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Sold Out: Spiritual Capital

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n October 16 in All Hallows College, Professor Ray Kinsella, Professor of Banking and Financial Services, UCD, launched a book edited by Michael O’Sullivan SJ and Bernadette Flanagan PBVM…, Spiritual Capital – The Practice of Spirituality in Christian Perspective.

In a thoughtful address to the capacity crowd Prof. Kinsella ascribed Ireland’s economic woes in large part to the lack of spiritual capital in local, national and international relations, and how this lack contrasted with the way spiritual capital has been present in Irish religious orders, who built education, health, and social services at home and abroad, in Irish missionary orders, and faith-based organizations like the Vincent de Paul, and in practices like music, song, poetry, gardening and pilgrimage which can develop a contemplative and resilient spirit in people.

All copies of the book sold out on the night and an additional 70 flyers from the publishers offering the book at the 50% discount rate for the launch were also taken. In addition, the first stock of the book on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk also sold out online, so that Amazon has had to order more stock from the publishers.

The proceedings of the evening continued with the William Johnston SJ Memorial Lecture, given by Professor Bob Kennedy SJ, New Jersey, to a capacity crowd of 300. Fr Kennedy is a Zen Master, and knew Bill Johnston personally from their time together in Japan. In the course of his presentation he told how he and Bill shared their journey with Zen, but then, as the years passed, went separate ways within that journey.

Bob’s humanity shone through as he recounted those experiences, and told how by reflecting on them he came to accept Bill deeply for the person he became. It confirmed a core teaching of Zen, that change is at the heart of life, and so should not surprise us as much as it often does. Perhaps the most moving moment in Bob’s presentation was when he described his Buddhist teacher insisting, in the face of opposition from other Buddhists, that he be made a Zen Master. One could only gasp at the generosity of spirit of a Zen teacher entrusting the future of his Zen tradition to a Catholic priest and a Jesuit. Imagine if a Catholic bishop decided to trust a Buddhist with being a teacher of the Catholic tradition to others.

Copies of the CD of Prof Kennedy’s presentation can be purchased from Paul Daly at Eist Communications ([email protected]).