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“Building mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation among Jews, Catholics, and all people of good will by providing opportunities for interfaith education and dialogue.”

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Professor Mary C. Boys

A prominent Catholic scholar and author, Professor Mary C. Boys has lectured around the world to advance the cause of interfaith relations. In her book, Christians and Jews in Dialogue: Learning in the Presence of the Other, she and Jewish co-author, Professor Sara S. Lee, posed these questions: "How can members of different faith traditions approach each other with openness and respect? How can they confront the painful conflict of their history and overcome theological misconceptions? " Seeking such answers is at the heart of Professor Boys' work.

Dr. Boys is the Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  She also serves as an adjunct faculty member of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University. A member of the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Dr. Boys received master's and doctoral degrees from Columbia University in a joint program with Union Theological Seminary and has done advanced study and research at the Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research in Jerusalem.  She has received honorary degrees from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; and the Catholic Theological Seminary.

Mary Boys is a master educator who has devoted nearly four decades to examining some of the most difficult issues confronting Catholic-Jewish relations. With courage as well as wisdom, and sometimes controversy, she has opened new dimensions of understanding and furthered the sea change begun in 1965 when the Vatican issued the unprecedented historic document, Nostra Aetate (In Our Time ) which calls for mutual respect and understanding between religious communities.

The Eternal Light Award is presented annually to an individual who has made  outstanding contributions to Catholic-Jewish relations. On this, the 47th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Center is proud to honor Professor Mary C. Boys, a champion of interreligious education and dialogue.