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Year One (2014-15)

A. Introduction to Christian Spirituality
Classes are held from 9:30 - 10:35 a.m.

  1. Human Spirit, Spirituality, Christian Spirituality. Philip St. Romain, D. Min. August 23, 2014.
    We will review definitions, understandings and experiences of these terms and begin to focus on the meaning and practice of Christian spirituality.
  2. Encountering Christ. Philip St. Romain, D. Min. September 20, 2014
    How do we encounter Christ in his personal/historical, ecclesial (Church), sacramental, and cosmic modes of presence to us? We will review ways to do each.
  3. The Holy Spirit and Theosis. Philip St. Romain, D. Min. October 18, 2014.
    Theosis refers to the process by means of which we are enabled to participate in the life of God and so be transformed into a likeness of Christ. In this class, we will review some of the ancient Christian teachings on theosis.
  4. Wounded Human Nature. Philip St. Romain, D. Min. November 15, 2014.
    Sin/non-love has wounded us all, and has catalyzed the development of a false-self system that sabotages our growth in many ways. We will examine some of these ways and the dysfunctional dynamics that perpetuate them.
  5. The Inner Nature of Faith, Philip St. Romain, D. Min. December 6, 2014.
    God takes the initiative and calls us just as we are to a relationship of love. How do we hear this call? How can we respond to it?
  6. People of the Trinity. Philip St. Romain, D. Min. January 3, 2015
    The New Covenant in Christ brings us into the family of the Trinity. We will reflect on what we mean by "Trinity" and how this understanding of God moves us to community.
  7. Gifted by the Spirit. Philip St. Romain, D. Min. January 31, 2015.
    The Holy Spirit has often been called the "unknown Person of the Trinity." Yet without the Spirit, there would be no Church and no Christian life, as it is the gifts of the Spirit that enables us to live the life Christ calls us to.
  8. Ongoing Conversion. Phil St. Romain. February 28, 2015 - Phil
    The journey is one of constantly dying and rising in Christ. In this class we will review the different kinds of conversion we must undergo as the Spirit grows us to be sons and daughters of God.
  9. Spiritual Practice. Philip St. Romain, D. Min. March 28, 2015.
    There is an active aspect to the Christian life which entails spiritual practice. We have reviewed many of these practices in the "Inner Explorations" course, but here we look at them in terms of the operations of our human consciousness, and how, through the practice of spiritual living skills, we come to live a life of love.
  10. Summary: The Five Consents. Philip St. Romain, D. Min. April 25, 2015.
    In conclusion, we will reflect on five ongoing consents we are called to make in order to grow in our life with Christ.

B. Contemporary Issues
Classes are held from 10:55 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

  1. Impetus of the Second Vatican Council. Lisa Bellecci-st.romain. August 23, 2014.
    Vatican II is like an umbrella over present contemporary issues related to spirituality. Of necessity this input is quite Catholic in tone but hopefully one can make associations with one's own faith tradition and all of us can learn from each other.
  2. Encounter with World Religions. Jolene Geier OP. September 20, 2014..
    God works in ways that we may not fully understand through the multiple religions practiced by faithful people around the globe. Expanding our understanding of different religions will help us to respect others the way Jesus did during his life and ministry.
  3. Spirituality for an Ecological Age. Jane Belanger OP. October 18, 2014.
    We will reflect on how earth spirituality can be redeeming. Thomas Berry tells us if there is no spirituality in earth, then there is no spirituality in humans. We are earthlings. Earth is our origin, our nourishment, our support, our guide.
  4. Twelve Steps of Alcoholic Anonymous. Renee Dreiling OP. November 15, 2014.
    The 12 steps of recovery for alcoholics have been proven to be simple and yet effective ways to overcome numerous problems in current society. The program principles provide basic helps in learning to pray, in deepening healthy relationships, in finding serenity during chaotic periods of life. Learning to live these principles brings freedom, happiness and deep peace.
  5. From Patriarchy to Christian Feminism. Jane Belanger OP. December 6, 2014.
    Christian Feminism is a value transformation where freedom and mutuality characterize our personal and social relationships. When one moves from patriarchy to Christian feminism our view of social reality is radically changed. Vatican II affirms “With respect to the fundamental rights of person, every type of discrimination…based on sex…is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent.”
  6. Modern and Post-modern Perspectives. Philip St. Romain, D. Min. January 3, 2015.
    In contrast to the world of medieval times, the Western world today is rationalistic/scientific (Modern perspective) and tolerant of a wide variety of cultures and ways of understanding things (Post-modern perspective). How this influences our understanding of the Christian message will be the focus of this class.
  7. Codependency. Renee Dreiling OP. January 31, 2015.
    The concept of codependency emerged in the 20th C. as an important contribution unto the understanding of dysfunctional dynamics in families and relationships. This class will examine basic characteristics of codependents (including adult children of troubled families) and pathways to recovery from this insidiuous addiction. We will also reflect on how codependent ideas of love and loving sometimes show up in ministry.
  8. Process Spirituality. Fr. Kerry Ninemire. February 28, 2015.
    How do we understand God's role in an ever-changing, evolutionary universe? Process theologians have been grappling with this question for over a century, and this class with briefly review some of the approaches that have been taken.
  9. Toward a Spirituality for Global Justice: A Call to Kinship. Frank Coady. March 28, 2015
    Our Judeo-Christian tradition calls us to be a people who seek justice and reverence our kinship with all members of the community of life on planet earth. We will explore this call in broad terms and also in application to specific justice issues of our time.
  10. Integration of Action/Contemplation. Renee Dreiling OP. April 25, 2015.
    The integration of action and contemplation can be viewed as learning to walk on two feet! Out of the silence of our contemplative prayer comes the Word that has the power to recreate our world.

