As Niagara University welcomes its students back to campus this week, one of the institution's foremost scholars is celebrating a pair of milestones.
Dr. Judith A. Merkle, SNDdeN, a professor of religious studies at NU, recently published her fifth book and observed the 50th anniversary of her religious profession.
"Beyond Our Lights and Shadows: Charism and Institution in the Church" is Merkle's 256-page examination of the interplay and inherent tension between charism, the life of the Spirit that endures in the church, and its institutional framework. Published by Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, the book is available at Amazon and many other major book retailers.
On April 23, Merkle celebrated her golden jubilee during a special Mass held at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Buffalo. The Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, served as the main celebrant and homilist. Merkle is a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, a religious congregation that, through education, seeks "to teach people what they need to know for life," especially the poor.
Merkle has been a member of the religious studies faculty at Niagara University since 1995.
"The Niagara University community is pleased to celebrate Dr. Merkle on this special occasion and the humble manner in which she leads and teaches," said Dr. Timothy Ireland, Niagara University's interim provost. "Dr. Merkle continues to be one of the nation's preeminent religious studies academics, and we consider ourselves very fortunate to call her a member of our university community."
Merkle holds a master's degree in educational leadership and administration from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. and Ph.D. in theology from the University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto. She has received several awards for her numerous publications, book reviews and scholarly papers on Catholic teachings and the church, including Mount St. Joseph University's St. Elizabeth Seton Medal at the Mater Dei Chapel last fall.
To learn more about the religious studies program at Niagara University, visit www.niagara.edu/rs.