About Lane Center

The Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition advances the scholarship and application of the Catholic intellectual and Ignatian traditions in the church and society with an emphasis on social concerns. Drawing upon the rich diversity of the university, the San Francisco Bay Area and the international Society of Jesus, we support research, teaching and action to promote and engage Catholic social thought especially in response to contemporary issues.

Online Resources

Pierless Bridges

The Lane Center’s annual publication, Pierless Bridges, is available on our website. Learn about our work bridging faith and justice; spirituality and action.

Women Engaging Catholic Social Thought

The Lane Center’s multi-year project on Women Engaging the Catholic Social Tradition now has a website and blog. Generously funded by the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities, the Women Engaging CST research project features a diverse group of scholars working for greater awareness of women’s agency in shaping the Catholic social tradition (CST). With an intersectional lens, we seek to transform CST in light of women’s lived experiences and struggles for justice.   

Sponsored Publications & Events

  • Beyond Borders: Reflections on the Resistance & Resilience Among Immigrant Youth and Families

  • Beyond Borders: Book Discussion and Reflections from the Kino Border Initiative (Sep. 2019) featured reflections and research on migration from USF faculty and staff committed to solidarity across borders. We celebrated the Lane Center’s newest volume, Beyond Borders: Reflections on the Resistance and Resilience Among Immigrant Youth & Families, which captures testimonies, best practices, and methods on how to respond to the realities of global migration. We also heard from a recent delegation of nine USF faculty and staff who visited the US/Mexico border through the Kino Border Initiative. Watch the recording.
  • Sanctuary as Love of Neighbor Event | 2017 

Resources and Partnerships 

Sponsored Publications & Events

Roundtable on Economic Justice and the Economy | May 2019

The International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU) has identified six priorities for discernment, collaboration, and action. Among them is the promotion of environmental and economic justice as interconnected ethical challenges. The Lane Center held a roundtable discussion on May 1, 2019 that brought together scholars of different disciplines, along with community leaders working for justice, to take up these challenges. To view recordings of the scholars’ presentations, visit facebook.

Global Catholic Climate Movement | sept. 2018

On September 14, 2018, Lane Center partnered with the Global Catholic Climate Movement to organize an event called Living Laudato Si' Through Climate Action. Learn more about the event from the Ignatian Solidary Network article

Resources and Partnerships 

Sponsored Publications & Events

Catholic Identity in Context: Vision and Formation for the Common Good

3rd Annual Women Shaping the Catholic Social Tradition Speaking Series | Nov. 2019

Kerry Robinson, global ambassador for the Leadership Roundtable, is passionate about fostering gender equity in the Church and reimagining structures to promote inclusive participation and transparent leadership. Kerry spoke on the topic of Women and the Church. Watch the recording.

2nd Annual Women Shaping the Catholic Social Tradition Speaking Series | Nov. 2018

This annual event honors the memory of Sr. Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U., Sr. Ita Ford, M.M., Sr. Maura Clarke, M.M., and lay missionary, Jean Donovan – four Catholic women murdered on December 2, 1980 in El Salvador. By exercising an uncompromising commitment to the poor during the Salvadoran civil war, these women embody a radical commitment to faith and social justice. This series commemorates their witness and lifts up the Catholic sisters and lay women who continue to shape the Catholic social tradition. Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, was the keynote speaker for this event on November 29, 2018. Watch the recording:

Black Lives do Matter |  Nov. 2019

Does the notion of #BlackLivesMatter have any theological relevance for the Church today? If so, why does it seem like Church leaders are so silent about what catalyzed this movement in the first place? In honor of Black Catholic History Month, Dr. Shawnee Daniels-Sykes addressed these questions. Watch the recording.

Resources and Partnerships 

Women and the Catholic Social Tradition: A Dialogue on Social Justice, Women, and Catholicism

As part of a three-year initiative and book project on women and Catholic social thought, the Lane Center has created this blog to highlight a cross-generational dialogue on gender, faith and justice.

