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MBI Past Events


The Margaret Brennan Institute hosted the Oct. 12, 2019, “Where Is Your Hope? Spirituality and Seekers: A Day of Exploration and Conversation” at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The day featured two keynote presentations, conversation sessions and contemplative space, all within an atmosphere of seeking God together in community.

We welcomed presenters Rev. Roger D. Haight, SJ, PhD, and Ms. Katie Gordon, MTS.

Rev. Haight is the author of Spiritual and Religious: Explorations for Seekers, a collection of essays in which he asserts that at the heart of religion and Church is the life-giving presence of spirit. “Spirituality consists in the way we live,” he writes, “and it constitutes our identity” in relationship to “a transcendent value or ultimate reality.” Seekers are those who are “not squarely at home in any established religious faith … they are looking for meaning in their own lives and a wider framework that would supply a broader context for such a meaning.”

Ms. Gordon is a national leader in working among religiously unaffiliated millennials to explore questions of spirituality, community, and justice. She is part of the core team of “Nuns & Nones,” an alliance of spiritually diverse millennials, women religious and key partners working to create a more just, equitable and loving world. She is currently at Harvard Divinity School in the MTS program in religion, politics and ethics.


The inaugural event of the Margaret Brennan Institute was “Teresa of Avila on Prayer as the Heart of Discipleship” held at Marygrove College on Oct. 15, 2017.

Gillian T. W. Ahlgren, PhD, led the day with presentations and conversation on “Unfolding Teresa of Avila’s Understanding of Prayer” and “Infusing Prayer in Critical Issues of our Time.”

Dr. 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 included Patricia Cooney Hathaway, PhD; Kathleen McAlpin, RSM, DMin; Justin Kelly, SJ, PhD; and Sarah Nash, MA.