Michael O’Sullivan is the Director of SpIRE, and a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He has degrees in Social Science, and Philosophy, and four degrees in theology upto PhD level, as well as training and experience in spiritual accompaniment, counselling, and community development .
He worked as a Jesuit missionary priest in Chile during the reign of General Pinochet and has also worked in Central America and East Africa. He lived for many years with Fr Peter McVerry and a few other Jesuits among socio-economically disadvantaged people in a tower block of flats in Ballymun, Dublin before it was demolished.
Having worked originally as a specialist in liberation theology and feminist theology he has dedicated himself since the early years of this millennium to the development of spirituality as an applied academic discipline.
He has served as a member of the Governing Board of the global Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality (SSCS) and of the Steering Committee of the Christian Spirituality Study Group of the American Academy of Religion. He currently serves on the inaugural International Relations Committee, and the Promotions Committee, of the SSCS, the Leadership Board of the Centre for the Academic Study of Christian Spirituality at the University of Zurich, the Executive Board of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality, and the editorial board of Spiritus, the premier journal in its field. He is a founder of the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education in Ireland (SpIRE) and a founder of the Spiritual Capital Ireland Centre which was superseded by SpIRE. For twelve years now he has been running the leading international MA in Applied Spirituality. Professor Arthur Holder’s citation is one of many that show his standing in this field of applied academic study and practice:
Dr. Michael O’Sullivan, SJ has established himself as a leading figure in the academic field of Christian Spirituality. Through his teaching, writing, public speaking, and administrative service he has inspired colleagues and students not only in Ireland but throughout the world. Tireless in his efforts to build networks of collaboration among people of different nationalities, denominations, and scholarly disciplines, Dr. O’Sullivan is respected for the breadth of knowledge and the depth of his commitment to academic work that makes a positive difference in the lives of people – especially the poor and marginalized (Professor Arthur Holder, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and John Dillenberger Professor of Christian Spirituality, Graduate Theological Union Berkeley, CA; and past President of the international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality and former Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the Christian Spirituality Study Group of the American Academy of Religion).
Bernadette Flanagan, Chair of SpIRE, completed her PhD in Humanities (Spirituality) at the Milltown Institute, Dublin. Since that time she has become an Associate Professor in Spirituality and led the development of MA and professional doctoral studies in spirituality in Ireland. She has consulted to a wide range of organisations in Ireland and overseas on dimensions of spiritual education, spiritual care and spiritual practice in such fields as healthcare, education, relational wellbeing, aging; addiction and leadership.
Side by side with her expanding disciplinary expertise, Bernadette has had a distinguished career as a manager and leader in third and fourth level education in Ireland. She has held such roles as President (Acting), Deputy President, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Registrar, Head of Department and Director of Research. In these roles she has developed quality systems, administration systems, strategic plans, implementation plans, teaching & learning strategies and institution-wide research activities. She has had responsibility for line managing staff and negotiating partnerships, as well as validation and accreditation for more than 30 programmes ~ NFQ LEVELS 6 – 10 ~ with various agencies (NCEA / HETAC, NUI, CCE, MIE, UW, DCU). Her expertise has been called on by a wide diversity of academic bodies in Ireland. For example, she was Chairperson of the Board of Governors in St Patrick’s College Thurles, a member of the Steering Group of the Institute of Education Research in Ireland (IoERI) and of the All Ireland Institute of Hospice & Palliative Care (AIIHPC) Research Hub.
Having served on the Governing Board of the prestigious global Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality and the Nominations Committee of the Society she will become the first Irish President of that Society in November 2017. She is also a member of the editorial board of The Way journal.
Anne-Marie Dixon has a background in theology, sociology, education, counselling, and spiritual guidance. Having taught in the Voluntary and Community Sectors at Second Level she went on to become a Lecturer in the Pastoral Department and Department of Spirituality, Milltown Institute (National University of Ireland), and a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Spirituality, All Hallows College (Dublin City University). At All Hallows College she was a member of the MA in Applied Spirituality Board, delivered MA modules on spiritual autobiography, awareness and attentiveness skills, and integration process, and supervised MA dissertations. She is an accredited psychotherapist (MIAHIP, MIACP, Reg. ICP) working with Console and in private practice. She is also an accredited cross professional supervisor, an MIACP accredited supervisor, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Supervisors Association of Ireland (SAI).
