Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister began her talk to the NCR 50th anniversary conference in typical Chittister style: With a quote from French philosopher Albert Camus, a quote from English poet John Dryden and joke about a duck who walks into an Irish pub.
She got the near capacity crowd in Lund Auditorium on Dominican University, just outside Chicago, roaring with laughter with the line “You got any grapes?” but she also roused the audience at the NCR conference with a fiery challenge: to be impudent, to be bold and to be courageous in the pursuit of peace, justice and equality.
“Happy 50th Anniversary to the National Catholic Reporter,” Chittister proclaimed. “For all our sakes, we’re begging you: don’t quit, don’t quit, don’t quit.”
Chittister was one of four speakers at the Oct. 24 event titled New Faces, New Voices, New Ways of Being Church: An Exploration of the American Catholic Church Going Forward.” The other speakers were University of San Diego professor of religious studies Maria Pilar Aquino, Marquette University theologian Fr. Bryan Massingale and NCR columnist Jamie Manson.