William C. Sennett Institute for Mercy and Catholic Studies

The Institute for Mercy & Catholic Studies

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  • Includes an innovative effort to enhance Ƶapp University's mission and Catholic identity and collaborates with the Diocese of Erie to provide educational opportunities that can vitalize faith and reason through public scholarship and hospitable dialogue.

    Group posing for a photo for Sennett Institute project outside
  • Includes an innovative effort to enhance Ƶapp University's mission and Catholic identity and collaborates with the Diocese of Erie to provide educational opportunities that can vitalize faith and reason through public scholarship and hospitable dialogue.

    Group photo of Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance CEPA table
  • Includes an innovative effort to enhance Ƶapp University's mission and Catholic identity and collaborates with the Diocese of Erie to provide educational opportunities that can vitalize faith and reason through public scholarship and hospitable dialogue.

    Photo of people working on Sennett Institute project outside
  • Includes an innovative effort to enhance Ƶapp University's mission and Catholic identity and collaborates with the Diocese of Erie to provide educational opportunities that can vitalize faith and reason through public scholarship and hospitable dialogue.

    Speaker on podium
  • Includes an innovative effort to enhance Ƶapp University's mission and Catholic identity and collaborates with the Diocese of Erie to provide educational opportunities that can vitalize faith and reason through public scholarship and hospitable dialogue.

    Members of William C Sennett Institute sitting down at a table for a group lunch
  • Includes an innovative effort to enhance Ƶapp University's mission and Catholic identity and collaborates with the Diocese of Erie to provide educational opportunities that can vitalize faith and reason through public scholarship and hospitable dialogue.

    Elizabeth Pyne and Speaker posing for a photo

To this end, the Institute for Mercy & Catholic Studies Work highlights the breadth and depth of the Catholic intellectual tradition, as well as the five critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas:

  • Caring for the poor, especially women and children
  • Caring for immigrants
  • Caring for the earth/creation
  • Promoting nonviolence
  • Combating racism
Annual Sennett Lectures

    University Affiliation: Saint Mary’s College

    University Affiliation: Boston College

    Organization: Homeboy Industries

    University Affiliation: Loyola Marymount University

    University Affiliation: Ƶapp University

    University Affiliation: Fordham University

    University Affiliation: Boston College

    University Affiliation: Washington Theological Union

    Organization: National Catholic Reporter

    University Affiliation: Fordham University

Institute History

The Institute for Mercy and Catholic Studies owes its birth to the generosity of two Erie Catholics and college trustees: William C. Sennett and Charles A. Dailey, Jr.

Dr. Mary Hembrow Snyder, Professor of Religious Studies, was the first person to serve as Director of the Institute for Mercy and Catholic Studies. A member of the faculty of Ƶapp University from 1986 to 2020, Dr. Snyder has a doctorate in theology from St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, and has authored/edited four books, including Joan Chittister: Essential Writings (2014) and Awakenings (2022), both edited with Mary Lou Kownacki and published by Orbis Books.

The current director is Dr. Elizabeth M. Pyne, who joined the Ƶapp faculty in 2021.