SpIRE Spirituality Institute

Spirituality Institute (SpIRE)


1) Intuitive Inquiry master class with Dr Rosemarie Anderson, a world leader in the field of transpersonal research methods. See under the Events tab for further info and about how to book one of the limited places. Booking in advance is essential. Contact: noeliamolina@yahoo.com 

2) Bernadette Flanagan, Michael O’Sullivan, and Noelia Molina will give papers at the forthcoming international conference in Rome from Sept 25-28 on evolving methodologies in the study of spirituality, and spiritual theology, See https://spiritualitas-2019.weebly.com/

3) The sixth international conference of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality  (BASS), of which the Director of SpIRE is a Board member and Trustee, will take place at York St John University, York, UK, from 1-3 June 2020. The theme will be ‘Spirituality in Research, Professional Practice and Education’.Bookings are now open at yorksj.ac.uk/BASS2020 and the submission of abstracts is invited (deadline for submission 17.00GMT on 1 November 2019). The conference programme is also available at yorksj.ac.uk/BASS2020  The Chair of SpIRE is a keynote speaker.

4) ***Due to the very high level of interest it has not been possible to offer places to everyone who wished to do the unique MA in Applied Spirituality in 2019-20! Please consider applying for 2020-21 keeping in mind that early applications are advised.

MA-Schedule-2018-19; MA-Time-Table 2019-20 Click on the schedule to open

5)  The ground-breaking international conference on ‘Spirituality in Society and the Professions’, May 16-18, 2019, at Waterford Institute of Technology, attracted participants from 19 countries, The conference was a collaboration between European SPES Institute (http://eurospes.org/), SpIRE Institute in Dublin, and WIT School of Humanities. 4 books and a CD were launched at the conference, See https://www.jesuit.ie/news/a-book-to-relish/

CDs/USBs of presentations recorded at the conference are available from Paul at  eist@eircom.net / 087 2789390.

Prof Celeste Snowber gave the following feedback on the conference:

“Dear Michael and Bernadette,

As I am back in Canada I am continuing to reflect on how special my time in Ireland was at the conference.  I wanted to thank you for opening up such a generative space for scholars, educators and seekers from all over the world to convene, dialogue and be inspired by one another.  I am in gratitude for all your organizing, hospitality and bringing vision together.  I know what a huge outpouring of energy this is. So a BIG THANKS!!

I also wanted to send a note that the day on the Waterford Camino was absolutely wonderful and a precious compliment to everything else that had transpired.  We all found ourselves enriched on the land and Phil was a fabulous guide.  It couldn’t have been more perfect”.  


The Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE) is a registered charity. Established to serve the spiritual seeking of people, it emphasises the value of the academic study of spirituality in higher education, and the phenomenon of ‘spirituality and’.

‘Spirituality and’ refers to the relationship between spirituality and the manifold areas of lived experience. These areas include healthcare, management, leadership, disability, social concern, ecology, aging, and social media, etc. The interface between spirituality and such areas are all signs of a new spiritual consciousness across the globe.

This global spiritual awakening is moving people to seek spiritual resources for issues about the meaning of life. The issues arise in a range of settings such as work, family, relationships, life-transitions, and concerns regarding human, societal and planetary wellbeing.

In order to serve the journey of life in its spiritual dimension and connection, SpIRE aims to develop contemplative and critically informed spirituality guides, reflective practitioners, and skilled researchers. It will give effect to its aims through education, research, training, consultancy, publishing, and networking. The networking will involve collaboration with similar initiatives and entities in Ireland and beyond.


Spirituality in the Professions and Society

SpIRE, SPES, and WIT organising and scientific committees of the historic conference on Spirituality in Society and the Professions, 16-18 May 2019. The launch of 4 books and a CD in the field of spirituality studies were also launched at the conference. 3 books and a CD were the work of spirituality graduates associated with SpIRE. Prof Bernadette Flanagan, Chair of SpIRE co-edited the fourth book, the world-leading Routledge Intenational Handbook on Spirituality in Society and the Professions, to which she and the Director of SpIRE, Dr Michael O’Sullivan, SJ, contributed a chapter on ‘Spirituality and Education’.  Photo: George Goulding, WIT




Fifth SpIRE public lecture

At the very successful fifth SpIRE public lecture: Prof Michael Howlett (SpIRE Committee), Dr Michael Murray (SpIRE Committee), Prof Fiona Timmins (SpIRE Committee), Prof Bernadette Flanagan (Chair of SpIRE), Prof Stephanie Paulsell (Harvard), who gave the lecture, Dr Michael O’Sullivan (Director of SpIRE). The lecture was held on 8 March 2016.


