Destined for Greatness CD Series: What Makes Life Truly Human

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From the Destined for Greatness: Your Human Journey CD series, we present “What Makes Life Truly Human” a panel discussion by Dr. Waldstein, Dr. Cowan, and Susan Waldstein.

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Dr. Michael Waldstein, Distinguished Fellow of The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, is the Max Seckler professor of theology. He previously taught at the University of Notre Dame before serving as the founding president of the International Theological Institute in Gaming, Austria, where he also held the position of St. Francis of Assisi Professor of New Testament.

He served as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family (2003-3009) and is a member of the the Board of Trustees of the University of Eichstaett, Germany. He holds a B.A. from Thomas Aquinas College, a Ph.D. from the University of Dallas, an S.S.L. from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, and a Th.D. from Harvard University in New Testament and Christian Origins. His published works include a critical edition of the four Coptic manuscripts (with English translation) of the Secret Book of John, a Gnostic text discovered in the Nag Hammadi codices, and a new translation of John Paul II’s Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body as well as numerous articles on the Gospel of John, Gnosticism, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Paul II and Hans Urs von Balthasar in such journals asNova et Vetera, Communio, Anthropotes, and Journal of Early Christian Studies.


Dr. Louise S. Cowan (1916-2015) was inaugural holder of the Louise Cowan Chair of Literature at the University of Dallas and is a Founding Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. She is formerly Chair of the English Department and Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Dallas. She and her husband Donald Cowan were central and instrumental in the creation and building of both the University of Dallas and the Dallas Institute. In 1983 she conceived of and initiated the Teachers Academy at the Dallas Institute, which in July 2009 conducted its 26th consecutive Summer Institute for Teachers, a program that the National Endowment for the Humanities called a “model for the nation” and for which, among other contributions, she received the Charles Frankel Prize in 1991, now called the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest award for work in the humanities. During her long career, she has received numerous awards for her achievements in teaching and advancing liberal education.

Dr. Cowan received her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and has written widely on the American South and especially Faulkner, the Russian novel, and literary theory, especially in formulating her own theory of the four literary genres, about which she has edited and contributed to three volumes of essays.


Dr. Susan Waldstein was born in Tucson, Arizona, and met her Austrian husband, Michael Waldstein, at Thomas Aquinas College. They married in 1978 and began their adventure, moving around the world while Michael earned degrees and taught and Susan bore and homeschooled their eight children. They had their first child in their three years in Dallas. They had two children in their three years in Rome. They had their fourth child in Cambridge MA, where they began homeschooling. They had their fifth and sixth in South Bend. They spent a year in Germany, returned to South Bend and then moved to Austria for twelve years, where their last two children were born.

Susan earned a masters and licentiate degree in theology at the International Theological Institute, which her husband founded with Cardinal Shönborn in Gaming Austria. In 2008, they moved to Florida where Susan wrote and defended a doctoral dissertation for the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, while homeschooling her youngest three children. She and her husband currently teach theology at Ave Maria University.


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