The Sacred and The Sexual


  • The Office of Mission and Ministry
  • Division of Student Affairs
  • LGBTQ Resource Center

As part of our ongoing process of understanding the delicate intersections of faith and sexuality and discerning our response, the Office of Mission and Ministry, the Division of Student Affairs, and the LGBTQ Resource Center present a series of speakers who will help us engage, develop, deepen, and elevate our critical understanding around these issues.

This series of presentations and conversation for and with the Georgetown student body will explore reverencing the affective and the sexual through the lens of faith and spirituality. Using cultural, social and theological analyses, reflections from distinguished guest speakers, and complemented by a cross section of campus faculty, staff and chaplains, this series will probe how faith can affect patterns of dating and relationships; how the gay community can re-imagine its place within Catholicism; how the Christian tradition honors the sacredness and joys of sexuality; and how the Abrahamic traditions view marriage.


Donna Freitas (C’94) is Assistant Professor of Religion at Boston University. Her recent book, Sex and the Soul (Oxford, 2008), is based on a national study about the influence of sexuality and romantic relationships on the spiritual identities of America’s college students.

Much of her writing, teaching, and lecturing centers around struggles of belonging and alienation with regard to faith, particularly among young adults and especially with regard to young women.

She has recently published her first fiction novel, The Possibilities of Sainthood, about a 15 year old girl who aspires to become the first official living saint in Catholic history. A regular contributor to The Washington Post’s online panel “On Faith,” as well as Beliefnet, and Publishers Weekly, Freitas has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Christian Century and School Library Journal, and has appeared as a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Her other books include Becoming a Goddess of Inner Poise: Spirituality for the Bridget Jones in All of Us, and Save the Date: A Spirituality of Dating, Love, Dinner & the Divine.

A graduate of Georgetown College, Freitas received her Ph.D. from Catholic University.

Time: Thursday, November 19, 2009, 6:00pm
Location: McNeir Auditorium (New North)

From Impossibility to Responsibility: Developing New Narratives for Gay Catholic Living

James Alison is a Catholic theologian, priest and author. He has studied, lived and worked in Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and the United States as well as his native England.

He earned his doctorate in theology from the Jesuit Faculty in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He is the author of Knowing Jesus (1992), Raising Abel (1996), The Joy of Being Wrong (1998), Faith Beyond Resentment: Fragments Catholic and Gay (2001, On being liked (2003), Undergoing God (2006). His works have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Dutch and French, and more are in preparation in Russian. Having lived with the Dominican Order between 1981 and 1995, James works as an itinerant preacher, lecturer and retreat giver.

He is currently a Fellow, and the chair of the Education Committee, of Imitatio

Learn more at his website:

Time: Wednesday, January 27, 2010, 6:00pm
Location: Copley Formal


Bill Mattison (CAS ’93) teaches both undergraduates and seminarians about marriage, family, and sexuality. He is also author of Introducing Moral Theology: True Happiness and the Virtues (Brazos, 2008), and often teaches an introduction to Christian ethics fall semester at Georgetown.

Bill was a theology and psychology major at Georgetown and received his Ph.D. at Notre Dame, and currently teaches at the Catholic University of America.

Time: Thursday, February 25, 2010, 6:00pm
Location: McShane, Large


Four couples (Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and interfaith) from Georgetown University will discuss their understanding of marriage from the perspectives of their respective faith traditions. The panelists will share their own experiences, and reflect on the challenges and opportunities of the vocation of marriage in our contemporary world.

The panel will be moderated by Fr. Phil Boroughs, S. J.

Imam Yahya Hendi and Siron Zidan
Imam Hendi is the Muslim Chaplain here at Georgetown, and Siron is the CEO of The Heart of Islam Foundation. They have been married 13 years.

Rachel and Rob Rubin
Rachel (GRD, ’93) is an International Student and Scholar Advisor in the Office of International Programs. Rob is a business development consultant and they have been married 23 years.

Erik Smulson and Jennifer Beard Smulson
Erik (COL ’89) is Georgetown’s Chief of Staff Office in the of the President. Jennifer (FLL ’89) is a Senior Legislative Affairs Officer at the American Psychological Association. They have been married for 18 years.

Michelle Siemietkowski and Michael Gerber
Michelle (CAS’92, GRD ’98) is the Director of the Chaplains in Residence Program in Georgetown’s Office of Campus Ministry and Michael is a Social Worker at Capitol Hospice. They have been married for nine years.

Time: Thursday, April 8, 2010, 6:00pm
Location: McNeir Auditorium