An Ursuline Sister and member of the Congregation’s Leadership team, Anne Marie is also a member of the Board of Directors of the All Ireland Spiritual Guidance Association (AISGA).
Michael Howlett has a doctorate in Theology, and a PhD in English. He is Professor Emeritus and retired Head of Department of Applied Arts at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Waterford, Ireland, where he also lectured in Theology and Religious Studies, and offered the Interdisciplinary Seminars. He developed many undergraduate and graduate programmes for the department, the most recent being the interdisciplinary BA Honours which includes majors in Theology and Religious Studies, and in English, and the MA in Social Studies contributing modules on Social Justice, Contemporary Spirituality, and Faith, Communities and Society. His research interests lie in the interacting relationships between literature, society, spirituality and religion, and he has published in Irish and European theological journals. As well as serving on the SpIRE Advisory Group he is a member of the Social Justice Ireland board and its Academic Advisory committee.
Michael’s interest in spirituality developed when he was working with youth services and parish renewal more than thirty years ago. Following this experience he began a study of Patrick Kavanagh for his theology doctorate in which he focused on the Human Being in Kavanagh’s poetry. This work led him to appreciate the fundamental spiritual dimension of human beings, a conviction which was further strengthened in a doctoral study of James Joyce’s writings. For Michael, spirituality is a core value and starting point and lies at the heart of religion and of pastoral and social renewal.
Fiona Timmins is an Associate Professor at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin. She is Chair of the Spirituality in Research and Innovation Group (SRIG) formed at the School in 2013, and originally called the Spirituality Interest Group. This group has more than 30 members from various disciplines and aims to raise awareness of spirituality in healthcare. Fiona finds the field of spirituality incredibly interesting from a practice and intellectual perspective. She has been fortunate to have had a rewarding career as a nurse, which has led to a particular interest in patient-centred care, and nurse-patient relationships. In particular she is interested in developing best practice, preparing Ireland’s future nurses for their nursing career, and supporting the spiritual and individual needs of patients.
She is a graduate of University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, University of South Wales and the Open University. She loves to write and believes that the written word is a powerful tool for the development of disciplines and influencing trends. Her writing career spans almost two decades and includes 8 successful academic textbooks, and more than 80 publications in peer reviewed journals. Through this writing career she has been fortunate to secure positions as editor, and a member on editorial boards and journal advisory panels. She is currently Editor with the Journal of Nursing Management. She is also a Visiting Scholar at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Genoa Italy.
Twitter: Fiona Timmins@timminsf
SCOPUS Number: ID: 6701354325
Noelia Molina is a psychotherapist, lecturer and researcher. Her primary background was in Biomedical Sciences and Molecular Pathology. She worked for 17 years as a Medical Scientist (accredited by The Academy of Clinical Science and Laboratory Medicine in Dublin) in various laboratory disciplines in Dublin. Having worked in private practice as an accredited psychotherapist (NAPCP) for 13 years, she has specialised in maternal mental health and had run therapeutic maternal groups.
She has been engaged in spirituality studies for more than a decade now. Having studied for an Adult Diploma and a Higher Diploma in Spirituality at the Milltown Institute, she went on to complete a PhD in Spirituality at All Hallows College, Dublin City University, where she investigated the transition to motherhood as spiritual process. At All Hallows College (Dublin City University) she delivered MA modules in Contemplative Psychology and Spiritual Autobiography. Currently, she is a part-time lecturer in the MA in Applied Spirituality which is accredited by Waterford Institute of Technology and hosted and supported by the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE) in Dublin. She teaches awareness and attentiveness skills, spiritual accompaniment, research modules and also supervises MA dissertations. She has wide experience giving workshops in spirituality and researching spiritual and religious issues in Ireland.
Noel was awarded a doctorate for his research into the child’s experience of meditation and his paper “Children’s Spirituality and the Practice of Meditation in Irish Primary Schools” was published in the International Journal for Children’s Spirituality in December 2016. His book Meditation with Children: A Resource for Teachers and Parents will be published by VERITAS in the autumn of 2017. He progressed to the PhD after successfully completing the taught Masters in Applied Christian Spirituality at All Hallows College, Dublin City University, with a research interest in meditation with children, particularly how children experience its spiritual fruits.
