Francis at 10

A Papacy of Possibilties

Francis at 10

Spring 2023 Conference

St. Ambrose University convened a Spring 2023 conference and celebration to honor 10 years of the papacy of Pope Francis.

This international conference examined this remarkably humble servant of God, whose commitment to openness, visibility, and meeting the faithful across the world has transformed the Vatican and, in many ways, reenergized the Catholic Church and beyond. 

Keynote speakers presented on topics such as the environment, economics, justice, a church on the margins, world religions, evangelization and inclusion. To learn more about Pope Francis' beliefs pertaining to the life and ministry of the Church, we encourage you to review the following three encyclical letters:

The conference and celebration was held on our campus March 16 - 18, 2023. Please email us with any questions:

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Mar 16-18

St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA

A Papacy of Possibilties

Pope Francis Back Shot

Keynote Speakers

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin

Cardinal Tobin HeadshotCardinal Joseph W. Tobin is the son of the late Joseph W. Tobin and Marie Terese Kerwin, His Eminence, Joseph William Cardinal Tobin was born on May 3, 1952 in Detroit, MI. He is the oldest of 13 children.

Joseph Tobin attended Holy Redeemer Elementary School in Detroit, and then graduated from St. Joseph’s Prep College, Edgerton, WI in 1970. He continued his education at Holy Redeemer College, Waterford, WI, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1975. From 1977 until 1979, he attended Mount Saint Alphonsus Seminary in Esopus, NY, earning Masters Degrees in Religious Education in 1977 and Divinity in 1979.

In 1973, Joseph Tobin professed vows as a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the Redemptorists. In 1976, he professed perpetual vows with the Community. In 1978, he was ordained to both the diaconate and the priesthood. Between 1979 and 1984, Father Tobin served as associate pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish, Detroit, where he engaged in both pastoral ministry to the Hispanic community and youth ministry. In 1984, he was named pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish. He also served in a number of diocesan assignments within the Archdiocese of Detroit, including: Episcopal Vicar; member of the Presbyteral Council, and; official in the Metropolitan Tribunal.

 From 1990 until 1991, he served as pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Chicago, a parish staffed in that Archdiocese by the Redemptorists.

Within the Redemptorist Community, Father Tobin served as a Provincial Consultor from 1984 until 1990, as General Consultor of the Community in Rome from 1991 until 1997, and as Superior General of the Redemptorists in Rome from 1997 until 2009.

On August 9, 2010, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, named Father Tobin to the Roman Curia post of Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSA), and titular Archbishop of Obba. On October 18, 2012, Pope Benedict appointed him to serve as the Sixth Archbishop of Indianapolis. He was installed as Archbishop of Indianapolis on December 3, 2012. His Holiness, Pope Francis, named him to the College of Cardinals on October 9, 2016. He was created Cardinal on November 19, 2016. On November 7, 2016, His Holiness, Pope Francis named Joseph William Cardinal Tobin to serve as the Sixth Archbishop of Newark.

Besides his responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Newark, Cardinal Tobin has been appointed by Pope Francis as a member of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Synod of Bishops, Congregation for Catholic Education, Pontifical Council for Culture, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Council for the Economy, Supremo Tribunale della Signatura Apostolica, and Congregation for Bishops.

Cardinal Tobin speaks English, Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese, and reads several other languages. He has participated in five Synods of Bishops, and has been a member of the Canon Law Society of America since 1985.

Dr. Anthony Annett

Dr. Anthony Annett HeadshotDr. Anthony Annett is a Senior Advisor at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He works at the intersection of economics, ethics, sustainable development, and Catholic social teaching. He holds a B.A. and M.Litt. from Trinity College Dublin and a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University.

Annett helped coordinate an initiative called Ethics in Action, which met at the Vatican and brought together religious leaders and scholars from the world’s major religions as well as economists, philosophers, business and labor leaders, development experts, and activists to develop an ethical consensus on the need for sustainable development. He was an editor (alongside Jeffrey Sachs, Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Owen Flanagan, William Vendley, and Jesse Thorson) on a new book entitled Ethics in Action for Sustainable Development (Columbia University Press, 2022). The foreword was written by Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Annett also recently published Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy (Georgetown University Press, 2022). In this book, he draws on economics, Catholic social thought, philosophy, climate science, and psychology to show how readers of all faiths and backgrounds can work together to create a more just economy.

