Thomas Berry and “The Great Work,” 2019

October 30-31, 2019
Georgetown University
Washington D.C., USA

Event website (with schedule, bios, photos, and more)


Raised in North Carolina, Thomas Berry, C.P. (1914-2009), entered the Passionists in 1933. After defending his doctoral thesis at the Catholic University of America in 1948, he journeyed to China; the experiences there profoundly shaped Berry’s life and launched him into the study of Asian religions and cultures. During his years at Fordham University (1966-1981), Fr. Berry founded the Riverdale Center for Religious Research to facilitate reflection on modes of spiritual transformation through experiencing the great mysteries of reality. Particularly concerned about the growing ecological crisis, he wrote The Universe Story with Brian Swimme, later expanded into the Journey of the Universe project. At the age of 80, he returned to North Carolina, continuing to lecture and write as a cultural historian and later a “geologian” until his death in 2009.

Berry pioneered in-depth, study of religions in U.S. Catholic higher education, establishing a history of religions program in the Fordham University Graduate Department of Theology in 1966. He encouraged generations of scholars of Asian traditions, comparative studies, interreligious dialogue, and religious reflection on ecological challenges. While president of the American Teilhard Association, he expanded his vision, writing, and lecturing in the emerging field of religions and ecology, especially writing on the cosmology of religions. This conference celebrated Thomas Berry’s intellectual journey and “The Great Work,” underscoring his contributions to the study of religions and cultures, Teilhardian studies, religions and ecology, and the Earth community’s way into the future.

The October 30 opening session took place in Dahlgren Chapel, the reception and book signing took place on the second floor of Healy Hall, and the October 31 sessions will took place in Copley Formal Lounge.

This event was co-sponsored by Georgetown University's Office of the President, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and Catholic Studies Program with the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University.


Mary Evelyn Tucker (Yale University)
John Grim (Yale University)
Dan Sheridan (St. Joseph University, emeritus)
Steve Dunn, C.P. (Passionist Missionaries)
Brian Brown (Iona College, emeritus)
John Borelli (Georgetown University)
Kusumita Pedersen (St. Francis College, emerita)
Kathleen Duffy, S.S.J. (Chestnut Hill College)
Kathleen Deignan (Iona College)
Leo Lefebure (Georgetown University)
Heather Eaton (St. Paul’s University, Ottawa)
Brian Thomas Swimme (California Institute of Integral Studies)
Catherine Amy Kropp (Yale University)
Dan Scheid (Duquesne University)
Nancy Wright, (Ascension Lutheran Church, Burlington, VT)
John Robert McNeill (Georgetown University)

Header photo: Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim participate in a panel with John Borelli and John McNeill on “The Great Acceleration” and the challenge of “The Great Work”; Courtesy Georgetown University Berkley Center