Christian Spirituality Studies Blog

Article: The Collapse of Self-Transcendence: COVID-19 and the Reshaping of Meaning-Making in Everyday Life, by David B. Perrin

Some people may have experienced the past year of a restricted homebound life as an opportunity to grow spiritually - more time to meditate, focus on the little details of their lives. For others, this may have been a time of soul-crushing isolation with little to inspire or energize their inner life. In this article, David Perrin offers his thoughts on what the pandemic could mean for our spiritual lives despite the many deprivations we've had to endure. The article's abstract is below. Prof. Perrin will be giving a public lecture based on the article; to attend it online, register on this...

Knowledge and Experience: Spirituality In The Time of COVID-19 by Steven Chase

Spiritus Spring 2021


The essays of the latest issue of Spiritus (Spring 2021; v. 21, n. 1) share a single theme: the relation between spirituality and COIVID-19. The journal's editor, Steven Chase, writes "In the midst of the experience and knowledge found in these essays, may you find peace and mercy even in the confusion, uncertainty, darkness, and suffering of this past year and in preparation for the time to come." His introduction, which offers brief summaries of each essay (including the Society's annual Presidential Address by Timothy Robinson), is available. (The poems in the issue also reflect...

Article: Catherine of Siena’s Spirituality of Political Engagement, by Diana L. Villegas

Catherine of Siena's letters to people in every station in life including popes and other church officials had a profound impact on her times. In her open access article, Diana Villegas argues that Catherine's letters to Gregory XI communicate "a spirituality of papal governance." Here is the article's abstract:

Well known as a mystic, Catherine of Siena has been credited with pope Gregory XI’s return to Rome from Avignon, with convincing him to pursue a crusade and with playing a major role in making peace between the Papal League and Italian City states. This narrative ascribes these...

Article: Mimesis as Common Ground for Spirituality and Spiritual Theology, by David B. Perrin

In this article, Professor David Perrin focuses on Paul Ricoeur's mimetic theory as a resource for research in Christian spirituality and spiritual theology. Here is the article's abstract:

A shorter version of this article was first presented at a conference titled The Study of Christian Spirituality and Spiritual Theology: Evolving Methodologies sponsored by the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality and The Forum of Professors of Spirituality Theology in Rome, Italy, September 25-28, 2019. The essay presents the mimetic framework ...

Book: From Strength to Strength: Seven Timeless Virtues for Christian Discipleship, by Joseph LaBelle, OMI

Fr. Joseph LaBelle's book has deep roots in Christianity's spiritual tradition as it draws on biblical, patristic, and medieval sources. But he also incorporates contemporary religious and secular sources to show how timeless (and contemporary) the seven virtues of discipleship are. Here is an excerpt from the book's introduction:

The book does not pretend to be a theological study of the proposed virtues, nor is it specifically a "how to" manual; rather, it examines the seven qualities through the practical (lived) Christian spirituality along the arc of its long history. The overall...

Article: Portraits of the “Shy Hope”: Engaging Youth Spiritualities in the Australian Context, by Phil Daughtry

Although this article's author Phil Daughtry focuses on the spirituality of youth in Australia, readers may find that his descriptions sound quite similar to the experiences of youth in their own geographic area. Here is the article's abstract:

The Australian spiritual consciousness has been described as “a whisper in the mind, a shy hope in the heart.” This is not a spirituality of explicit religious language or loud evangelicalism but rather a deeply grounded hope, spoken of tentatively and with great care. This description by Gary Bouma alerts...

Review: Religion Around Virginia Woolf, by Stephanie Paulsell

SSCS member Emily Griesinger reviews Paulsell’s book in the Woolf Studies Annualvol. 26, 2020, 158-160. In the review’s opening paragraph, Griesinger writes

Stephanie Paulsell’s Religion Around Virginia Woolf refuses “aggressive agnosticism” as the “only lens” through which we might legitimately read the life and writing of Virginia Woolf. . . . Indeed Paulsell casts a remarkably wide net, drawing together seemingly incongruous materials, everything from the mysticism of Teresa of Avila to the process theology of Alfred North Whitehead, to prove her thesis that, despite her disbelief in...

Essay: Quaker Mysticism and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, by Emily Griesinger

by Jonas

Virginia Woolf in 1902
Virginia Woolf in 1902 


In her essay, Emily Griesinger agrees with those who say Virginia Woolf should not be considered purely a secularist despite her rejection of traditional Christianity. Indeed, in a careful reading of Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, Griesinger argues that there’s evidence of a particular stream of spirituality. Griesinger writes:

While others have studied Woolf and mysticism, few have interpreted her work through the lens of Quaker mysticism with its emphasis on “Divine Radiance” and “Inner Light.” Such an approach is warranted, however, when reading To the Lighthouse, a...

Article: Transforming Christian Spirituality: Hermeneutical Method and Methodology, by Annie Pan Yi Jung

Dr. Pan Yi Jung‘s article argues for the need of bridging the gap between theory and practice, and doing so within the Chinese context. Her discussion includes a proposal for an integrative approach. Here is the article’s opening paragraph:

Teaching students to engage a classical text of spirituality and equipping them to interpret it theologically has been one of my major commitments in theological education. I perceive the demanding need to explore a hermeneutical methodology as one engages with spiritual text, church’s praxis and strategic action within one’s own cultural-political...

Article: The Feminine Spirituality of St. Teresa Of Avila: Ascending to God by Descending in Humility, by Annie Pan Yi Jung

Scholars of writings by past masters in Christian spirituality often find teachings of great relevance for contemporary readers. Such is the case in this article where the author, Annie Pan Yi Jung, explores the importance of Teresa’s writing for feminine spirituality. Here is the article’s opening paragraph:

Female spirituality is a new research area in Chinese seminaries as well as in most Chinese churches. Recently, discussions on female Christian spiritual formation have become the focus in different occasions and international conferences. One of the research methods of feminine...

Subscribe to SSCS blog posts