A few testimonies about the MA in Applied Spirituality in its form as a Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) award, hosted and supported by SpIRE, at the Jesuit Conference Centre, Dublin in 2017-18

“The MA was a wonderful life-enriching process that will reverberate through the rest of my life”.

“Learning from experience, academic rigour, inspirational teachers and companionship on the spiritual journey have made my year of study on the MA Applied Spirituality programme one of transformation and great joy”.  

“It has been (and is) a truly amazing time of learning, growth and experiences!”

“The level of input was excellent, the opportunities to share and grow were amazing.  The friendships I have made are very precious. It has been a truly life-changing year for which I am profoundly grateful”.

“I particularly enjoyed chatting over tea with other students and adapting to the academic study of spirituality. I now feel more confident in developing my own interest in the field of spirituality and mental health”.

“Being supported throughout underpins the ethos of this unique course, and is fully implemented by lecturers, programme leaders, spiritual directors, and library staff alike. I am transformed utterly: now having a new voice with which to greet my world”.

“The MA in Applied Spirituality has had a life-changing effect on me”.

“My learning and personal transformation from the M.A. continues to influence my life”.

A few testimonies about the MA in Applied Spirituality in its form as a Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) award, hosted and supported by SpIRE, at the Jesuit Conference Centre, Dublin in 2016-17

“I had already taken my first steps in a renewed spiritual life when I discovered the MA in Applied Spirituality. It presented itself just when I needed support for my personal journey of renewal and transformation. It was a challenge but I found the balance of academic and experiential learning uplifting, especially the support of tutors, spiritual advisors and classmates”.   

“I can honestly say it is hard to put into words the positive experience this past year on the MA programme has been for me.  It has been a wonderful opportunity for growth and awareness, an opening to explore the meaning of my relational worlds and those around me, family, friends, community. It has expanded my thinking, opening up my listening, widening my view to be more inclusive of all that there may be, with compassion”.

“I learnt so much during the year and I enjoyed the course immensely”.

“I did the MA in Applied Spirituality during my sabbatical year and it was a very inspiring and fulfilling experience. The academic input was excellent, enlightening, thought-provoking and challenging. Great support and guidance were given at all times. The course called for personal reflection on lived experience and I have developed new skills and received many new insights for both my personal spiritual life and in my ministry. I have no hesitation in recommending this course to others to help them on the spiritual journey”.

“it is an amazing journey”.

“I want to acknowledge the inspirational presence of Dr Michael O’Sullivan who made my study of spirituality a transformative gift through the Holy Spirit. I will treasure our time together in Milltown for the rest of my life”.

A few testimonies about the MA in Applied Spirituality in its form as a Dublin City University (DCU) award at All Hallows College in 2010-15

“It is a gem of a course, combining so well action and contemplation, personal development and academic study and research. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to be part of it this year”.

“It was truly a remarkable experience and I feel very blessed to have been a small part of it”.

“This course was just what I was looking for. I had just retired (as a school principal) and was looking for a programme that could help me to explore and deepen my spirituality. A wonderful and unique aspect of the programme is that it gave me a solid academic foundation and, at the same time, allowed me to look deeply into the inner landscape of my soul.  The applied, contemplative focus of the course has challenged me to live with greater authenticity”.

“I applied for the MA after many years of restless seeking.  Having been through many life crises and in spite of huge resistance I finally listened to the call of my heart to pursue formal study in the field of spirituality.  I could not have anticipated the gift that this course would become in my life”.

“This is a unique course that integrates academic study and research with the deepening of self-awareness, which has enabled me to meet the challenges life presents to me, with greater clarity, authenticity and compassion and has provided me with a wonderful support network of like-minded people who wish to live from a similar wellspring”.

Evaluation of an international external examiner: