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Spirituality in times of trauma

mos_01Michael O’Sullivan SJ delivered one of the papers at the second European Conference on the Academic Study of Spirituality, which took place last week in London. His paper – “Gender, Narrative and Authentic Spirituality” – was centred on a case study concerning a 12-year-old victim of incest by a 15-year-old brother. Michael teased out the consequences of such a trauma in an ostensibly religious family: the loss of trust, the intrusive image of a punitive God, the huge obstacles to attaining authenticity after such childhood abuse. Responders welcomed the framework offered by Michael for viewing such violence in the context of spirituality. The conference was attended by delegates from around Europe as well as from India, the US, Australia, and South Africa. Papers were also given by Professor Bernard McGinn, David Lonsdale, Professor Mary Grey, and Professor Bernadette Flanagan.