Michael O’Sullivan is Executive Director of SpIRE, and a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He worked as a Jesuit missionary priest in Chile during the reign of General Pinochet and he 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 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 Promotions Committee, of the SSCS, the Leadership Board of the Centre for the Academic Study of Christian Spirituality at the University of Zurich, and the editorial board of Spiritus, the premier journal in its field. He was a launch member of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality (BASS) and a founder of the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education in Ireland. For over ten year 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. She currently holds various international leadership positions in the field of spirituality studies and practice such as being a member of the Nominations Committee of the international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality and 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 and Head of Department of Applied Arts at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Waterford, Ireland, where he also lectures in Theology and Religious Studies, and offers the Interdisciplinary Seminars. He has 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 Interest Group formed at the School in 2013. 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
Jim Malone is Robert Boyle Professor (Emeritus) of Medical Physics, Trinity College. Once a candidate for the Franciscans, he elected instead to spend a life in science and medicine, but retained a deep interest in the humanities, including literature, the visual arts and spirituality. At age about 60, he took the Milltown applied spirituality MA, which unexpectedly led him to explore ethical issues regarding justification of individual radiation exposures in medicine, a topic that now receives world-wide attention. He directed two Merriman Summer Schools, a prestigious and sometimes irreverent annual think in on Irish Life and culture. For the last five years he has been involved in development and programme direction for Arts and Spirituality Ireland’s annual conference, and the Robert Boyle Summer School. Boyle was a seventeenth century scientist whose work was shaped by his personal spirituality. He is a regular at galleries, theatres, concerts and anywhere the human spirit is authentically celebrated and explored.
Jim was Dean of the School of Medicine and Faculty of Health Sciences in Trinity College. He also worked in the international field, and for example, served halftime with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna. He continues this involvement, on a limited basis, with both the IAEA and the World Health Organisation (WHO). He was a professor at the European School of Medical Physics (Geneva) which welcomed many students from the developing world. On the industry side of medicine, he was Chairman of the Geneva based International Electrotechnical Commission’s Committee on Global Standards for Medical Imaging Equipment. He has been a Board member of about a dozen statutory institutions, including the Council of Trinity College and several university teaching hospitals. He has over 300 publications in areas spanning science, medicine, the arts and spirituality.
Michael Murray is 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.
Dara Westby has worked in a leadership role in International Financial Services for 20 years. He holds an honours degree in Accounting & Finance and an Executive MBA from the UCD Smurfit Graduate School of Business. More recently he has completed an MA in Applied Christian Spirituality at All Hallows College, 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). Dara 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?