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Spirituality Studies

S 3000 - Introduction to the Christian Spiritual Life

This course is an introduction to Christian spirituality and the practices and values that comprise it.  The course offers a survey and a taste of the components that are included in the five aspects of the spiritual journey: context, participants, content, process and aspiration.  These will be considered in both their traditional and contemporary expression.  Special attention will be on spiritual practices and disciplines, discernment, the spiritual journey and health as one journeys in the spiritual life.

S 3002 – Spirituality and Justice

This course proposes an alternative to individualistic understandings of spirituality by examining the theological relationship between Christian spirituality and justice. Two distinct yet fundamentally related questions are considered: (1) what is meant by an authentic Christian spirituality? and (2) what is meant by justice in the context of transforming society and history? In order to unpack these questions, primary sources including, but not limited to, biblical texts, magisterial documents, and key figures in the development of spirituality are critically engaged.

S 3001 – Spiritual Companioning for Ministry

Both in daily life and in explicit ministry, Christians are frequently called upon to offer a companioning presence to people who are concerned about spiritual issues.  Students in this course develop an understanding of this "everyday" ministry and practice the skills that will help them exercise it more fruitfully.  Themes include how to listen well, presence to those different from oneself, varieties of religious experience, working with images and stories, and discernment.  The course design includes input, discussion, and practicum.

SC 4002  The Spiritual Writings of Sr. Thea Bowman and Howard Thurman

This course is an introduction to the spiritual writings of African American theologians and scholars  - Sr. Thea Bowman and theologian Dr. Howard Thurman.  The class will focus on their writings on the spiritual life, community and justice and through prayer, lecture, small group discussion, multimedia presentations and other various methods, offer the student resources for understanding the impact of Sr. Thea and Howard Thurman on the spiritual life of contemporary Christians.

ES 4002 Ethics, Spirituality, and Global Climate Change

Human-forced global climate change is a reality that Christians cannot ignore. While engaging the scientific, economic, and political realities that show the urgency of climate change issues, the deeper spiritual and moral resources available in the Christian and Roman Catholic traditions explore are explored. Students are assisted in finding ways to integrate their spirituality and ethical practice and to engage in concrete actions that seek resolutions to the many issues global climate change presents to our world.

S 4010 Spirituality, Ministry and Survivors of Human Rights Abuses

A seminar combining theory and praxis with Chicago agencies and groups working with refugees/ survivors of torture and human rights abuses. What is our pastoral responsibility in accompanying survivors on their journey to healing and reconciliation? What are the possibilities and limitations of this ministry (personally and collectively)? What is a spirituality of accompaniment? What is a spirituality of reconciliation? What is beyond reconciliation? How does this process inform and challenge our theology, mission and ministry? How do we attend to our own healing process? How do we deal with the oppressor/wrongdoer/perpetrator? These are the questions and concerns that our class-community will address during this semester. Admission by consent of instructor

DS 4010: “Theology and Spirituality of Religious Priesthood”

This course examines the historical and theological origins, development, and spirituality of the ministerial priesthood in consecrated religious life within the context of the common priesthood of all believers and the nature of ministry in the church. It gives special attention to the teachings of Vatican II, post-conciliar theologies of the priesthood, and the identity of the religious presbyter. Furthermore, this course focuses on the spirituality of religious priesthood as expressed in universal church documents and as understood according to the charisms of the particular religious orders, congregations, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes represented in the given semester.

S 4020 Introduction to the Christian Spiritual Life

In this course students will be introduced to the context, participants, content, process and aspiration of Christian spirituality. These will be considered in both their traditional and contemporary expressions.  The course will familiarize students with Christian Traditions like the Three-Fold Way, asceticism, prayer, charity, and justice.  Students will be encouraged to consider how their own spiritual life is progressing.

S 4100 The Spiritual Life: A Latino/a Perspective

This is not a course on Hispanic spirituality, rather this course looks at the whole of Christian Spirituality from a Latino/a perspective and highlighting the contributions made by Hispanics like Isidro de Sevilla, Ignacio de Loyola, Pedro de Alcantara, Teresa de Avila and others to Christian Spirituality.

WS 4100 Liturgy, Prayer, and Contemplation: Ecclesial Spirituality

This course helps students integrate and communicate an understanding of individual and communal prayer as formation for and the result of apostolic action. The course includes: reading, discussion, lecture, and practical exercises.

