College of Fellows
Barbara J. Elliott
Citation at the Induction into the College of Fellows - Fr. Michael Sweeney, OP
Barbara J. Elliott, wife and mother, author, journalist, teacher, activist, friend to refugees and to the poor, faithful daughter of the Church, the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology salutes you.
In his Apostolic Exhortation, Christifideles Laici , Pope John Paul II designated a responsibility that pertains to the whole Church and to each of its members, but most particularly to women. To women, he said, especially belongs "…the task of assuring the moral dimension of culture, the dimension -- namely of a culture worthy of the person -- of an individual yet social life" (Christifideles Laici 51 ). He commended to women "…the activities of institutions which are associated with safeguarding the basic duty to human values in various communities" (Ibid.)
In your office as wife and mother and throughout your public life you have wonderfully lived this exhortation of Pope John Paul. You have consistently sought to integrate your faith and your work on behalf of the least privileged of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
You began your public life as director of the Center for Constructive Alternatives at Hillsdale College, where you edited its journal, Imprimis. You then served President Ronald Reagan in the White House Office of Public Liaison, having been Director of Legislative Information for the Heritage Foundation on Capitol Hill.
Later, as an international television correspondent for PBS in Europe, in 1989 you launched a private initiative on behalf of refugees fleeing communist countries. You documented over 150 interviews with Christians from the Eastern bloc who resisted communism because of their faith, publicizing their story through your book, Behind the Wall: Heroes of the Peaceful Revolution that Shattered Communism .
Having returned to the United States you founded, in 1997, the Center for Renewal in Houston, Texas, a resource center for faith-based organizations working to renew the inner cities of America, a work which you publicized in your book, Street Saints: Renewing America’s Cities . In recognition of your work, you were awarded, in 2001, the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights by the President of the United States, George W. Bush.
You have authored scores of articles on civic renewal, and have served as Senior Fellow with the Hudson Institute, as Associate Fellow for the Sagamore Institute on public policy and you continue to serve as a Philanthropic Advisor with the Legacy Group.
You have witnessed the importance of the lay office in the Church, urging lay men and women to draw upon their faith in order to render our public institutions more human. You have recently begun a new initiative on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, drawing upon the resources of the business community. You have also offered your time as a lecturer for the Catherine of Siena Institute.
We are most grateful that you have consented to collaborate in our work as a Fellow of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology.
Therefore, as an expression of our esteem and gratitude, and in virtue of the authority invested in me by the Board of Trustees of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, I am privileged to bestow upon you, Barbara J. Elliott, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa, and to name you as a Fellow of the School.