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Professor Gives "Last Lecture"

Dr. Regina Boerio, Chair of the Psychology Department, Shares Insights

Posted: Monday, September 28, 2009

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Dr. Regina Boerio

STEUBENVILLE, OH—"If one lacks trust in human relationships and has never experienced a consistency in healthy connection, the belief in God’s love for us may be impossible to embrace until he can work through some distrust. As Thomas Aquinas tells us, 'Grace builds on nature,'" said Dr. Regina Boerio, professor and chair of the Psychology Department at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Boerio delivered the latest installment of the Fine Arts Society's Last Lecture Series on Friday, September 11, presenting the lecture she would give if it were her last.

Boerio, a 31-year veteran on Franciscan's faculty, shared the fruits of her many years working in the field of psychology.

"I have come to the realization that philosophy and theology provide us with a great deal of truth and insight about what we should strive toward, about goodness and beauty, about ultimate goals in life," said Boerio. "However, psychology provides more of the insight into what prevents us from getting there and what interventions can perhaps empower us to get closer."

Boerio focused on human relationships as a uniquely essential aspect of human growth and development. Drawing upon various examples of human interaction, she held up Mary and her Son Jesus for audience contemplation.

"Within both Mary and Jesus, we are able to recognize qualities of what many theorists define as aspects of maturity or an authentic existence…Mary and Jesus are models of genuine, real people with concern for others."

Boerio went on to warn about the alienating trends in modern society, saying, "If one becomes a pawn to the values of the world, there can be a refusal to orient oneself toward growth and a tendency to view one’s life as disconnected or isolated from the needs of others; the need for belonging may outweigh the need for autonomy.

"As Christians, we realize that we must ultimately call forth in one another to be sons and daughters of God. This type of calling forth should be facilitated when this belief is built into the philosophy of one’s environment such as the environment experienced at this Franciscan University. What a blessing to be able to be here in a university that desires to call forth this excellence."

Describing the relationship between psychological wholeness and holiness, Boerio declared, " As the individual is brought to a more authentic existence, he/she will be able to more effectively and completely reach out to others. This puts the individual in a right relationship with God and others. It also opens people to a culture of peace and freedom as depicted in the well-known peace prayer of St. Francis."

Commenting on the lecture, Fine Arts Society Advisor Dr. Shawn Dougherty said, "I love hearing a professor talk about his or her passion in their 'Last Lecture.' Dr. Boerio, of course, drew from her psychology background and reflected on how important it is that in my interaction with others I make the other person a better person."

Past lectures in the Last Lecture Series have been delivered by Dr. Regis Martin, theology, and Professor Ed Bessler, biology, among others.

Upcoming Fine Arts Society events include a lecture on "The Counter-Cultural Francis" delivered by Franciscan theology professor Dr. Alan Schreck on September 25 commemorating the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Order and a concert on the life of St. Francis performed by the Rose Ensemble on Friday, October 9.

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