The Margaret F. Grace Annual Lecture
“Where Do I Find Hope?”
Guest Grace Lecturer 2012:
Ms. Steinfels and her husband, Peter Steinfels, became the founding co-directors of the Fordham Center on
Religion and Culture in 2004. The Center explores questions that arise when religious faith intersects
with contemporary culture and fosters dialogue on the challenges posed to the culture.
Before joining Fordham, Ms. Steinfels served for 15 years as the editor of Commonweal, an independent biweekly
journal of political, religious and literary opinion edited by Catholic lay people. She also co-directed “American
Catholics in the Public Square,” a three-year Commonweal Foundation project that was funded by the Pew Charitable
Trusts. The project yielded two volumes of essays, American Catholics and Civic Engagement: A Distinctive
Voice, (Sheed and Ward, 2003) and American Catholics and American Culture: Tradition and Resistance, (Sheed and Ward, 2004), both of which she edited.
A distinguished writer, Ms Steinfels is the author of Who’s Minding the Children? The History and Politics of
Day Care in America (Simon and Schuster, 1974). She was the founding editor of the Hastings Center Report,
a leading journal of bioethics, from 1974 to 1980. She also served as executive editor of Christianity and Crisis,
founding editor of Church magazine and editorial director at the National Pastoral Life Center.
Ms. Steinfels has written about a variety of subjects ranging from the politics of Serbia to the politics of the
Saatchi collection. She has published articles on childcare, family issues, bioethics, religion and politics, and foreign
and domestic policy.Her work has appeared in America, Dissent, the Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, The
New Republic, The New York Times, Slate Magazine and the Washington Post Book Review.
As a commentator, she has served on a variety of television and news programs and was one of several lay people
asked to address the U.S. Catholic bishops on the clerical sexual abuse crisis at their June 2002 meeting in Dallas.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Loyola University in Chicago and a master’s degree in history
from NewY ork University. Ms. Steinfels also holds seven honorary degrees from such notable universities as Notre Dame, Loyola and Colgate.
Ms. Steinfels is married to Peter Steinfels, who writes the “Beliefs” column for The New York Times and also
serves as co-director of the center. She was awarded both the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal and the
Marianist Award from the University of Dayton in 2003. They have two children and two grandchildren, all of
whom live in New York City.
Source: Fordham University