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Catholic-Jewish Studies have been a part of Catholic Theological Union since its inception in 1968. Because of Cardinal Bernardin's profound commitment to Catholic-Jewish dialogue, this program with its array of lectures, workshops and courses has been expanded and integrated into the Bernardin Center.

To be considered for this competitive scholarship, prospective Bernardin Scholars should have:

In addition to the requirements of their selected degree program, Bernardin Scholars participate in the following special programs, that enhance their education and ministerial formation. 

The Colloquia

The Bernardin Colloquia consists of monthly seminars and theological reflection conducted by the Bernardin Center director. Cardinal Bernardin’s colleagues and trusted advisors, as well as experts in his Signature Issues, are featured in the seminars. 

The Director: Sheila McLaughlin

Sheila McLaughlin, a graduate of Catholic Theological Union, has served as the Director of the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Center since 2001. Previous to this position, Sheila was the Director of the Office for Divine Worship for the Archdiocese of Chicago, the first lay person to hold that position.

Bernardin Center National Advisory Board

Dr. Ghulam-Haider Aasi
American Islamic College
Chicago, IL

Dr. Javeed Akhter, M.D.
Executive Director
International Strategy and Policy Institute
Oakbrook, IL

Bernardin Graduates have gone on to a variety of ministries, leadership roles, and advanced studies. These former Scholars advance the mission of the Bernardin Center through the positions they take and the lives they lead. Here are a few of their stories:


Joseph Bernardin became Archbishop of Chicago in 1982 and was appointed Cardinal in 1983. A leader whose compassion, sincerity, and humor touched the lives of people of all faiths, Cardinal Bernardin introduced the "consistent ethic of life," a theology which emphasized the link between abortion, poverty, war, euthanasia and other life issues in ethics and policy. As pastor and theologian, Bernardin's ministry opened the door to ecumenical dialogue and initiated the quest for finding "common ground" among American Catholics. The

The funding for the Bernardin Center has the dual mission of providing sufficient annual support for the activities and programs of the Center and building an endowment to sustain the Center for the long-term.

For more information on the Bernardin Center Funding Program, contact:

Anne Marie Tirpak
Director of Development
Ph: 773-317-5417
Fx:  773-324-3414


The Bernardin Scholarship provides graduate theological education to those inspired by and drawn to the vision of Cardinal Bernardin. The full tuition scholarships are available to top students from around the world who are committed to preparing for ministry and leadership in service to the church and the world. Students must be accepted in the Masters of Arts in Theology or the Ecumenical Doctor of Ministry degree programs at Catholic Theological Union (CTU).

Cardinal Bernardin advocated for certain issues of church and society that were of particular concern to him as a pastor and person of faith. The Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry explores these Signature Issues through its strategic vision, public outreach, and educational initiatives. The Bernardin Center sponsors theological research, public lectures and seminars, and topical conferences that help foster understanding of the issues closely associated with Cardinal Bernardin's legacy.

These issues include: