Teresa of Avila on Prayer as the Heart of Discipleship

The inaugural event of the Margaret Brennan IHM Institute for Spirituality, Church and Culture will be held Sunday, Oct. 15, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Marygrove College in Detroit.

Margaret Brennan, IHM, was one of the first female theologians in the country. She served as professor, president of the IHM Sisters and president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. She died in 2016.

The institute celebrates the IHM heritage and Sister Margaret’s legacy and will explore current areas of spirituality, Church and culture in relationship to personal and societal transformation.

The event will feature presentations by Gillian T.W. Ahlgren, PhD, on “Unfolding Teresa of Avila’s Understanding of Prayer” and “Infusing Prayer in Critical Issues of our Time.” Panel and audience responses will be included.

Ahlgren is professor of theology at Xavier University. She holds a PhD in the History of Christianity and is a leading scholar of the Christian mystical tradition, internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Teresa of Avila. She has written six widely acclaimed books, including Enkindling Love: The Legacy of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross (Fortress); Entering Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle: A Reader’s Companion (Paulist); and Teresa of Avila and the Politics of Sanctity (Cornell University Press). She is the founding director of Xavier’s Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice and was a founding member of the Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP) Cincinnati Women’s Team, a group of spiritual directors who provide retreats and ongoing support for formerly homeless women in recovery from substance abuse.

Panelists for the day include Howard Grey, SJ; Patricia Cooney Hathaway, PhD; Kathleen McAlpin, RSM; and Sarah Nash, MA.

Howard Gray, SJ, has served in a variety ministries as a member the Society of Jesus, including provincial of the Detroit Province, formation staff and teaching on the high school and university levels. He has written and spoken extensively on Ignatian spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises. Most recently, Rev. Gray was special assistant to the president of Georgetown University.

Patricia Cooney Hathaway, PhD, is professor of spirituality and systematic theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. She has a certificate in spiritual direction from the Shalom Institute for Spiritual Counseling and is a nationally renowned speaker on theology, spirituality, human and spiritual development.  She is author of Weaving Faith and Experience, A Woman’s Perspective,  (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2010) and several articles dealing with the spiritual life.

Kathleen McAlpin, RSM, (Mid-Atlantic Community Sisters of Mercy) has served as a spiritual director and retreat director for more than 30 years. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Toronto School of Theol­ogy and a certificate of spiritual direction from the Center for Religious Development in Cambridge, Mass. She is currently an adjunct faculty member for spiritual direction formation programs at Creighton University in Nebraska, Neumann College in Aston, Pa., and Cranaleith Spirituality Center in Philadelphia.

Sarah Nash is the coordinator of the IHM Justice, Peace and Sustainability Office and has worked for the IHM Sisters for 14 years. She earned her master’s degree in social justice education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her bachelor’s degree in psychology and women’s studies from the University of Michigan.

The cost of the event is $50 and includes a boxed lunch. Safe, secure registration is available online; the registration deadline has been extended to Sept. 30. Download the flyer here. For more information, contact River House IHM Spirituality Center at riverhouse@ihmsisters.org or 734-240-5494.

Marygrove College is located at 8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit 48221.