Rita George-Tvrtković to speak Feb. 23 at the Lin Lecture Great Speaker Series 

Not long after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, Rita George-Tvrtković, Ph.D., was out in her local religious communities in Chicago talking about kinship and brotherhood.  

George-Tvrtković, who is Catholic, worked alongside Muslim partners to speak in both churches and mosques about how the two religions share more in common than people think, and how the United States’ response to the terrorist attacks was not an attack on Islam.  

A headshot of Rita George-Trvrtkovic
Rita George-Tvrtković

The idea of the talks was to promote brotherhood and kindness during a time of uncertainty.  

“I felt like it was a very fruitful time even though everyone was sort of panicked,” George-Tvrtković said. “I felt like it was something I could do to show people that Christians and Muslims get along and we have a history together.” 

As a Professor of Theology at Benedictine University in Illinois, George-Tvrtković specializes in medieval Christian-Muslim-Jewish relations and has authored books on the topic. Her expertise also earned her an appointment to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in October 2020. 

George-Tvrtković is listed as one of two professors in the United States appointed as a consultor in the 25-member panel.  

“I got a letter from the Vatican written in all Latin, which, you know, luckily, I know Latin, but it was still sort of unclear,” she said. “Then a few days later, I was getting all these emails and texts from friends and family saying, ‘Congratulations.’” 

George-Tvrtković is scheduled to speak at St. Mary’s University at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23 as part of The Lin Great Speaker Series. The free public event will be held in University Center, Conference Room A, and is titled “Interfaith Friend, Interfaith Kin: Reflections on Fratelli tutti.” Fratelli tutti is Pope Francis’ 2020 encyclical on fraternity and social friendship. 

“I believe every person has a role to play in increasing unity in our country and decreasing the division. This lecture might help get you thinking about how you might do that at school, in your neighborhood or at your workplace.” 

Rita George-Tvrtković

George-Tvrtković is also scheduled to speak at an event at 9:20 a.m., Feb. 23, on the topic of Mary in Christianity and Islam as part of the University’s annual Conference on Justice and Social Concerns

The evening Lin Great Speaker Series lecture by George-Tvrtković will be the culminating keynote event of the three-day Conference on Justice and Social Concerns, during which the campus community explores social and justice issues affecting society.  

George-Tvrtković said that her Lin Lecture will touch on Pope Francis’ call for kinship among other religious organizations and what that means when applying it to religions other than one’s own. The discussion will also be used to show how interfaith dialogue can be used in other aspects of life.  

“I believe every person has a role to play in increasing unity in our country and decreasing the division,” she said. “This lecture might help get you thinking about how you might do that at school, in your neighborhood or at your workplace.” 

For more information on the Conference on Justice and Social Concerns, including the Lin Great Speaker Series, please visit the conference schedule page

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