2023 Vita Institute Provides Intellectual Formation for Pro-Life Leaders

Author: Kenneth Hallenius

Vita2023 Carter Snead
Carter Snead

The de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture welcomed a cohort of 46 leaders working to build a culture of life both nationally and internationally for its annual Vita Institute, June 11–16, 2023.

The Notre Dame Vita Institute is an intensive intellectual formation program at the University of Notre Dame that provides participants the opportunity to study the fundamentals of the life issues with world-renowned scholars across a wide range of disciplines, including social science, biology, philosophy, theology, law, communications, and counseling. The lectures led participants to explore the ways in which various fields intersect in building and supporting a culture of life. 

Vita2023 Rivers Brown
Jacqueline Rivers & Louis Brown

This summer’s program was the first edition since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe v. Wade. “In the wake of Dobbs, we reconfigured the subjects and faculty to focus on what is needed now to best care for women and children, born and unborn, in a post-Roe landscape,” said O. Carter Snead, director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture. “The result was an extraordinary array of lectures and discussion, delivered by world class faculty.”

The 2023 faculty included Maureen Condic (University of Utah), Jacqueline Rivers (Harvard University), Richard Doerflinger (de Nicola Center), Dr. Christina Francis (American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists), Mark Rienzi (Becket Fund for Religious Liberty), Paolo Carozza (Notre Dame Law School), and 20 additional doctors, lawyers, professors, and pro-life luminaries.

Vita Institute attendees came to Notre Dame for a week of fellowship, formation, and prayer from across the United States, in addition to participants from Ireland, Ethiopia, Portugal, Poland, and Canada. Participants included religious sisters, medical professionals, pregnancy center staff, legislators, and many other individuals who are passionate about promoting the cause of life.

Vita2023 Phipott Carozza
Dan Phipott & Paolo Carozza

Professor Snead—who also delivered several presentations through the week, focusing on the legal dimensions of building a pro-life culture—stated that this year’s class was “an amazing cohort of leaders from around the world representing all corners of the culture of life movement, from many different backgrounds and perspectives, but united in their commitment to caring for mothers, babies, families, and communities from conception throughout life’s journey.”

Much of the week focused on how best to support women, children, and their families in the wake of Roe’s demise. Many participants noted this shift in focusing, thanking the presenters for providing “real practical knowledge, insights and recommendations,” as one attendee commented.

The Vita Institute will again be hosted at Notre Dame next summer. Applications for the 2024 Vita Institute will open in late 2023.

Vita2023 Group 1200x
2023 Vita Institute Participants and Faculty (click to enlarge)