History of the Fr. Ferree Professor of Social Justice

Father ChaminadeMarianist Provincial Fr. William J. Ferree S.M. was recognized as a key spokesperson on the Catholic theory of social justice. In his honor, the Marianist Province of the Society of Mary has pledged $1 million to endow the Ferree Professor in the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community. The Ferree Professor connects Catholic social teaching and the social sciences through the community-building mission of the Fitz Center. Brother Raymond L. Fitz, S.M. is the first Fr. Ferree Professor.


Father FerreeFr. William J. Ferree, S.M. was born in 1905 in Dayton, Ohio. He professed first vows in 1925, graduated from the University of Dayton and pursued graduate studies at the Catholic University in Washington, DC where he received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1942 with his dissertation "On the Act of Social Justice." He was the director of the Marianist Scholasticate at Mt. St. John in 1947, where he was a strong presence in the classroom and beyond.

A basic theme of Fr. Ferree's life work is described as the act of social justice - that we have a moral responsibility to continually reorganize society for the common good. His theory states that society has only recently understood this concept of social responsibility - as opposed to individual responsibility - and, now knowing this, we all have a responsibility to work toward solving the disparities and social injustices that exist in the world.