Noel is voluntary National Coordinator for Christian Meditation in Ireland and he coordinates their Meditation with Children Project, involving 35,000 children who meditate as a whole-school practice in over 150 primary schools across Ireland. He offers in-service, free of charge, to school staffs who are interested in introducing meditation to children. . Noel also works with teachers at second-level and lecturers at third-level who are interested in introducing teenagers and young adults to the practice of meditation.
He spent 40 years in the education sector in Ireland as a second-level teacher and principal and as Education Officer with the Presentation Sisters in Ireland. He is author of Mission Integrity: Having Faith in Our Schools, which explores how trustees and schools may reflect together on the challenge of remaining faithful to their vision and mission.
Michael Murray was Director of the Lantern Intercultural Centre in Dublin which supports interfaith and intercultural dialogue and action. A Christian Brother and emeritus Leader of the St.Helens Province he is a Trustee of Marino Institute of Education and a Member of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Edmund Rice International Heritage Centre and manages the responsibilities of the European Province Leadership Team in their role of Co-Patron in eight Community and Comprehensive Schools.
Having graduated with a B. Science from University College Cork, he went on to receive his Ph.D from the University of Dublin (TCD) where he was a teacher and supervisor on the Masters Studies in Education Programmes, conducted by the Professional Development Service of the College. He is also a graduate of the International Religious Formation Programme of St. Louis University, Missouri.
Bernadette Masterson obtained her PhD in Medical Humanities from All Hallows College, Dublin City University in 2016. Her chosen topic, spiritual awakening in chronic illness, has been close to her heart for many years and her research, utilising a psycho-spiritual approach, uniquely highlights ways in which chronic illness may foster opportunities for ongoing awakening to deeper levels of consciousness. Whilst working on having her thesis published in book format, she supervises research dissertations in the MA in Applied Spirituality, Waterford Institute of Technology, which is hosted and supported by the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE) in Dublin.
Bernadette completed a four-year training in psychosynthesis, leading to an MA from London’s Institute of Psychosynthesis/University of Middlesex in2001. Psychosynthesis is a transpersonal psychology founded by Italian psychoanalyst Roberto Assagioli, a contemporary of Freud and Jung. Its framework holds that humans are essentially spiritual beings having a human experience, and contain within them a drive to become whole. Every personal challenge presents an opportunity for psychological and spiritual growth.
Bernadette’s first degree was a BA in Irish and English, followed by a Higher Diploma in Education, at University College, Galway, in 1981. She worked in London for many years in broadcast journalism, for radio (BBC) and television. She produced reports from the Middle East on human rights issues, such as the refugee crisis in Jordan (interviewed King Hussein) following the Gulf War in 1991, sanctions in Iraq, and territorial disputes in Yemen. She has also filmed in Ethiopia. Her reports were screened by international broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4 and RTE. She was co-founder/director of an independent TV production company for nearly 10 years, managing 15 employees including film crews and broadcast facilities in central London.
Dara Westby has worked in a leadership role in International Financial Services for over 20 years. He holds an honours degree in Accounting & Finance, an Executive MBA from the UCD Smurfit Graduate School of Business, and an MA in Applied Christian Spirituality from All Hallows College, Dublin City University specialising in the works of Henri Nouwen. Dara has trained in the area of spiritual accompaniment and is a member of both Spiritual Directors International (SDI) and the All Ireland Spiritual Guides Association (AISGA). He serves with his local Saint Vincent De Paul conference and is a member of his local parish pastoral counsel.
He has maintained a keen interest in the area of spirituality in the work place. He believes that the long hours of those in paid employment today makes it understandable that their involvement in church / parish life has come under considerable pressure. The result of this pressure, he would say, is that many are turning increasingly to their workplace as a source of identity and meaning and so need to experience it as a source of spiritual communion. But the problem he sees in this situation is that those in paid employment today are in need of spiritual repair due to the damaging effects on them of cost-cutting and other efficiency initiatives as organisations seek to meet increasing demands for financial performance in a growing global economy. And so the question for Dara, which he recognizes as a spirituality question, is how are organisations to offer a greater sense of meaning, purpose, and communion for their workforce while remaining competitive?