Michael O’Sullivan is 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 up to PhD level. He also has 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. For his story in those years go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0BB3D6oB3Q or https://vimeo.com/irishjesuits. He has also worked in Central America and East Africa. He lived for thirteen years with Fr Peter McVerry, the well known campaigner for homeless young people, and a few other Jesuits among socio-economically disadvantaged people. They lived 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 the 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 Directors and Board of Trustees of the International Network for the Study of Spirituality (INSS) and is the LInks Coordinator for INSS. He serves on the editorial boards of Spiritus and the Journal for the Study of Spirituality. He is a founder of the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education in Ireland (SpIRE) and of the Spiritual Capital Ireland Centre which was superseded by SpIRE. He served for sixteen years as Director of the MA in Applied Spirituality, and was also Director of the Higher Diploma in Applied Spirituality, the Director of the Texts and Themes MA in Spirituality, the spirituality summer schoo, and was Head of Theological Studies and the Depts of Systematic and Moral Theology. He is also a Fellow of the European Institute for Spirituality in Economics and Society (SPES), a Research Associate of the Centre for the Study of Spirituality at the University of Hull, a member of the European Research Institute for Religion, Spirituality, and Health, a member of the Spirituality Research and Innovation Group (SRIG) at Trinity College Dublin, and of Spiritual Directors International (SDI). Professor Arthur Holder’s citation is one of many that shows his standing in the field of applied academic study and practice of spirituality:
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).
YouTube: ‘A Jesuit with the People’ (2018); ‘Authentic Interiority and the Study of Spirituality’ (2018); ‘Spiritual Capital ‘(2014)
Bernadette Flanagan, Chair and co-founder 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 was elected the first Irish President of that Society in November 2017. She is also a member of the editorial board of The Way journal, and of the leadership team of the WIT MA in Applied Spirituality that SpIRE hosts and supports in Dublin.
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 continues in these roles for the WIT MA in Applied Spirituality that SpIRE hosts and supports in Dublin. She is an accredited psychotherapist (MIAHIP, MIACP, Reg. ICP) working 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.
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. Her book based on her dissertation has been published by Routledge. 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 skills, 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 was published by VERITAS in December 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. His most recent book is Meditation with Children – A Resource for Teachers and Parents. Noel and Alana Levandoski in Canada have created a CD of music, song, and reflections inspired by the book..
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. Her dissertation has been published as a book by Peter Lang. 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. She is also a trained spiritual director,
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.
Elizabeth McCrory received her BA, MA and PhD from University College Dublin and MBA from Warwick University, UK. She developed an interest in spirituality through her work both in the public health services and private business sector and has studied spirituality for 10 years.She runs workshops and seminars on a variety of topics including: Meditation, Spiritual Autobiography, Parenting, Spirituality and long term illness, Death and Dying and Women in transition.
She completed her training as a Clinical Psychologist and worked in the General Medical Services in Ireland before moving to the UK where she undertook an MBA and worked as Human Resources Director for Coopers & Lybrand. She then returned to Ireland and worked as Human Resource Director at Coopers & Lybrand, PA Consulting and KPMG.
She is an experienced clinical psychologist and psychotherapist with a special interest in Chronic Pain. Her clinical practice covers a diverse range of issues including adolescent issues, emotional problems, health challenges, relationship issues and life crises. She combines psychotherapy with contemplative practices; the focus is on helping clients to achive wholeness through connecting with their deepest True Self.
Elizabeth’s corporate work focuses on developing potential through transformational growth promoting Executive & Leadership Development, Team Development, Employee Engagement and Coaching