Annett has acted as an informal consultant to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and co-authored the remarks delivered by Dr. Carolyn Woo at the launch of the encyclical, Laudato Si'. Annett spent two decades at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC. In this role, he served as a speechwriter to two successive Managing Directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Christine Lagarde.

Annett is currently writing a new principles of economics textbook with Jeffrey Sachs that would incorporate ethics and Catholic social teaching. This book is based on a course he taught at Fordham University.

Dr. Massimo Faggioli

Massimo Faggioli HeadshotDr. Massimo Faggioli, a married lay Roman Catholic, is full professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University (Philadelphia). He worked in the “John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies” in Bologna between 1996 and 2008. He was co-chair of the study group “Vatican II Studies” for the American Academy of Religion between 2012 and 2017. He has a column in La Croix International, and is contributing writer for Commonweal magazine and for the Italian magazine Il Regno. His books and articles have been published in more than ten languages. His most recent publications include the books: A Council for the Global Church. Receiving Vatican II in History (Fortress, 2015); The Rising Laity. Ecclesial Movements since Vatican II (Paulist, 2016); The Liminal Papacy of Pope Francis. Moving Toward Global Catholicity (Orbis Books, 2020) and Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States (Bayard 2021). He co-edited with Catherine Clifford The Oxford Handbook of Vatican II (Oxford University Press, 2022) and he is under contract with Oxford University Press for a book on the history of the Roman Curia. He lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and their two children.

Thomas J. Higgins

Thomas J. Higgins HeadshotThomas J. Higgins is an active investor, social entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was the founding CEO (2003-2008) of Prosetta Biosciences,, a drug discovery company, and is currently chairman of the board. In addition, he is a long-time director and chair of Akonni Biosystems,, a molecular diagnostics company. Prior to that, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of Business for Social Responsibility. BSR is the leading global resource for businesses seeking to improve their performance in areas of corporate social responsibility.

Higgins served in the administration of President Jimmy Carter, beginning as a senior executive at HHS and later as Associate Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. He was then appointed by the President to the White House Senior Staff, where he served as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet. Early in his public career, he was elected to the Iowa General Assembly at the age of 27, where he served three terms and was chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee. In the early 1980s he was the head of the Health and Social Services Department in Portland, Oregon. In 1983, he began his private sector career as founding Publisher and President of The Business Journal in Portland, Oregon.

Subsequently, Higgins became the co-founder and editor-in-chief of HealthWeek, a national newspaper covering health business news. In 1990, Higgins was recruited as a vice president of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maryland. He was subsequently elected a Senior Vice President of the company, with broad responsibilities for its staff and operations.

Higgins began his energy related career at Southern California Edison and Edison International in 1995, serving as a Senior Vice President. Edison is a $15 billion electric utility company. During his career with the company, Higgins served on the management committee and helped to set overall strategy for the company. He co-founded Amber Kinetics, a leading energy storage company with offices in the US and The Philippines, in 2010 and chaired the board for five years. He currently serves as a public member of the California Council on Environmental and Energy Balance (CCEEB).

For over 20 years, he served on the board of SCAN Health Plan, a $2.5B, non-profit Medicare HMO. He also was founding chair of The SCAN Foundation, an independent philanthropy focused on improving senior care support and services in America. Higgins served on the US Committee of Human Rights Watch for 10 years. He is currently a member of the board of Commonweal Magazine, an independent Catholic journal in the US. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Ambrose University, where he graduated cum laude in 1967.

Dr. Austen Ivereigh

Austen Ivereigh HeadshotDr. Austen Ivereigh is a British writer and journalist known for his two biographies of Pope Francis: The Great Reformer. Francis and the making of a radical pope (2014) and Wounded Shepherd. Pope Francis and his struggle to convert the Catholic Church (2019). In 2020 he published a book with Pope Francis, on his vision for the post-Covid world:  Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future. In Conversation with Austen Ivereigh ( Simon & Schuster). 

His 1993 doctoral study at St Antony's College, Oxford, was of the Church in Argentina. He is currently Fellow in Contemporary Church History at the Jesuit-run Campion Hall,  University of Oxford, where he runs a project to help deepen synodality in the Church. He was on the national synthesis team for the synod of England and Wales, and is on the continental synthesis team in Rome, where he also advises the synod secretariat on communications.             

