|By Scott Turner|
It’s not unusual for alumni to return to campus to take a job at Brown, but it is unusual when that job is chaplain. Yet questions of ethics and spirituality have never been far from the mind of Albert Duggan ’03. A biomedical ethics concentrator as an undergraduate, in 2015 he became Brown’s associate chaplain for the Catholic community. As a member of the Dominican Order, Duggan is officially the Reverend Albert Duggan O.P., with O.P. standing for Order of Preachers. To the Brown and RISD community, however, he’s simply Father Albert.
What kind of informal contact do you have with students?
I meet with students and others as a spiritual counselor, someone to bounce ideas off of. Some students come for confession. There are also evening events, such as dinners and Bible studies, plus collaboration with other campus chaplains.
How did attending Brown influence your religious faith?
Brown helped me become aware of the diversity of paths to truth—the different ideas and opinions—and the challenges that people encounter. I also learned that each person brings something to the table—that everyone is an individual.
How does that knowledge relate to your work today?
I hope to help students of all backgrounds see that there is a unity of faith and reason. I believe that bringing one’s faith into the hunt for truth can enrich that search.
How would you describe the Catholic community at Brown and RISD?
Tremendously vibrant—one of the largest religious communities on campus. For example, about 150 students attend Mass every Sunday.
What’s it like to interact with students?
I find Catholic students very motivated, not just about academics, but also about social justice and about incorporating their faith into outreach to the world.
What about students who are not Catholic?
I see incredible idealism. But students also see tremendous hurt in the world. I want to accompany students as they try to make the world a better place.
Do you have hobbies?
A favorite is woodworking and carpentry, which I find relaxing and meditative.
Anything else that you’d like readers to know?
Some trivia: There are six other Brown graduates in the Dominican order. Among Brown students who become priests, a disproportionate number end up as Dominicans.