Christian Spirituality Studies Blog

Syllabus: Catholic Classics and Interiority: Christian Meditation and Mysticism, by Chad Thralls

Chad Thralls has created this syllabus for a course he is offering this spring at Seton Hall University. SSCS members can get a copy by emailing the SSCS Blog moderator. Here is the course description:

Though the terms “mystic,” “mystical,” and “mysticism” are used frequently in our culture, it is not clear what people mean when they use them.  Usually, the term refers to something vaguely mysterious, paranormal, or just plain weird.  This course will explore the phenomenon of mysticism in the Christian tradition using first and third-person perspectives; it will explore the topic in...

Syllabus: Theological Reflection in Professional Practice, by Zinia Pritchard

Dr. Zinia Pritchard, Contemplative Practical Theologian and Practice Director, Provincial Spiritual Care at Alberta Health Services, has created a syllabus for a course titled "Theological  Reflection in Professional Practice." SSCS members can request a copy by contacting the SSCS Blog moderator by email. Here are the expected learning outcomes for students taking this masters and doctoral level course:

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

1. Engage several models and methods of Theological Reflection within personal and practice contexts.
2. Explore “theological...

Dissertation: The Dark Night of the Soul: A Sacred Anatomy of Dying, by Zinia Pritchard

Dr. Zinia Pritchard, Contemplative Practical Theologian and Practice Director, Provincial Spiritual Care at Alberta Health Services, drew on the mystical theology of St. John of the Cross in her dissertation to create an assessment model for identifying the kind of suffering that is spiritually transfomative in palliative cases. Here is the dissertation's abstract: 

This practical theology dissertation is grounded in palliative care practice, comprising an introduction, six articles, and implications. The main research question is: What is the spiritual experience of dying? Each article...

Website: Catherine of Siena's Spirituality, by Diana L. Villegas

SSCS member and the Society's International Relations Committee Chairperson Diana Villegas has authored a website contributing to research in the spirituality of Catherine of Siena. Here is her introduction to the site:

This website replaces my plan to write a book that would unlock to spiritual seekers and spiritual guides the depth of wisdom offered by Catherine of Siena. The website is based on peer reviewed articles I have published about Catherine’s spirituality, as well as some new material including my translations of many passages of her letters both in the “Spiritual Wisdom” and...

Book: Testimonials to Experience of the Trinity, by Dale M. Schlitt

The book's author Dale M. Schlitt, OMI offers a selection of testimonials to experiences of the Trinity throughout the history of Christian spirituality. Each of the book's sixteen chapters focus on a different source of testimony beginning with chapters on Jesus and Paul.. The chapters also offer a range of modes of testimony including architecture, memoir, hymn, and interreligious dialogue. Here is an overview of the book's contents:

Testimonials to Experience of the Trinity is a study in spirituality of the Trinity. “Testimonial” refers to an affirming witness to experience of the...

Book: Ecospirituality: An Introduction, by Rachel Wheeler

SSCS member and the Society's Secretary/Treasurer Rachel Wheeler's new book Ecospirituality: An Introduction provides a resource for anyone seeking to understand the Christian spiritual tradition - its historical and contemporary teachings and practices - in the context of today's global ecological crisis. Her approach includes practical wisdom from other religious traditions and emphasizes the importance of experience. Here is the publisher's overview:

Rachel Wheeler covers the background for environmentally oriented spirituality in the Christian tradition, beginning with expressions of...

Book: Desire, Darkness, and Hope - Theology in a Time of Impasse: Engaging the Thought of Constance FitzGerald, OCD, edited by Laurie Cassidy and M. Shawn Copeland, Foreword by Brian McDermott, SJ

Edited by SSCS members Laurie Cassidy and M. Shawn Copeland, this volume includes essays by the contemplative theologian Constance FitzGerald, OCD, along with essays on topics like white supremacy, the climate crisis, and the Carmelite tradition by scholars of spirituality who have been inspired by her writings. Here is the publisher's description of the volume:

For some decades, the work of Carmelite theologian Constance FitzGerald, OCD, has been a well-known secret, not only among students and practitioners of Carmelite spirituality, but also among spiritual directors, spiritual writers...

Article: The Experience of Mystery in a Securlaized Society: An Approach from the Ignatian Tradition, by Rossano Zas Friz de Col

In this article, SSCS member Rossano Zas Friz de Col, S.J., argues for the importance of Igantian spirituality in a society where religious practice and spiritual life have for many Christians become separate realities. Here is his summary of his argument's main points:

First, I will show the implications of what secularization means today by comparing the socio-religious context of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Sigmund Freud. This analysis will help develop the second point, establishing a relationship between these two socioreligious contexts by highlighting the importance of decision...

Book: Teresa of Avila, the Holy Spirit, and the Place of Salvation, by André Brouillette

In Teresa of Avila, the Holy Spirit, and the Place of Salvation, the author André Brouillette SJ explores two themes in Teresa's writings essential to Christian spiritual theology. Here is the publisher's description:

Neither the Spirit nor salvation are easily understood, but they come together in the life and works of Teresa of Avila. Led by the Spirit, she shows both humanity and the church what salvation looks like. The saints testify in their flesh to the mystery of an encounter in history between the gift of God’s own self and a welcoming human will. They may speak clumsily at times...

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