Royackers Lecture

The Annual Royackers Lecture honours the memory of Martin Royackers, a Canadian Jesuit, who was murdered in Jamaica in 2001. He was known for being a “strong advocate for human rights,” and was “deeply committed to social justice, and firmly rooted in his relationship with God.” 

Spring 2024 Royackers Lecture:

“Looking for God in Concentration Camps: Responsible Theological Engagement of the Holocaust.” 


In this lecture Prof. Jean-Pierre Fortin will argue for the reframing of the Christian doctrine of grace in light of the reality of radical evil and suffering experienced by the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. In Nazi concentration and extermination camps, inmates suffered the systematic denial of their humanity. The prisoners almost irresistibly suffered the loss of all ability to feel, think and act freely. Principles guiding moral discernment and action in “normal” living conditions could no longer be applied and God’s active presence no longer be felt in the same ways. The event and experience of the Holocaust demand a new theology of grace, because they question both the human and the divine in unprecedented fashion. The light of grace must be found and followed in the night of radical evil, suffering and dehumanization. Holocaust survivors and witnesses can help us, today, find God in the darkness of our lives, receive healing and grow into a more faithful humanity.




Mentored as a student by world renowned St. Mike’s theologian Dr. Margaret O’Gara, Dr. Fortin earned an M.A. and a PhD in theology from St. Michael’s. He also holds a doctorate from Université Laval in Quebec City in the philosophy of science and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Regis College in Toronto.

As well as teaching at Chicago’s Loyola University, Dr. Fortin has also taught at Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec.

Professor Fortin’s most recent book is titled Grace in Auschwitz: A Holocaust Christology, and he is currently working on a book on the spiritual history of grace for Fortress Press. His research focusses on religious concerns and questions of 21st-century Christians.


Click the link to register below.

For assistance in registering, please contact regis.communications@utoronto.ca or call 416-922-5474 x 229.

This event is sponsored by Mundiregina Resources Canada.