Labors from the Heart is a collection of personal narratives inspired by the day-to-day work of people who are personally and professionally committed to the special mission of the Catholic university. Various faculty, administrators, and alumni from the University of Notre Dame thoughtfully describe and reflect on their attempts to realize more fully the Catholic identity of the University through their vocations and ministries. Some of the essays are written specifically about the individual Christian ministries - -residence hall ministry, liturgical coordination, marriage preparation and enrichment, and adult Christian formation. Others are about faculty and administrative activities which find a distinctive home in a Catholic university--a law school's legal aid clinic for the poor and marginalized, an alumni association's continuing education program with a special focus on social justice and professional ethics, an innovative program for training a corps of young teachers for underserved Catholic schools. Some are narratives by people who have a professional or personal stake in the vitality of Catholic higher education--an alumna who provides a retrospective of the meaning of her education, a writer who "commits acts of public relations" on behalf of the University.
A native of Phoenix, Father Poorman graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Illinois in 1976. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Notre Dame four years later and was ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1982. He spent the next three years at Notre Dame, serving as rector of Dillon Hall and associate director of Campus Ministry. He earned his Ph.D. in Christian ethics at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, in 1990. Father Poorman joined the Notre Dame Theology faculty in 1990. As associate professor of theology, his teaching and research concern moral theology and its pastoral applications. His undergraduate courses survey contemporary issues in Christian ethics, and his graduate courses are concerned with Christian ethics, Catholic moral teaching and pastoral practice. He directed the Theology Department's Master of Divinity program from 1992-99. Among the subjects on which he has written and lectured are medical ethics, sexuality, Christian ministry, and Catholic higher education. He is the author of Interactional Morality (Georgetown Press) and editor of Labors from the Heart (Notre Dame Press), a collection of essays on mission and ministry at Notre Dame.