C. Spiritual formation Group – a time to process what’s been happening in classes; sharing one’s journey; inquiry and feedback.
Group is held from 1:00 - 1:45 p.m. each class day.

D. Tools for Inner Exploration
Classes are held from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

  1. Rhythm for Daily Living. Renee Dreiling OP. August 23, 2014.
    Religious people from every faith have recognized the unfolding story of the universe summoning us to a stance of wonder while still offering a context for the ordinary activities of daily life. As the earth turns toward the sun we engage in creative activity; as the stars come to view we are called to reflect on the vastness of the universe and our place in it. The rhythm of work and prayer is reflected in the liturgical prayer of the Church.
  2. Kataphatic Prayer: Icons, Lectio Divina. Marcia Bercheck and Renee Dreiling OP. September 20, 2014.
    The two prayer styles we will be using today are examples of kataphatic prayer i.e. prayer that is mediated through the senses. Through holy images or icons our spirits are nourished, our eyes are refreshed and our whole bodies become full of light. Icons are windows unto the vast spaciousness of God. Lectio Divina means “divine reading” and describes a way of reading the Scripture in order to let go of our own agenda and to open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. Through its four stages of reading, reflecting, responding, and resting, we allow God's word to penetrate our hearts so that we may grow in an intimate relationship with God.
  3. Contemplative Prayer Methods. Renee Dreiling OP and Marcia Berchek. October 18, 2014.
    We might understand mystical contemplation as a "resting in God's love." This class will present methods of prayer that dispose us to receive this marvelous grace.
  4. Working with the Twelve Steps. Renee Dreiling OP. November 15, 2014.
    We will discover practical ways to apply some of the 12 step principles in our lives.
  5. Journaling Process. Renee Dreiling OP. December 6, 2014
    Journaling assists us in that inner reaching toward meaning in life and toward a larger-than-personal connection that is present in all of us. Writing about where we are in the quest for wisdom, truth, meaning and a personal relationship with God gives us a groundedness as well as an openness to the truth of one's own journey.
  6. Spiritual Direction Soul Companioning. Renee Dreiling OP. January 3, 2015.
    “Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director, the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul”. Thomas Merton. Among other aspects of spiritual direction, we will primarily address what are the actual activities that are common when people come for direction rather than speak theoretically about what should happen.
  7. Detachment and Letting Go. Ann Axman January 31, 2015.
    What would it mean to "let go and let God" in our work, relationships and other aspects of life? What is the balance between "letting things happen" and "making things happen?" How can we care for others while leaving them free? This presentation will reflect on these and related issues, noting that detachment (properly understood) frees us to be more fully and freely disposed to love others just as they are.
  8. What's Your Type? Philip St. Romain, D. Min. February 28, 2015.
    Knowing our personality type can provide a helpful key to understanding why we relate the way we do, and even how our growth has unfolded through the years. We will introduce some of the key themes of the Meyers-Briggs approach to assessing personality types in this class.
  9. Enneagram Basics. Jane Belanger OP. March 28, 2015.
    Enneagram Basics: This afternoon (1:00 - 3:15 pm) presentation will offer a practical and spiritual introduction/overview of the ennegram, an ancient tool which provides insight for personal growth. Study of the ennegram often enables one to learn much about one's strengths and weaknesses.
  10. Dreams and Dreamwork. Philip St. Romain. April 25, 2015
    What is the meaning of dreams and dreaming? What might we learn from our dreams? How might we work with our dreams to benefit from the messages they bring?

Year Two (2015-16)

General descriptors for 2015-16 classes:

E. History of Christian Spirituality – general developments through the ages; who were some of the key movers and shakers; types of spiritualities that developed.

F. Spiritual Development – tracking the spiritual journey; introduction to traditional and new ways of understanding spiritual development. John of the Cross’s ascent; Teresa of Avila’s mansions; Ken Wilber; Spiral Dynamics

C. Spiritual formation Group – a time to process what’s been happening in classes; sharing one’s journey; inquiry and feedback.

G. Discernment and Lifestyle – spiritual charisms; vocation; calling; types of spiritualities; methods of discernment, personal mission statement, personal rule of life.