About Saint Mary’s Press Research Group
The Research Group of Saint Mary’s Press is particularly interested in the personal narratives of youth and young adults and their reasons for affiliating and disaffiliating with the Catholic Church specifically, and religion generally. Our research is made available to the public with the hope of contributing to a common exploration across all religious traditions and people of goodwill.
Our mission is to be listeners to the stories and lived experiences of young people. With the rise of religious disaffiliation it is imperative that we listen closely and deeply to the stories of those who disaffiliate from the Catholic Church so that we really understand what dynamics contribute to someone’s decision to leave the church or even their faith.
We consider the stories of young people who leave the church or their faith to be sacred. That’s why we will be relentless stewards of those stories, and we hope to provide a place where more young people can tell their stories.
Those who disaffiliate don’t make their decision in haste, for the most part, nor do they take it lightly. It means something to them. So, we want to help them tell their story and we want to help the church hear those stories. Then we want to be facilitators of open, honest, candid conversation.
The stories are the seedbed for conversation, and the conversation is the seedbed for understanding, compassion, empathy, and insight. Out of this, we can imagine new possibilities for the church’s mission in a secular society. It’s not the same as in a society where religious affiliation is the social norm.