Sister Raffaella Petrini, F.S.E., to deliver Keeley Vatican Lecture

Author: Keith Sayer

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Sister Raffaella Petrini, F.S.E., will deliver the Keeley Vatican Lecture titled “Integral Human Development Through a Leadership of Care” at 5:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday (Nov. 1) at the University of Notre Dame’s McKenna Hall Auditorium.

Sister Petrini is the secretary general of the Vatican City State, appointed by Pope Francis in November 2021 as the first woman to hold this office. The Nanovic Institute for European Studies, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at Notre Dame, will host this lecture and facilitate her visit to campus, which will include class visits and daily Mass.

Inspired by the cultural, social, political and economic transformations of the “social question” over the years in Catholic teaching and history, Sister Petrini will present a set of principles for exercising a style of leadership driven primarily by concern for the well-being of people. At the heart of this model is the commitment to preserving both the socio-relational and spiritual dimensions of human existence. This address will be of interest to leaders within the Church, as well as those who seek to build a leadership of care in their own lives and work.

“We are truly honored to welcome Sister Petrini to Notre Dame. As the second most powerful person in the Vatican and the first woman to hold the office of secretary general, we look forward to her reflections on the future of the Church,” said University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. “As a leader rooted in her faith and with a deep commitment to human flourishing, Sister Petrini has much to teach us.”

“When Sister Petrini accepted our invitation to speak, we were thrilled to welcome her to Notre Dame to share her experiences leading in the Vatican City State,” said Clemens Sedmak, director of the Nanovic Institute and professor of social ethics in the Keough School. “We were even more delighted to learn that her lecture will focus on integral human development, one of the core principles of Catholic social teaching and the central focus of the Keough School. We believe that Sister Petrini’s visit will spark long-lasting, impactful discussions about the ways in which faith, leadership on a global scale and our efforts to be a force for good in the world intersect.”

This public lecture is open to anyone in the Notre Dame community. Members of parishes in surrounding dioceses are also invited to attend. In addition to the in-person event, Sister Petrini’s address will be livestreamed.

October 2, 2018; Archbishop Paul Gallagher gives the 2018 Keeley Vatican Lecture. (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)
October 2, 2018: Archbishop Paul Gallagher gives the 2018 Keeley Vatican Lecture. (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

Established in 2005, the Keeley Vatican Lecture series is made possible by a gracious gift from Notre Dame alumnus Terrence R. Keeley, class of ’81, and intends to deepen the connection between the University of Notre Dame and the Holy See. Previous distinguished guests included:

The Nanovic Institute maintains a database of past lectures, including event briefs and recordings, on its website.

As part of the Keough School of Global Affairs, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies seeks to enrich the intellectual culture of Notre Dame by creating an integrated, interdisciplinary home for students, faculty and visiting scholars to explore the evolving ideas, cultures, traditions, beliefs, moral challenges and institutions that shape Europe. It also facilitates an association of Catholic centers of higher education throughout Central and Eastern Europe known as the Catholic Universities Partnership, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year.

Contact: Tracy DeStazio, associate director of media relations, 574-631-9958 or

Originally published by Keith Sayer at on Oct. 25.