“Hi, I’m so-and-so, and I’m a scientist. A Catholic scientist.” That might be how we would imagine an introduction in a support group for people who share a common problem. In this case, the problem would be being a person of faith in a field or profession within the sciences where prayer, belief, and openness to God would typically make you seem like less than you really should be.

Or maybe we would imagine that, at best, the Catholic scientist can defend or give an adequate apology for religion and science being compatible. In other words, “It’s okay. Really. These things can coexist. I promise.”

But what if we’ve gotten all wrong. What if rather than a problem to be eradicated or a dimension to be defended, there is a more profound, integral, and mutually enriching relationship to be heralded and explored in the person who is at once a person of faith and a person of reason: a Catholic and a scientist.

That wider space is where my guest today leads us. She is Sofia Carozza, a Marshall Scholar at the University of Cambridge where she researches the neurobiological pathways through which early adversity affects the developing brain. She was the 2019 valedictorian of the University of Notre Dame, and now, in addition to her graduate work in neuroscience, she blogs at Synapses of the Soul and co-hosts the podcast, The Pilgrim Soul.

Sofia and I will share a two-part conversation, and this is part one.