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Department of Religious Studies

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and his legacy

Bernardin Annual Lecture


Fall 2019 Guest Speaker:


Jean Hoefer Toal

South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice, retired
Richland County Representative,
South Carolina House of Representatives (retired)


"The Social Ministry of
Joseph Cardinal Bernardin"

Thursday, November 7 – 6pm

Location: USC School of Law
Judge Karen Williams Courtroom

map [pdf] >>

Jean Hoefer Toal is a life-long Catholic, active in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Columbia, South Carolina as a lector. In 2016 she was awarded the Order of St. Gregory the Great from Pope Francis, given to recipients in recognition for living out their Catholic faith in service to the Church and the wider community. Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone presenting the awards said, “Our Catholic faith has so influenced the lives of these people that thousands have benefited because of their commitment to live the faith in so many ways.”

Growing up in Columbia during the 1950s and 60s, Jean Hoefer was a youthful witness to the civil rights movement in the state and nation. Observing the state's premier civil rights lawyer Matthew J. Perry Jr. in court encouraged her to attend law school. As a lawyer she excelled in trial and appellate work and won major victories on behalf of Native Americans and women. Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1975, she quickly became one of the most respected members of that body where she served for fourteen years.

Toal was awarded the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Outstanding Contribution to Justice Award in 1995. She has received honorary degrees from the University of South Carolina, Francis Marion University, the Citadel, Columbia College, and the College of Charleston.

Madam Chief Justice  is a collection of essays about Toal which spans her career. Contributors, include two United States Supreme Court Justices, federal and state judges state leaders, historians, legal scholars, leading attorneys, family, and friends, who provide analysis, perspective, and biographical information about the life and career of this dynamic leader and her role in shaping South Carolina.

Lecture is Free and Open to the Public



Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Lectures: in Moral Ethical & Religious Studies

Cardinal Bernardin left a profound legacy of service, social concern, and education. In his work as priest, archbishop of Chicago, author and public servant, he addressed the most profound social and ethical issues of our times.

In honor of this Columbia, South Carolina native, former student of the University and distinguished leader in the Roman Catholic Church, the Department of Religious Studies at USC is working toward establishing the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Chair in Ethical, Moral and Religious Studies.

The Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Lectures were inaugurated in 1999 and are offered annually by the USC department of Religious Studies.

Past lectures include:

  • 2018: Robert J. Schreiter, CPPS, Chicago Professor of Systematic Theology, Vatican Council II Professor of Theology. "The Ministry of Reconciliation and Polarization in the United States Today"  event summary [pdf]
  • 2017: Dr. Kristin Heyer,Professor of Theological Ethics, Boston College, "Immigration Ethics in a New Era: Embracing Cardinal Bernardin's challenge to be both 'prophetic and public' amid the contemporary political climate with respect to migration"   event summary [pdf]

  • 2016: Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, EdD, President of DePaul University, "The Challenge of a ‘Consistent Ethic’ in the 2016 Election Cycle"  event summary [pdf]

  • 2015: Sr. Simmone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, “Bridge the Divides, Transform Politics:  A View From the Bus”   event summary [pdf]

  • 2014: Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB Executive Director of Benetvision, "The Common Good: An Uncommon Search For Common Ground"  event summary [pdf]

  • 2013: Dr. Massimo Faggioli Assistant Professor of History of Modern Christianity University of St. Thomas Department of Theology, "Bernardin's Common Ground Initiative: Can it Survive Current Political Cultures?"   event summary [pdf]

  • 2012: The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, "Joseph Louis Bernardin: A Model for Civility in Public Discourse"  event summary [pdf]

  • 2011: E. J. Dionne, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, and University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University, "Reweaving the Seamless Garment: Cardinal Bernardin's Living Legacy to American Public Life."   event summary [pdf]

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