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Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice at Xavier University – Gillian Ahlgren, Tim Severyn Building on the momentum of Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States, this session will give us a chance to reflect upon the key messages of his recent encyclical and discuss the components of a “new and universal solidarity.” We…

Want to cram for the papal visit to the United States? Xavier University offering weekend workshops to help prepare.  Read more here.

In this 500th anniversary of Teresa of Avila’s birth, events around the country and in Europe are exploring Teresa’s impact and legacy. A featured keynote speaker in three such conferences, Gillian was recently interviewed for National Catholic Reporter. Read the article here.

Waking up in Assisi isn’t quite like waking up anywhere else. But once you have known morning in Assisi, it is perhaps a little easier to wake up anywhere in the embrace of God. The birds, soaring and singing; the bells of churches pealing; the greens and golds of the valley below; a pure and…

The DNA of Francis is pure mystery. How Pietro di Bernadone, a cloth merchant aggressively seeking his fortune, and gentle Pica, with her elegant Provençal ways, created one of the world’s most sensitive human beings is a testament to the subtleties of the Spirit. Two more different people could hardly be imagined. We visit the…

In Perugia the plot only thickens. In 1202, at the age of 20, Francis joins others in an elite cavalry to defend the interests of Asissi in battle against the neighboring Perugians. Struck down in battle at Collestrada, his armor signals his potential value to his captors, who take him back to Perugia and hold…

“When I was in sin, it seemed too bitter to me to see lepers. But then God drew me near them, and I felt loving kindness for them. Then after some thought, I left the world.” This paraphrase of Francis’ Testament helps us to understand the primacy of the scorned and rejected in his experience…

The church of San Damiano, outside the city walls, is indelibly linked to the “revolution of tenderness” that Francis and Clare began. I like to think of it as the cradle of the reform movement.

Our journey ends at La Verna, site of deep importance to Francis and to the entire Christian tradition. The land here was given to Francis in 1213, as a place “apt for spiritual retreat and renewal.” During his first visit here, the tradition speaks of Francis’ experience of Christ speaking with him tenderly in friendship….

An international congress on Teresa was held at St. Mary’s University in London June 18-20, 2015. Her address, entitled “New Life in a World of Suffering and Injustice: Teresa of Avila’s Vision for Today,” focused on the relevance of Teresa’s teachings and life to us today. Download the flyer here.