Hildebrand Project’s Truth from the Heart seeks to highlight Christian personalism


The Hildebrand Project’s online synopsis describes an organization dedicated to the preservation of “the thought and witness of Dietrich von Hildebrand.”

Its student-run blog, Truth from the Heart, allows writers the opportunity to share their thoughts with a receptive, religious community.

The print edition of the blog, published once a semester, represents the best online posts of the previous semester. Josh Merlo, editorial team lead for the Hildebrand Project, acknowledged the specific focus that Truth from the Heart writers seek to convey.

Merlo said, “Typically our blog posts try to address contemporary issues of relevance relating to personalism, specifically Christian personalism.”

Personalism, said Merlo, “focuses on the relation of the person to God, how we stand in the presence of God, and then what sort of ethical duties might come from that.”

Also, personalism considers “the person in relation to other persons, and the considerations of dignity there,” he said.

The latest print issue of Truth from the Heart’s blog posts includes a short introduction, composed by Lindsay Russell, the managing editor, before a powerful host of works from various bloggers.

The magazine concludes with a short biography of each author, and an outline of both the Hildebrand Project, and the man upon which the project was founded, Dietrich von Hildebrand.

The employees who comprise The Hildebrand Project are unique because each and every member of the team is also a writer for the organization. The wide variety of hired writers would, for some organizations, represent a challenge, but Merlo sees it as an opportunity.

He said, “We have philosophy majors. We have a couple graduate students. We have some theology majors. We have some people just working in Comm. Arts, so there’s a very wide range of talents that we’re drawing upon.”

Both quantity of readers and standard of presentation were among the points of emphasis for recent improvement efforts on the part of Truth from the Heart, said Merlo.

“A couple of the things we’ve been working on this semester can help us in growth,” he said. “We’re actually sponsoring a conference; it’s the first time we’re doing that.”

The upcoming conference, titled “Voices of Personalism,” is intended for all graduate students, and it will feature an address by John F. Crosby, co-founder of The Hildebrand Project and chair of the master’s philosophy program at Franciscan University.

Merlo voiced his enthusiasm for Crosby’s address, citing the professor’s thorough understanding of Hildebrand’s philosophy.

“(Crosby) is an expert on von Hildebrand and personalism. He studied under Dietrich von Hildebrand himself.”

Ultimately, Truth from the Heart seeks to emulate Hildebrand’s drive for truth and to confer upon all his leadership by example.

Merlo said, “Whenever Hildebrand was presented with something in his life that ran against his philosophy, he wasn’t afraid to say ‘This is wrong.’”