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Sheffer Fund for Roman Catholic Studies

The Paul Frederick Sheffer Fund for Roman Catholic Studies awards grants to students and faculty for travel and study, provides library materials, funds internships with Roman Catholic agencies of community service, and supports visiting lecturers and block visitors. The Sheffer Fund supports such courses as Religion and Colonialism, Sainthood in Catholic Tradition, Latin American Philosophy and Literature, and Sacramental Imagination.

Paul Sheffer was a Colorado College student who lost his life in an airplane crash in March 1978. The tragedy was compounded by the death of Andrew Reich, a classmate, who was also a passenger in the plane piloted by Paul’s uncle. Mary Wynne Sheffer chose to honor her son’s life with a gift that will continue to benefit future generations of students. Having earlier donated to the college ministry of the Archdiocese of Denver, she established the Paul Sheffer Memorial Endowment in Paul’s memory in 1983, shortly before her own death from cancer.

St. FrancisThe initial endowment has grown to a fund capable of supporting ambitious research projects and library acquisitions. The portion of the fund administered by the Department of Religion supports Religion faculty and students whose projects are related to their work in the Department.  Other student and faculty applicants should apply to the Sheffer Fund Advisory Committee, chaired by the Associate Dean of the Faculty.  Information can be found on the Dean's Office webpage.

Applicants for Sheffer grants need not be members of the Catholic Church to apply, but each project must contribute in some way to our understanding of Roman Catholicism.

Applications for grants should include:

  1. Clear statement of the project, indicating its direct relation to Roman Catholic studies and its relevance to the applicant’s educational program and personal development. The proposal should indicate the applicant’s relevant academic preparation for the proposed project and a bibliography of research material.
  2. Detailed budget, listing all costs and all other sources of funding.
  3. Letter of support for the project from one Colorado College faculty member.
  4. For internship proposals, a letter from the on-site supervisor.
  5. Institutional Review Board approval of interview questions, where relevant.

Proposals from Religion faculty and students should be submitted as email attachments to Prof. Tracy Coleman, Chair in Religion, at TColeman@coloradocollege.edu.

Proposals will be circulated among Religion faculty for review. The proposal may be returned with suggestions for clarification or refinement. The proposal may be resubmitted after revision. Proposals will be judged on the value of the project as a contribution to Roman Catholic studies, the design of the research or internship, the preparation of the applicant, and the quality of writing.

Recent student projects supported by the Paul Sheffer Fund include:

  • Christians, Vikings, and Trolls: A Brief History of Roman Catholicism in Norway
  • Comparing 21st Century Pilgrimages in the Buddhist and Catholic Traditions
  • Veneration of Saints in Italian Villages: Following the Festivals
  • Research at Sacre Coeur Hospital in Beirut on service during the Lebanese Civil War
  • Reinventing the Catholic Faith: Investigating Ecclesial Base Communities in Post-revolution Nicaragua
  • Volunteer work in St. Mary’s Mission Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Photographic Essay on Catholic Community and Ancient Churches in Azerbaijan
  • Volunteer work with No More Deaths Campaign on U.S.-Mexican Border
  • La Saleth Festival in South India: A Study of Hindu-Catholic Syncretism
  • Research on Catherine of Siena in Italy
  • Archives Preservation for Sister of Perpetual Adoration at Mount Saint Francis
  • Ethnobotanical Investigation of Catholic-Bwiti Crossroads: Bantu Ritual Use of Hallucinogens
  • Faculty-Student retreat at Benedictine monastery in North Dakota
  • St. John's Bible Exhibition, with featured speakers and workshops (with Benet Hill Monastery)
  • Roman Catholic Patronage in Baroque Ceiling Paintings (Farnese Gallery in Rome)
  • Catholic Values in the Peacebuilding Process (Sanski Most, Bosnia-Herzegovina)
  • Archival study of Los Hermanos Penitentes in New Mexico and Colorado in the late 1600s
  • Roman Catholic Epistolary Tradition in France and Spain
  • In the Wake of the Water Wars: Catholicism and Socialism in Cochabamba
  • Colorado College Symposium on "Religion and Public Life"