About Us

Michael Griffin, Director

Dr. Michael Griffin, Founder
I have taught theology at Holy Cross for 12 years. My areas of focus include moral theology, the history of penance, the ethics of war and peace, and the Catholic social tradition. I also co-edited a book on health care, medicine and social justice, entitled In the Company of the Poor. This is a great time in history to launch the Institute: our world needs young people who are ready to dive into the vocation of being Saints and Scholars. My wife Catherine and I have two young sons, Benedict and Basil, both of whom intend to generate a lot of attention from this summer’s participants!


Dr. Louis Albarran, Professor of Theology and Media Track
I joined the theology department at Holy Cross College five years ago after teaching theology for four years in a Young Catholic Scholars program for a Newman Center. My areas of research and teaching focus on the intersection between faith and popular culture/music/movies, and faith and popular religion (the use of religious statues/medals/art in ordinary settings). I can’t wait to help our summer scholars learn to see how Jesus (the Logos) is hidden in many forms of media – even secular/non-religious media – and to help them learn about the benefits, as well as the unsuspected traps, for using media in evangelization and the new evangelization. When I’m not in the classroom, I can be found in the streets of South Bend playing old time American music with my daughters on guitars, banjos, and violins. I can’t wait for my son to join us!

Maria Surat

Maria Surat, Professor of Theology and Medicine Track
I have been fascinated by the intersections of theology and medicine since I began studying as an undergraduate at Notre Dame. I just earned a Master of Theology from Duke University, where my research focused on Christian engagement with modern biomedicine. I also have a particular interest in the Church’s response to persons, especially soldiers, who experience combat-related trauma, grief, or anguish. My pastoral experience includes time spent in health care and hospice settings, as well as working with the South Bend Catholic Worker community and the Catholic Peace Fellowship. I am eager to accompany our Saints and Scholars in exploring how the Holy Spirit invites each of us to share in Christ’s healing ministry.

André Polaniecki, Professor of Theology and Sport Track
I am the Interim Director of Athletics at Holy Cross College and teach two courses within the Sports Management minor (Contemporary Issues in Sport and Foundations of Sport and Exercise). Before joining Holy Cross, I spent six years teaching and coaching in New Orleans, also earning a Masters of Religious Education from Loyola University. I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of the Cumberlands. In college, at the University of Notre Dame, I was a four-year member of the Irish track and field team and the 2000 and 2001 Spring Opener javelin champion. My husband Andrew and I have five children and are very active in South Bend’s Catholic community.

shawn and stephanie storer ssi

Shawn and Stephanie Storer, Professors of Theology and Sustainability Track
We live with our children on a family homestead with a big name: The Blessed Jägerstätter Farm in the City and Saints Benedict & Scholastica Agronomic Homeschool in South Bend. We met and were married while teaching theology, music, science and mathematics at Red Cloud Indian School, a Jesuit high school on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where we lived for several years. Shawn is director of the Catholic Peace Fellowship, an organization he has been involved with since 2001, and is the ecumenical and interreligious officer for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Stephanie is a catechist in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program at Saint Matthew’s where she also coordinates a community educational garden for the parish and neighborhood. She holds civil and environmental engineering degrees from Villanova and Notre Dame. Together we direct a Co-operative Grocery Store, called Common Goods, and a program at our parish on living the vision of Laudato Si’. We try to live by the words of Peter Maurin, “The future will be different if we make the present different” and look forward to accompanying those whom God is calling to become Saints & Scholars.