Retired seminary professor/pastor to speak at Marietta College on Feb. 20

Mary Luti speaking from a podium

Dr. J. Mary Luti, a retired seminary professor and United Church of Christ pastor, will speak about “The Social Protest of Saint Teresa” at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, February 20th, at Marietta College.

Luti’s presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Alma McDonough Auditorium.

Teresa of Avila was a Catholic nun who founded the order of the Discalced Carmelites in 16th-century Spain. A Christian mystic and spiritual teacher, her writings on prayer are considered devotional classics. She was also, according to her biographer Luti, “a reformer of institutions.”

“During the last 30 years of her life,” Luti said, “despite constant threats from powerful critics, she established more than a dozen communities throughout Spain for women and men seeking a coherent spiritual life. Throughout this period, her writings, plans, and decisions reveal her also as a courageous social critic. Directly and indirectly, she rejected the deadly preoccupation with gender, status, honor, and blood that defined and distorted her world. In a society organized for repression of ‘the other,’ she risked her reputation, and her health, to carry out a project centered on the human Jesus, who by becoming ‘other’ himself, stands against all distinctions of race, class, gender, and wealth.”

Another long-standing concern of Luti’s is interfaith dialogue. She is a founding member of the Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups formed after September 11, 2001, with the mission of providing a replicable platform for understanding, respect and reconciliation among Jewish, Christian and Muslim women.

“The Daughters of Abraham” will be the subject of a conversation with Luti at First Congregational Church (UCC) on Front Street in Marietta at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 19th. This event is sponsored by Mid-Ohio Valley Interfaith and hosted by the members of First Congregational Church.

Luti is a historian and the author of Teresa of Avila’s Way (Liturgical Press, 1991). She earned her doctorate in theology from the Jesuit faculty of Boston College. As an administrator and professor at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts (now Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School), she taught the history of Christian life and thought as well as homiletics and liturgy. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. From 2000-08 she served as senior pastor of the historic First Church in Cambridge, Congregational UCC, the first woman to hold that position in the community’s 382-year history. She was recognized for outstanding teaching by the United Church of Christ at its 2011 General Synod.

Located in Marietta, Ohio, at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers, Marietta College is a four-year liberal arts college. Tracing its roots to the Muskingum Academy back in 1797, the College was officially chartered in 1835. Today Marietta College serves a body of 1,200 full-time students. The College offers more than 50 majors and is consistently ranked as one of the top regional comprehensive colleges by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, as well as one of the nation’s best by Marietta was selected seventh in the nation according to the Brookings Institution's rankings of colleges by their highest value added, regardless of major. Marietta College has also been named a Great College to Work For two consecutive years (2018 and 2019).