SC 4110 Black Spirituality

Black spirituality engages the mind, heart and spirit in a dynamic union with the transcendent and immanent God, as experienced in the heart of community. It is rooted in the history and experience of African peoples in the United States as well as in the Caribbean, and Latin America. Using various resources and methods (prayers, slave narratives, autobiographies, and more) this course will engage students in a critical examination of the roots, development and characteristics of the spirituality of African peoples (primarily in the United States).

S 4120: Latin@ Liberation Spiritualities

"Liberation Spiritualities emerging from U.S. Latin@ contexts are a more recent and evolving synthesis within Christian Spirituality. This course proposes an exploration of the Christian spiritual tradition in the light of the Latin@ experience. The first part of the course considers themes and issues involved in the creation and description of a Latin@ Spirituality of Liberation. The second part of the course examines how Latin@ theologians have expressed this liberating spirituality for Christian life through their proposals for Christology, worship, evangelization, and social justice."

SMPC 4132/ 5132 Black Spirituality as a Source for Ministry

Black spirituality engages the mind, heart and spirit in a dynamic union with the transcendent and immanent God, as experienced in the heart of community.  It is rooted in the history and experience of African American peoples in the United States.  Using various resources and methods (Prayers, preaching, song, spiritual autobiographies, biographies, slave narratives, spiritual interviews and film), this course will engage students in a critical examination of the roots, development and characteristics of the spirituality of African Americans, as well as a participative experience of Black spirituality as found in the religious expression of the community and  ministries.

SC 4190 Guadalupe and Marian Spirituality

This Course considers how our Lady of Guadalupe fits into and breaks out of traditional Marian Spirituality within Christianity. Particular attention will be given to the themes of historical development, inculturation, evangelization and social justice. The course will be a conducted in a combination of lecture, group discussion and student led Marian celebrations.

S 4200 Spirituality of Religious Priesthood

This course considers the theology and spirituality of Catholic Priesthood within a Religious community. Students will study various Church documents on priestly formation/ministry and focus their study on the spirituality of priesthood as expressed in the documents of a particular Religious Community. The course is geared primarily for Religious who are seeking ordination but can be very helpful to lay ministers who collaborate with Religious Priests.

DSC 4200/DSC5200 Sources and Methods in Latin@ Theologies

The integral relationship between the lived daily experiences of Latino/a communities and the theological reflections that emerge from within these contexts is articulated as teología y pastoral en conjunto. This seminar explores sources and methods developed by Latin@ theologians and biblical scholars in their constructing of theological perspectives that recognize this intrinsic connection between theology and  ministry.

DS 4210/5210 Reconciliation and Forgiveness

An exploration of the theology and ministry of individual and social reconciliation in a variety of settings today: domestic violence, the Church, immigration and urban issues, and post-conflict settings. Issues treated include trauma, healing of memories, truth telling, justice, and forgiveness. May be taken at the Master's or the Doctoral level.

SD 4310 Spiritual Classics of the Patristic Era

In this course students read and reflect on a selection of the most influential Christian spiritual classics from the Patristic Era (the first six centuries of the Christian era)., including Perpetua, Ignatius of Antioch, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Athanasius, Desert Fathers and Mothers, Benedict, Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, and others.  Students will have opportunities to practice methods of approaching these texts for spiritual benefit, academic study, and pastoral re-appropriation. Themes of history, development of doctrine, physical environment, culture, and gender are also highlighted.

S 4311 Spirituality of Lay Vocation and Ministry

This course addresses the concept of vocation and ministry as it impacts all who identify themselves as disciples of Jesus Christ, with special emphasis on the role of the laity in the Roman Catholic Church. Explore the history of the laity in the church and develop both a theology and spirituality of lay ministry based on contemporary scholarship and the lived experience of lay ministers in a variety of settings.

S 4312 Theology and Practice of Prayer

The course is an introduction to traditional and contemporary methods of Christian prayer and its stages of development. The process entails learning from some of the great teachers of prayer within the Christian tradition, as well as drawing insights from the contribution of other religious traditions. Provides the theological grounding necessary to evaluate and critique prayer practices, and interweaves theory and praxis.

SMP 4312  Spirituality of Family for Ministry

This course takes a look at spirituality and ministry through the lens of family. It will begin by tracing the traditional as well as newer practices of spirituality and how they engage children and family. Next the course will explore elements of spirituality that are inherent in the experience of families. Finally students will develop a spiritual theology of ministry to inform how they respond ministerially to the spiritual needs of families in parish and community contexts.

S 4313 Perspectives on Psychological and Spiritual Transformation and Maturity

This course looks at several of the major perspectives or models of human maturity. What are the psychological and spiritual ingredients that contribute to the development of mature adults? How do psychology and spirituality contribute to the development of mature Christians? A lecture-seminar format is used.

