Marquette University to hold annual Wade Lecture April 10

April 2, 2024

Rev. Peter Nguyen, S.J.MILWAUKEE — Rev. Peter Nguyen, S.J., 2024 holder of the Rev. Francis Wade Chair at Marquette University, will deliver “Sharing Our Dying and Deaths: Edith Stein’s Theology of Community” for the annual Wade Public Lecture on Wednesday, April 10, at 4:30 p.m. at Raynor Library, 1355 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The lecture is hosted by the Office of the Provost. No registration is required. A reception will be held immediately following the lecture.

After scoffing at Crito’s advice to pay a bribe and thereby escape death, Socrates asserts, “True philosophers make dying their profession.” Preparation for death, for Socrates, involves perfecting the soul in its true knowledge of the eternal. Edith Stein, philosopher, feminist, and Carmelite, had a chance to escape death during the Nazi regime. In 1933, Stein was removed from her teaching position in Münster by the Nazis because of her Jewish background. Afterward, she declined an invitation to teach in South America and instead joined the Cologne Carmelites. When the Nazis occupied Holland in 1942, she refused to flee to Switzerland and leave her biological sister behind. “Why should I be spared?” Edith exclaims, “Is it not right that I should gain no advantage from my Baptism? If I cannot share the lot of my brothers and sisters, my life is, in a sense, destroyed.”

This presentation presents Stein’s death as a form of Socratic martyrdom, unfolding within the backdrop of a totalitarian society marching toward its demise and death. It highlights her opposition to Martin Heidegger’s view that one’s death is a uniqueness that others cannot experience. In Stein’s view, preparing for death means creating a “Gemeinschaftserlebnis” — a living together through a conscious experience as a communal experience of solidarity. She believes that one’s unique dying and death can be shared and experienced by others, creating a community that anticipates death in the self-giving love of Christ.

Father Nguyen is an associate professor of theology at Creighton University and the author of “Against the Titans: Theology and the Martyrdom of Alfred Delp,” published by Fortress Academic, and several articles. Rev. Alfred Delp, S.J., a German Jesuit, was martyred by the Nazis at the end of World War II. Father Nguyen’s current research involves bringing Edith Stein’s theological anthropology, especially her notions of the singularity of the human person and interiority, into dialogue with the phenomenon of the mass-man in totalitarian societies. Stein was one of the most controversial and fascinating women to be canonized as a saint. She was a convert to Catholicism, a brilliant philosopher, an educator, a feminist, and a Carmelite nun. Tragically, she was arrested by the Nazis and died in Auschwitz in 1942.

Rev. Francis Wade, S.J., was a longtime member of the Marquette Jesuit community and Department of Philosophy. Arriving at Marquette in 1945, he became and remained a beloved professor and esteemed role model for students, a diligent and student-oriented scholar who supported other faculty while guiding Marquette’s Department of Philosophy to a position of significant stature. Father Wade inspired his students through his teaching and his love of philosophy and was awarded the Père Marquette Award for Teaching Excellence in 1970. He also encouraged students to enter the field of philosophy and higher education, all the while discerning the proper role of a Jesuit in a university.

In 1988, the university received a gift from the Marquette Jesuit community endowing a chair in honor of Father Wade and in recognition of his contribution to the university and Jesuit community.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or