He writes regularly for Commonweal, America magazine and the National Catholic Reporter about Pope Francis, and for The Tablet in the UK. He talks, writes and broadcasts on the vision of the Francis pontificate, and heads a commission examining the pope's call for a universal basic income. His website is and he tweets as @austeni.  

Kerry Alys Robinson

Kerry Alys Robinson HeadshotKerry Alys Robinson is Executive Partner for Global and National Initiatives at Leadership Roundtable and Executive Director of the Opus Prize Foundation.

Kerry has been with Leadership Roundtable since its inception serving first as its founding executive director for eleven years, then as its global ambassador for four years, and now as executive partner for global and national initiatives. Leadership Roundtable is dedicated to promoting excellence and best practices in the management, finances and human resource development of the Catholic Church by harnessing the managerial expertise and financial acumen of senior level lay executives. The Opus Prize Foundation, which Kerry has directed since 2021, is responsible for an annual international million-dollar prize honoring people of faith whose lives are dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering.

Kerry is a trustee of the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities and a member of FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities). She has been an advisor to grant making foundations, charitable nonprofits and family philanthropies since 1990.

Kerry has served as a trustee on the national and international boards of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps; the International Festival of Arts and Ideas; America Media; Education for Parish Service Foundation; the Gregorian University Foundation; the International Business Leadership Advisory Council (an initiative of the Secretariat for the Economy in Rome), the National Catholic AIDS Network; the Institute for Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry at Boston College; the Center of Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA); the Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova University; Busted Halo: Paulist Young Adult Ministries; FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities); and the National Pastoral Life Center. From 1995 to 2010 she served on the national committee for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development. She has served on the advisory boards of Voices of Faith, a global platform in the heart of the Vatican to celebrate the contribution of women to the Church and world; the Initiative of Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University; Catholic Women Preach, an online resource for ordained, religious and lay leaders responsible for excellence in preaching; Center for Faith Justice; the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University; and the Get in Touch Foundation, an international breast health advocacy organization. She is the co-chair of the Faith and Giving Task Force for the Generosity Commission.In addition to the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities, Kerry currently serves on the boards of Albertus Magnus College, Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale University, the Hartford Bishops Foundation, and the International Catholic Migration Commission.

Kerry is a frequent writer and speaker on the subjects of philanthropy, development and faith. She is the prize winning author of Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy and a Spiritual Call to Service and is the founding editor of The Catholic Funding Guide: A Directory of Resources for Catholic Activities first published by FADICA in 1998. Kerry has contributed chapters to five books, including Leadership in A Pope Francis Lexicon, edited by Cindy Wooden and Joshua McElwee. She has been a columnist for Chicago Catholic since 2017 and has a blog on spirituality called Love in Ordinary Time.

Kerry served as the director of development for Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale University and led a successful $75 million dollar fundraising drive to expand and endow the Chapel's intellectual and spiritual ministry and to construct a Catholic student center, designed by Cesar Pelli, on Yale’s campus.

Kerry co-founded ESTEEM, a national Catholic young adult leadership formation program, with Yale Catholic Chaplain, Fr. Bob Beloin, and Leadership Roundtable Founder, Geoff Boisi.

She spent one year living in Dublin, Ireland and two years in London, England working at the Directory of Social Change, an organization dedicated to providing information and training for the nonprofit sector in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Kerry received a B.A. degree from Georgetown University, and an M.A.R. degree from Yale Divinity School, concentrating in ethics. As an undergraduate she studied at Trinity College in Dublin and L’Institute Catholique in Paris.

She is a recipient of seven honorary doctorates from Oblate School of Theology in Texas; Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut; Aquinas Institute of Theology in Missouri; Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire; Misericordia University in Pennsylvania; St Joseph University in Connecticut; and the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University in California. She was honored with the Sapientia et Doctrina Award from the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University; the Hearts of the Community Award from the Apostles of the Sacred Heart; the Madonna Della Strada Award from the Ignatian Volunteer Corps; the Cardinal Bernardin Award from Catholic Common Ground Initiative at Catholic Theological Union; the Loyola Medal from St Ignatius Loyola in New York City; and the Catholic in the Public Square Award from Commonweal. Kerry was named the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving Distinguished Visitor at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and delivered the Bishop Dunn Memorial Lecture at Durham University in the UK and the commencement address at Emory & Henry in Virginia. She was the inaugural speaker for the Magdalene Circle at the Center for Faith Justice and for the Mary Field and Vincent DeP Goubeau Lecture on Women’s Contributions to the Church and World at Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale. In 2015 the Catholic Press Association awarded her book, Imagining Abundance, a first place prize.