S 4314 Religious Life in Context

Explore the understanding of religious life in various historical and cultural contexts. Topics include 1) the various forms of religious life and the historical situations that gave rise to them, 2) the understanding of the vows and how these are expressed differently in different social-cultural contexts, and 3) religious life in the world and church today.

SH 4340  History and Spirituality of the Franciscan Movement

This course provides a survey of the historical development, theological contributions, and spirituality arising from the movement begun by Francis and Clare of Assisi in the thirteenth century and carried on by the generations that followed them. Special attention is given to the central themes of creation, evangelical poverty, the human person, Christology, and prayer, among others. We will examine the historical contributions to Christian spirituality made by members of all three orders of the Franciscan family as well as the manifold way the tradition continues in our own time.

BS 4520 Biblical Foundations of Spirituality

The faith of ancient Israel and of the early Christian communities is explored in order to establish the grounding for a contemporary biblical spirituality. Attention is given to biblical images for God, the various modes of prayer and worship, and the ethical demands for justice and peace in the biblical world and in our own.

S 5000 Earth Spirituality for Christians

Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ has opened a new era of widespread awareness that the Christian vocation includes responsible participation in the whole community of Earth creatures. This course examines ancient and contemporary sources for Earth spirituality, with a special focus on spiritual practices that encourage and express true “conversion to the Earth.”

SH 5001 Christian History and Spirituality through Art and Architecture in Italy

A handful of significant cities have been the backdrop for many of the important events and people that have shaped our Christian faith. This interdisciplinary course studies significant moments, movements and figures pertaining to our history and spirituality. This two-week course takes place in the Italian cities of Rome, Assisi, and Florence. Students learn on site about the role of art and architecture in promoting the Christian faith. (Taught every two years)

WS 5001 Liturgical Foundations for Spirituality

Readings and seminar presentations on the structures, prayer forms, rhythms, and theology of liturgy to uncover liturgical foundations for Christian spirituality.  The seminar will conducted in a reading, presentation, and discussion style.

S 5004 French Spirituality and Its Worldwide Impact

The French spirituality of the 17th century has profoundly influenced the theory and practice of religious life, priesthood, and Catholic lay life down to the present day. This course studies major figures of that period as well as later developments, especially those impacting on the worldwide missions.

S 5005 Evangelizing the Baptized

Pope Paul VI reminds us that “The Church is an evangelizer, but she begins by being evangelized herself” (EN 15). This course considers the spirituality of “Evangelization in the Modern World” and other documents of evangelization. It also gives students a hands on approach to giving personal witness and preaching of the kerygma in retreats, days of recollection and parish missions. Students will be expected to preach in a public forum (usually a parish mission/day of recollection) as part of this course.

S 5006 Spirituality and Leadership

A blended course (online and onsite) that will focus on the relationship between leadership and spirituality from a primarily Christian perspective. The course will be attentive to the various ways spirituality shapes one’s understanding of leadership, the importance of context to one's development as a leader and leadership styles, as well as the intersections between spirituality and leadership.

S 5008 History of Christian Spirituality Seminar

This seminar course will do an exploration of key movements and figures in the history and development of Christian spirituality over the course of 2000 years. Given the interdisciplinary nature of spirituality, this course will focus on the importance of history as a source for the study of Christian spirituality. MA and DMin students will be required to do a historical study of a particular spiritual figure and/or movement to be shared with their classmates.

S 5009 Biology of Spirit

This course will explore contemporary perspectives on such issues as: neuroscience and religious experience, differences and convergences between spiritual and scientific ways of knowing, human spiritual participation in ecospheres, theological and scientific views on the relations among body, mind, and spirit, etc.

CS 5010 Spirituality, Ministry, and Survivors of Human Rights Abuse

The prevalence of torture, human rights abuses and violence in our world challenges the missionary/minister to understand the personal and societal effects of trauma and to develop a spirituality of accompaniment with survivors in their healing and reconciliation. Not open to audit.

S 5010 God Images in the Writings of Theologians of Color

This course will place in conversation the images of God, in postcolonial, liberation and classical theorists with those presented in writers of color including members from Latin@, Black and Asian American communities. Attention will be given to how these God images influence the Christian spiritual life.

CS 5020 Spirituality, Discipleship, and Mission Today

This course explores discipleship in the New Testament, seeking its applications amid changing lives and in a changing world. First, we are called, then sent; the initiative and the agenda are not our own. Ponder the implications and applications.

