as the earth has passed through several stages of development to reach its current state so two has every human soul and for that matter, humanity all together taken steps to achieve its present moral condition. If one accepts that the entire cosmos is interconnected says Duffy, then it follows that he or she has a responsibility to work for the betterment of all existence. Male: On the resume of Professor Kathleen Duffy, one will find a number of initials beside her name, PhD from her doctor in physics and also the letters, SSJ. Kathleen Duffy: SSJ stands for Sisters of Saint Joseph. That’s the congregation that I belong to. It’s a group of women who are based in Philadelphia. There are about 1000 of us in our congregation, but we’re part of the federation of many thousands of sisters at Saint Joseph. Male: Started in 17th century France by a small group of women who wove lace to raise money for the poor, the Sisters of Saint Joseph now manage, sponsor, or facilitate schools, hospitals, and other charitable projects around the world. Kathleen Duffy: I feel that it’s been wonderful to see that that heritage of the sisters who were lace makers in the very beginning, they used to make lace in order to help the poor. They would get money, that way so that they could provide medicines for the poor and some food for the people in the area. So, they’re doing lace making in my tapestry weaving. Male: One of the ways Kathleen and her fellow sisters continue this heritage of service is through Chestnut Hill College. Founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph as a school for women in 1924, the acclaimed liberal arts college has been fully co-ed since 2001. The professed goal of Chestnut Hill College has always been to provide students with a rich environment to grow intellectually, spiritually and socially, something Kathleen Duffy has worked to uphold in her years there as a fulltime professor of physics. Kathleen Duffy: I think that physics is a very interesting subject to study, because it studies things as small as these super strengths that people are looking, trying to find right now. All the way up to the uses of our cosmos. And so the scales are so wonderful. I think the beauty of that cosmos really does tell us something about God. Male: In line with the broad and balanced approach to knowledge welcomed by the college, Duffy has taught several courses on science and religion. One class that professor taught with the help of a theologian, another with an artist. Kathleen Duffy: Ten years ago, my friend, Marty Thompson came to Chestnut Hill College, she’s an artist, and we decided we would try to put together a universe story. She had wonderful art pieces and I had lots of images in our slides. We sat down, and then began to use her artwork and my slides. We found it so successful that we wanted to do something else again and so we decided to teach this course together. And actually, it was a wonderful course because the connection between science and religion I think is most easily done through art. I’m finding that art and poetry are almost an essential language to make the bridge between science and religion. I think it’s probably the most effective way.