She and her husband, Dr. Michael Cappello, Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Yale University, have two children, Christopher and Sophie.

Dr. Phyllis Zagano

Phyllis Zagano HeadshotPhyllis Zagano is an internationally acclaimed Catholic scholar and lecturer on contemporary spirituality and women's issues in the church. Her award-winning books include Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church (First Place, 2001 Catholic Press Association and 2002 College Theology Society), Women & Catholicism: Gender, Communion, and Authority (Second Place, 2012 Catholic Press Association), Women Deacons? Essays with Answers (First Place, 2017 Catholic Press Association), Women: Icons of Christ (Second Place, 2021 Catholic Media Association) and Women Religious, Women Deacons: Questions and Answers (Paulist Press, 2022).

Two new books will appear soon: Elizabeth Visits the Abbey (Clear Faith Publishing, 2022) is a novel for young people about a twelve-year-old girl whose aunt, the abbess of a large abbey in Ireland, tells her about the history of women in the Church; and Just Church (Paulist Press, 2023) reviews Catholic social teaching and modern synods in relation to current and prospective ministry by women.

Her writing is widely translated — her best-selling On Prayer: A Letter for My Godchild is in Indonesian, Spanish and Italian as well as English — and she edited the Liturgical Press' "Spirituality in History" series.

She belonged to the 2016-2018 Papal Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women. Winner of two Fulbright awards, her biographical listings include Marquis Who's Who. Her professional papers are held by the Women in Leadership Archives, Loyola University, Chicago. She holds a research appointment at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.

Dr. Phyllis Zagano will be the keynote speaker for the conference.

Joshua McElwee

Joshua McElwee HeadshotJoshua J. McElwee is the news editor for the National Catholic Reporter, the world's premier independent Catholic news outlet.

Previously the Reporter's Vatican correspondent from 2013-21, McElwee's dispatches from Rome and during papal trips abroad were frequently cited by his peers, and broadly seen as a touchstone for nuanced Vatican and papal coverage.

McElwee has reported from 39 countries around the world and traveled in the press pool abroad with Pope Francis 24 times. He is the co-editor, alongside Cindy Wooden, of A Pope Francis Lexicon, a collection of 54 essays exploring the unique words Pope Francis has used in his ministry.

For Our Guests

Visitor Guide

Please visit the following pages and sections below for information on campus location and parking. Check back for Hotel Accommodations. 

Getting to Campus

Quad Cities Area Information

About the Quad Cities

Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce

Hotel Accommodations

A conference shuttle will be provided between the following hotels and St. Ambrose University on a regular schedule during the conference: The Hotel Black Hawk, The Current Iowa Hotel Davenport, The Double Tree by Hilton Davenport, and the Best Western Plus Steeplegate.

Best Western Plus Steeplegate 100 W. 76th St.., Davenport, IA ~3.9 miles from St. Ambrose University
Phone Number: 563-386-6900 (St. Ambrose University special rate available)

Blackhawk Hotel 200 E 3rd St., Davenport, IA ~5 miles from St. Ambrose University
Phone Number: 855-958-0973

Cambria Hotel 5061 Competition Dr., Bettendorf, IA ~10 miles from St. Ambrose University
Phone Number: 563-345-1660

Hampton Inn 5290 Utica Ridge Rd., Davenport, IA ~3.4 miles from St. Ambrose University
Phone Number: 563-441-0001

Hilton Garden Inn 959 Middle Rd., Bettendorf, IA ~ 3.2 miles from St. Ambrose University
Phone Number: 563-265-2121

Holiday Inn Express 2100 69th Ave., Moline, IL ~6.9 miles from St. Ambrose University
Phone Number: 309-517-6400 (St. Ambrose University special rate available)

Holiday Inn and Suites 4215 Elmore Ave., Davenport, IA ~ 3.4 miles from St. Ambrose University
Phone Number: 563-344-2900 (St. Ambrose University special rate available)

Home2Suites by Hilton 975 Utica Ridge Rd., Bettendorf, IA ~3.4 miles from St. Ambrose University
Phone Number: 563-345-1130

Homewood Suites 4750 Progress Dr., Davenport, IA ~6 miles from St. Ambrose University
Phone Number: 563-344-4750

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