SC 5020 Hispanic Spirituality: History and Religiosity

Provides a general introduction to the foundations, beliefs, and challenges of Hispanic/Latino spirituality. The course covers topics like: Mesoamerican and medieval Spanish religiosity; what Latinos believe about God, Mary, humanity, evil, etc.; and finally, the challenge of evangelizing popular religiosity and of enhancing Latino interest in the Word of God, justice, and liberation.

CS 5030 The Spirituality of Lakota-Christian Dialogue

In dialogue with Lakota Native Americans who practice traditional spirituality and/or Christian faith, this course examines a spirituality of justice and interfaith mission/ministry. Includes a week-long field trip on Rosebud and Pine Ridge Lakota Reservations in South Dakota.

SC 5040 Islamic Mysticism and Spirituality

An exploration of the Muslim traditions of piety, devotion, and spiritual purification known as “Sufism.” Topics include: early Muslim asceticism; love mysticism; sobriety and ecstasy; the stages and states of the spiritual journey; Sufi prayer and praxis; and classical Sufi poetry.

S 5101 Foundations and Methods for the Study of Spirituality

This seminar course is designed specifically for students who are concentrating in Christian Spirituality as a theological discipline at the M.A. or D.Min level. It will define spirituality as a field of study, explore the relationship between spiritual praxis and research in spirituality, survey research methods, evaluate the notion of a “spiritual classic,” and examine issues in the historical/theological study of spirituality. It will teach students the crucial work of appropriating spiritual classics for contemporary audiences.

S 5105 Discernment: Classical Traditions, Contemporary Dilemmas

Christian discernment is a way of life in which one seeks constant attunement to the presence and communication of God, a gift of the Holy Spirit, and an art that one learns by participation and practice.  It is also a theme upon which spiritual writers and theologians throughout the centuries have written extensively, with different foci depending on their culture and circumstances. This course is an exploration of historical Christian insights into discernment, in view of developing a discerning approach to contemporary dilemmas.

WS 5105 Church Year Prayed and Preached
This seminar explores the Church Year as a liturgical event, spiritual guide and preaching resource. Employing the methods of practical theology, it will consider the relevant contextual, historical, and experiential factors for celebrating, praying, and preaching the liturgical cycle of feasts and seasons. (3 credits)

S 5110 Spiritual Formation Seminar

Spiritual formation is a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which is mediated through an ecclesial community.  Spiritual formation takes place in widely varying settings and contexts.  The process of spiritual formation can take place within religious communities, Christian initiation programs, at schools of ministry as well as places that are not explicitly considered spiritual formation programs, such as in the home, the parish, faith sharing groups, lay volunteer programs. This course will explore the unique character of Christian spiritual formation specifically addressing issues of culture, family, personal history and social location.

S 5112 Spirituality and Health

This course will provide students with an understanding of the relationship of spirituality, faith and health from a cultural perspective. Students will learn to appreciate and understand the relationship between one's spirituality and faith and wellness/health. This course will focus on recent studies and scholarship on such themes as prayer and healing, power of story, addictions and 12 step programs, care of the person, environment and stress, illness, end of life and aging.

SC 5190 Santa María de Guadalupe y Tepeyac y Chicago**

This course reviews the history of Guadalupe and other American Marian events in light of their socio-implications on Christian spirituality. It will consider both Latin American, US American and Latina/o devotion to María as mother of God and sister in the lucha (struggle for justice).

DSC 5200 Sources and Methods in Latin@ Theologies

The integral relationship between the lived daily experiences of Latino/a communities and the theological reflections that emerge from within these contexts is articulated as teología y pastoral en conjunto. This seminar explores sources and methods developed by Latin@ theologians and biblical scholars in their constructing of theological perspectives that recognize this intrinsic connection between theology and ministry.

WS 5301 Patterns of Christian Prayer

This seminar examines the historical development of non-eucharistic liturgical prayer from early Christian prayer patterns through the reforms of Vatican II. This historical-comparative approach provides the context for inquiring to what extent there is an implied spirituality in the form, structure, and performance of such prayer; and how this might be beneficial to contemporary prayer practice.

WSC 5301 Prayer Patterns in the Abrahamic Traditions
This seminar course will examine the development of (non-eucharistic) liturgical prayer patterns in the Abrahamic traditions from ancient Temple and Synagogue prayer patterns into the 21st century.  This historical-contextual approach will provide a framework for inquiring to what extent there can be said to be implied spiritualities in the form, structure and performance of these prayer patterns, and how such might shed light on the evolving prayer practices of these traditions today.  Historical work will be complemented by shared theological reflection on the patterns we examine. (3 credits)