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Spirituality in Chicago

Michael O'Sullivan SJMichael O’Sullivan SJ, who teaches spirituality in the Milltown Institute, gave a paper in Chicago, USA, on ’Teaching Spirituality Well’ to the International Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, and accepted the job of organizing and running the opening day of next year’s meeting of the Society in Montreal. While in Chicago Michael met Gustavo Gutierrez, the founder of liberation theology, who at the age of 80 gave an inspiring and energetic address on ’40 Years after Medellín’. See full report below.

Michael O’Sullivan’s roles as a member of the Governing Board of the International Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality and of the Steering Committee of the Christian Spirituality Study Group of the American Academy of Religion took him to Chicago recently. He, the other members of the Governing Board, and a number of past Presidents of the Society, gave papers on ‘Teaching Spirituality Well’ during the first day of the annual proceedings. Michael was later entrusted with some new responsibilities by the Governing Board that include organizing and running the opening day of next year’s meeting of the Society in Montreal.

He was in Chicago until Nov 4th, when people went to the polls. While there he had lunch with Prof Mary Frohlich, RSCJ, the outgoing President of the Society, at her community’s residence. Barack Obama’s home was nearby. Michael had lunch at the same table that Barack Obama had breakfast some years ago when he was a community activist. Michael also had the privilege, while in Chicago, of meeting and chatting with Gustavo Gutierrez, the founder of liberation theology, and whose theology of the option for the poor he had written about for his licentiate thesis in Toronto in 1986. Gutierrez, who is now 80 years of age, gave an inspiring and energetic address on ’40 Years after Medellín’ at one of the sessions of the American Academy of Religion. The second general conference of the Latin American Catholic Bishops at Medellín in 1968 was the main ecclesial event responsible for proclaiming that an option for the economically poor was required by Christian faith.