We are truly honored to announce that Professor Philip Sheldrake, one of the world’s foremost experts on spirituality, will offer the Inaugural Annual Keynote this spring.

Scheduled for Wednesday, February 9 at 12 PM (noon) via Zoom, Professor Sheldrake will lecture on the connection between “Spirituality and Public Life.” 

“‘Spirituality’ is a word that, in broad terms, stands for lifestyles and practices that embody a vision of human existence and of how the human spirit is to achieve its full potential. In that sense, ‘spirituality’ embraces an aspirational approach, whether religious or secular, to the meaning and conduct of human life.” Philip Sheldrake

Keynote Abstract: The concept of “spirituality” means far more than simply spiritual practices such as meditation. “Spirituality” stands for everyday lifestyles that express a vision of our human existence and an aspirational approach to the meaning and conduct of human life. Importantly, “spirituality” also relates to the fact that human life is fundamentally social and corporate in nature rather than purely individual and inward looking. Hence, there is a deep and essential connection between “spirituality” and “public life” – our shared life in society which is a space of encounter, communication and shared responsibilities. This talk will explore the most critical public values and virtues and how they may be effectively cultivated. 


Philip Sheldrake is Professor and Director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Spirituality at Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, Texas. He is also senior research associate of the Von Hügel Institute, St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge, and senior research fellow in the Cambridge Theological Federation (Westcott House). Professor Sheldrake trained in history and theology and was awarded the DD (Higher Doctorate) in 2015 by the University of Oxford. 

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (both UK), Professor Sheldrake specializes in the field of Christian spirituality, from historical, theological, and applied perspectives. He is also a specialist more broadly in contemporary spirituality, especially its connection with healthcare and with place identity and urban studies. He is also interested in the history of Christianity (particularly medieval and Reformation periods), in theological anthropology, social theology, interreligious (particularly Christian-Muslim) dialogue and in the interdisciplinary writings of Michel de Certeau SJ.

Author or editor of eighteen books, Professor Sheldrake’s monographs on spirituality include (among others) Spirituality & History: Questions of Interpretation and Method (Orbis Books, 1998), Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012), The Spiritual City: Theology, Spirituality & The Urban (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), Spirituality: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury, 2014), Spirituality: A Brief History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), and The Spiritual Way: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Practice (Liturgical Press, 2019). He is currently working on a further book (for Oxford University Press) on “Civility: Cultivating Public Virtues”

In a special connection, Father Jake was well-known to cite from Professor Sheldrake, often handing out copies of Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction.