The Marriage, Family and Dating Conference was originally started in 2005 through the vision and hard work of Nathan Byrd, a 2005 graduate of Saint Louis University, and supportive faculty members in the SLU Department of Theological Studies, including Dr. Dan Finucane, Dr. Julie Hanlon-Rubio, Dr. Geoff Miller, and Dr. Tobias Winright. Due to the success of the event, the conference is now an annual event here at Saint Louis University.
The 2009 conference was held in the Refectory Hall of St. Louis University's DuBourg Hall. The topic for the conference was "Sex, Sexuality, and Love: What is Good Christian Sex?" Dr. Patricia Beattie Jung was the keynote speaker for the 2009 conference. Dr. Jung is a Professor of Christian Ethics and Oubri A. Poppele Professor of Health and Welfare Ministries at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. Her main area of focus is Christian sexual ethics and she has written and contributed to many books on this topic. In 2001, she co-authored Good Sex: Feminist Perspectives from the World's Religions. Students from Lewis University (IL), Creighton University, and the University of St. Mary (KS) attended this conference.
The 2008 conference was held in the Grand Hall of St. Louis University's DuBourg Hall. The topic for the conference was "Singleness: A Vocation and a Lifestyle." Jana Bennett, an Assistant Professor from the University of Dayton was the 2008 keynote speaker. She has published a book titled Water Is Thicker than Blood: An Augustinian Theology of Marriage and Singlehood, which she drew from for her presentation. Students from Loyola Chicago and University of St. Mary (KS) attended this conference.
The 2007 conference was held in the elegant Grand Hall and Pere Marquette Gallery of St. Louis University's historic DuBourg Hall. Within this setting, the specific topic for the conference was "Marriage." Various papers touched on this vocation as it pertained to contraception, same sex marriage and arranged marriages. Dr. William Mattison presented on the topic of, "Why get Married? The Adventure of Promised Permanence." His presentation considered the ramifications of the permanence of the marital commitment. Students from Loras College (IA), Saint Thomas University (FL), and University of St. Mary (KS) attended the conference.
2006Following the first year’s success, the conference weekend continued to grow and featured a Friday evening social as well as an expansion in the number of attendees. Interested students from Saint Louis University and other universities attended the conference. Dr. Florence Bourg of the College of Mt. Saint Joseph and Dr. Jason King of St. Vincent College were the featured speakers for the conference. Dr. Bourg’s talk focused on the formation of virtue and viewing at family as part of the “domestic church.” Dr. King focused on dating, love and spirituality in a modern, Christian context.
2005The inaugural Marriage, Family and Dating Conference was a great success as students engaged one another in conversation about real issues that concern Christianity in modern society. Topics covered ranged from relationships to sex, marriage and the family. Dr. Paulinus Odozor of the University of Notre Dame and Dr. David Cloutier of Mt. Saint Mary’s University graced the conference with their presentations and contributed to the discussions amongst students. Attendees shared meals together, conversed, and presented papers over the course of the weekend. Overall, the first conference was a theologically mind-expanding experience for everyone in attendance.