By infusing occupations with a sense of calling, professions contribute to the wider civic order… The professions are important because they stand for, and in part actualize, the spirit of vocation.
—William M. Sullivan, Work and Integrity:
The Crisis and Promise of Professionalism in America
Can a profession be a vocation? How do professionals express their faith through their work? How can congregations help people connect professional identity and practice with their relationship with God?
The Seminar on Vocation and Faith in the Professions brings together theologians, ministers, and experts on the professions to explore how a religious calling is related to one’s identity and practice as a professional.
The goal of the Seminar is to develop a renewed theological interpretation of professions and to create resources for graduate professional schools, seminaries and congregations on Christian faith and identity in relation to professional work.
Rev. Cathy H. George
Episcopal priest and author of You Are Already Praying: Stories of God at Work (Morehouse Publishing, 2013)
Read an interview with Cathy about her book and ministry on work and calling.
Director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, University of Denver
Co-Author of Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (Jossey-Bass, 2007)
Bernhard M. Christensen Chair in Religion and Vocation, Augsburg College
Author of A World According to God: Practices for Putting Faith at the Center of Your Life (Jossey-Bass, 2004)
Kathleen A. Cahalan
Project Director, Collegeville Institute Seminars
Professor of Theology, Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary
Laura Kelly Fanucci
Research Associate, Collegeville Institute
What We Are Studying
Since 2010, the Seminar on Vocation and Faith in the Professions has been meeting twice yearly to explore the intersections of vocation and profession. The Seminar is currently working on a book about professional identity and vocation for students in professional schools.
Vocation: How can the concept of vocation provide a moral framework for work in diverse cultural and socioeconomic contexts? How can professional employment be a faithful response to a sense of calling throughout a lifetime of work?
Profession: How does the definition of a professional—who professes a body of knowledge and engages in competent practice with colleagues on behalf of others to serve the common good—connect with vocation? What moral formation can professional schools provide to help professionals sustain a sense of calling throughout their career?
Language: What metaphors—beyond vocation as a “call”—can help translate the meaning of vocation to a wide audience? How can churches remain faithful to the rich theological roots of vocation while also helping to develop a public language that speaks to people more broadly?
Practices: What spiritual practices or religious traditions support professionals at work? How can congregations provide the time, space, and resources that professionals need to deepen their understanding of calling?
Common good: In our individualized culture, how can the concept of vocation build up the common good by promoting the flourishing of others? What values of the professions connect to the religious roots of calling?
Learn more about the connections between vocation and profession in this article.