Cura Personalis: Carol Abromaitis, Ph.D.
HOW HAS YOUR FAITH—YOUR CATHOLICISM—INFORMED YOUR SCHOLARSHIP?
I don’t think you can live a bifurcated life. I try, insofar as possible, to be an emblem of my faith. I do think that what you are is how you act. For example, I’ve been active in the formation of the Catholic studies program at Loyola. That work is part of the Catholic intellectual tradition that’s central if Loyola is to maintain its integrity. Throughout my profession, I’ve become much more aware of the centrality for great writers of what we call the “sacramental vision”—that vision of life which is both an integrated vision of body and soul and a celebratory vision of the ultimate goodness of creation. So, yes, my faith has very much influenced me and my work.
CAN APPRECIATING LITERATURE MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN HOW PEOPLE LIVE THEIR LIVES?
When you think about it, you only have two eyes, two ears, and 70 years—if you’re lucky—to live, to observe, to meet people. Literature opens up worlds you’ll never travel to, people you’ll never meet, ages you’ve never lived in. If you are a reader, you come to appreciate the incredible, authentic diversity of God’s creation. It makes you at once humble at your own limitedness and happy that you’ve been able to transcend that limitedness. I think that’s what literature does. And it’s fun! It really is fun.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPIEST?
Call it God’s will, sheer luck, serendipity—whatever—I’m happiest that I was able to balance my professional life with my marriage. I’m also happy about the great people I was able to hire in my eight years as department chair. I’m happy about the classes I’ve taught and the wonderful students I’ve had. For all the differences, disappointments, and so on, it has been a remarkably blessed life, a truly blessed life.