Abraham Figueroa ‘24 and Merlot Fogarty ‘24, Tocqueville Fellows and Constitutional Studies minors, were recently accepted into the selective Röpke-Wojtyła Fellowship with the Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business.
The Röpke-Wojtyła Fellowship, which is open to graduating seniors from across the nation, seeks to educate future Catholic leaders in the study of market order and Catholic social thought. The year-long program invites fellows into conversations on trade, commerce, property, economy, labor, history, philosophy, political economy, politics, and sociology. With hundreds of applicants each year, the program admits only 15 students.
Numerous Tocqueville Fellows have been accepted into this competitive fellowship throughout its history. During the 2022-23 academic year, Tocqueville Fellows Blake Perry and Luke Schafer participated in the program, which culminates in a week-long colloquium at the Catholic University of America's Rome campus after fellows have graduated from their respective colleges and universities in May.
“The Röpke-Wojtyła Fellowship has given me the opportunity to study fundamental works in political economy and Catholic Social Teaching with exceptional scholars and conscientious students, all of whom have become close friends,” Perry said of his time in the program. He will be heading to Notre Dame Law School this fall and said, “through the fellowship, I’ve grown intellectually and spiritually, and look forward to taking all that I’ve learned and applying it in law school and my future endeavors.”
The program is run by Dr. Frederic Sautet, who earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Paris and graduated from The Paris Institute of Political Studies. Luke Schafer, who will be attending Harvard Law School this fall, spent some time this summer studying with Dr. Sautet in France after growing closer through the program. He said the fellowship “was the perfect complement to [his] CCCG education.”
“Whereas the CCCG taught me to think about political systems, Ropke Wojtyla - through its readings, colloquia with leading scholars, fellowship with talented students, and broad Catholic ethos - provided the opportunity to think deeply about economic and moral issues. In particular, reading and discussing Michael Novak’s The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism was a fruitful way to discuss issues of politics, economics, and theology,” Schafer said.
The program includes four academic colloquia throughout the year, the first in Washington D.C. in October. Fogarty, who learned about the program from Perry, is excited for the opportunity to travel to participate in the in-person colloquia with students from across the country. She is especially looking forward to “having the opportunity to engage with other Catholic intellectuals in conversations about economic policy, and especially excited to discuss how economic policy and family policy are interlinked.”
Figueroa, who is spending the summer interning for Judge Amul Thapar of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, said he is especially grateful to Center Director Philip Muñoz who recommended him to the program, “I look forward to … engaging with fellow peers who are are also Catholic and understanding different worldviews when it comes to being Catholic and being in business, being Catholic and being in politics … and how you can actually implement Catholicism into different aspects of your life without sacrificing what it means to be Catholic.”