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Benedictine Spirituality:

Transforming Philanthropy in Southern California

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Our conference, Benedictine Spirituality: Transforming Philanthropy in Southern California , was held at Saint Andrew's Abbey on June 14, 2016. We approached this theme with a shared belief best expressed by the American philanthropist and hotelier, Conrad Hilton: “Charity is the great channel through which the mercy of God is passed on to mankind. It is the virtue that unites men and inspires their noblest efforts.”

Our keynote speaker was Fr. Luke Dysinger, O.S.B., an internationally renowned scholar and teacher who specializes in Benedictine spirituality. His wit and wisdom informed and inspired conference attendees about the impact of the Rule of St. Benedict on charity and hospitality over the last 1500 years. Following Fr. Luke’s presentation was a four-person panel comprised of top professionals associated with world of philanthropy. They contributed important insights and vivid stories about the power and beauty of giving.

See below my selections of valuable quotes made during the conference by both Fr. Luke and the following members of our expert panel: Fr. Jim Heft, President of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies and Alton Brooks Professor of Religion, University of Southern California; Carol Hunold , Director of Development for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange; E. Stephen Voss, President and CEO of International Institute of Los Angeles (IILA); and, Sr. Nadine McGuinness, C.S.J., Ph.D., Board Member, St. Joseph Hospital Foundation Board. Please note, too, that Fr. Luke’s presentation can be read by clicking here.

I’m especially grateful to Fr. Luke, Fr. Jim, Carol, Steve, and Sr. Nancy, who contributed their talents and gifts to the success of our conference. Special thanks to those who attended our conference, particularly Michael Schwartz, Senior Vice President of Schwartz Investment Counsel, Inc., which manages, among other investment portfolios, Ave Maria Mutual Funds (Michael flew all the way from Florida). Our Benedictine community deserves special note, too, because they shared key reflections about philanthropic issues. I’d also like to thank all those in the philanthropic community who expressed interest and support for this unique conference.

Abbot Damien Toilolo, O.S.B.





Fr. Luke

“Benedictine spirituality is inspired by the philanthropy of God, by God’s loving kindness, which touches all human hearts (Read Titus 3:4-7)… St. Benedict stressed ‘good zeal’ in prayer and work in order to cultivate love and care of others, especially of the stranger, and to demonstrate genuine respect for others.”





Carol Hunold

“We’re all philanthropists. Giving is transforming. It’s work and prayer together. It’s walking with all who are in need and who are weak.”








Fr. Jim Heft

“Philanthropy is rooted deeply in the mystery of God.”










Steve Voss

“Given an appreciation of Benedictine spirituality, I’ve developed a richer sense of my core motivation to work in social services.”








Sr. Nadine McGuinness

“Philanthropy, for me, is a vocation, a calling from or an endeavor of God. It reaches beyond unexpected borders. It connects the capable with the needy. But aren’t we all both capable and needy?”







Michael Schwartz

“St. Andrew's Abbey is a very peaceful place and I highly recommend going there. Fr. Luke Dysinger's presentation was very informative and very worthwhile."