Catholic Social Thought and COVID-19

From the Director: 

The impact of the coronavirus is forcing us to face our shared human vulnerabilities and to appreciate our interdependence.  United in our fear of sickness and death, we also begin to recognize how the virus has exposed those vulnerabilities engendered by oppressive inequality.  People living in tents, whether in our cities or at our borders, cannot protect themselves. People living paycheck to paycheck are struggling to meet their most basic needs.

The tradition of Catholic Social Thought (CST), built upon the conviction that we are interconnected, offers us a critical lens to see the ethical imperatives of this moment and to guide our actions for justice.  Like many approaches to justice, CST upholds the intrinsic dignity of each person and the rights that flow from this fact.  In this tradition, rights are conceived not only as individual liberties to be protected but as the social conditions that allow people to flourish, including rights like housing, living wages, and healthcare.  CST also promotes the preferential option for those made poor or vulnerable by social structures.  This teaching, rooted in a faith narrative and praxis of liberation, is prophetic and practical as we discern a path forward in this crisis.  

Much has been written about the pandemic in light of CST.  We at the Lane Center want to highlight these for you.  We hope these resources on the common good, solidarity, and option for the poor, will animate transformative conversations in classrooms and beyond.  We also invite you to reach out to our Lane Center staff for more extensive guidance and resources.

Here are some of the diverse ways people and communities are manifesting the core principles of Catholic social thought in response to the pandemic:

Embodying the common good

Empowering people at the margins 

Fifth and Mission Podcast of the San Francisco Chronicle, "Coronavirus Danger in the Tenderloin," April 16, 2020. 

In this interview with the SF Chronicle, Jose Ramirez, Executive Director of the St. Anthony Foundation, shares his ongoing commitment to serve Tenderloin residents while we shelter in place. Organizations including St. Anthony Foundation, Glide, and Episcopal Community Services are providing essential services for San Francisco’s most vulnerable neighbors while advocating for their rights.  

Exercising solidarity 

Kino Border Initiative, "The Effects of the Coronavirus at the Border," April 14, 2020. 

The Kino Border Initiative calls for greater solidarity with migrants and asylum-seekers during the pandemic, highlighting the effects of the coronavirus at the border. “As this pandemic has made profoundly clear, we are deeply connected to one another. If we neglect migrants and asylum-seekers from our scope of care, they will suffer—and that is an injustice.”

Elevating the rights of workers

  • In his Easter letter to Popular Movements, Pope Francis acknowledges the struggles of workers during the pandemic, denounces extreme inequality, and suggests “this may be the time to consider a universal basic wage.”
  • In this opinion piece, Gene Sperling highlights how the coronavirus has made us aware of our dependency on essential workers--healthcare professionals, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, and caregivers. This realization that "all labor has dignity" is a call to foster an economy that honors the rights of workers. 

Creating community witnesses

Coronavirus Lost and Found is a new public archival project where anyone can log the things they've lost, or found, because of this pandemic.  

Coronavirus is measured on the planetary scale, but felt at the human one. The losses that make the news are massive: thousands of lives, trillions of dollars. The losses that make this pandemic real to us are much smaller than that: one job eliminated, one celebration canceled, one sunny spring afternoon spent indoors, one irreplaceable person. Unexpected pleasures coexist with all this sadness, though they don’t diminish it.  We find surprising things while we’re compelled to stay at home or maintain our distance.  We figure stuff out, stay in touch, get creative, keep kids entertained, appreciate our partners in new ways, daydream about all we'll do on the other side of this.  Coronavirus Lost and Found is an archive of individual losses and those feats of care and ingenuity that make life in a pandemic a little more tolerable.

See what others have lost or found, and share your story at pandemicarchive.com.  And please forward this on to colleagues, students, and friends who might be interested in reading or contributing.  

  • The Washington Post has dropped part of its paywall and is inviting readers to share acts of kindness.
  • Gregory Hillis, professor of theology at Bellarmine University, offers in this article for America magazine, a perspective on the pandemic derived from the Cistercian monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where Thomas Merton spent most of his life as a monk. 
  • The podcast “The Slowdown,” sponsored by The Poetry Foundation, has assembled a playlist of poetry featured on the program that points us towards hope, kindness, and other virtues associated with the practice of CST.