Graduate Theological Union

Christian Spirituality






Student Work

Jung Eun Sophia Park,
A Hermeneutics of Dislocation as
Experience: A Resource for Asian
American Spirituality
Luke Ssemakula,
Born Again in Uganda: A Study of Conversion
Experience of Young Adult Ugandans


Dan Groody

Dan Groody, Ph.D. '00 goes to the
other side of the wall to help
immigrants and homeless

Mistie Shaw

Mistie Shaw, M.A. '04, empowers
students in China



Daniel G. Groody (Ph.D. '00), Associate
Professor of Theology, Director of the
Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture
at the Institute for Latino Studies,
University of Notre Dame
Timothy Hessel-Robinson (Ph.D. '06),
Assistant Professor of Spiritual Disciplines
and Resources, Brite Divinity School

Related Blogs, the website and
blog of Elizabeth Drescher (Ph.D. '08),
religion writer and scholar of Christian
Spirituality and Social Media, author of
Tweet If You ♥ Jesus
Triptykos, an experiment in spiritual
formation that engages Christianity as a
path of contemplation, creativity, and
compassion, contributions by Andrew
Dreitcer (Ph.D. '94)
Abbey of the Arts, the website and blog
of Christine Valters Paintner (Ph.D. '04).
She has authored books on monastic
spirituality and creativity, and also is an artist,
spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and




This Area of Concentration is available to students affiliated with the following schools: CDSP, DSPT, FST, JST, PSR, SFTS, SKSM.


Students in this area study Christian religious experience. The program is focused on Christian Spirituality in the context of the broad contemporary understanding of spirituality and in conversation with religious spiritualities outside the Christian sphere. Students work to develop competence in biblical and historical foundations of Christian Spirituality, but are also encouraged to be interdisciplinary and cross-cultural.



The doctoral program in Christian Spirituality prepares students to read and interpret biblical texts for Christian Spirituality; to contextualize the major figures, texts, and themes in the historical development of Christian Spirituality; to achieve a dialogical understanding of another spirituality not within the Christian tradition; and to do research and create analytical arguments in this interdisciplinary field. With these skills students have graduated from the program and gone on to teach religious studies, Christian Spirituality, and theology in undergraduate and graduate programs in colleges, universities, and seminaries; to administer and deliver programs at retreat centers; and to serve churches at local, regional, national, and international levels.

Admission Requirements
A master’s degree providing a broad grounding in the various disciplines of Christian theology.

Language Requirements

Students are required to attain proficiency in two research languages other than their native language, one of which is ordinarily French or German, or Spanish, and the other an ancient or modern language pertinent to the student’s research.


Required courses include the introductory area seminar (SP 5090), an advanced level course in New Testament, Biblical Issues in Christian Spirituality (SPOT 4444, must be passed with a grade of at least B), the History of Christian Spirituality seminar (SPHS 5000), and two advanced level courses in Theology.

Comprehensive Examinations

Students are required to complete four comprehensive examinations: a four-hour examination in the history of Christian spirituality, an exam in the form of an extended research paper (30-40 pages) on a topic specifically in the field of Christian Spirituality, an exam on a spirituality outside the Christian tradition, and an exam on an outside field of study within the human and social sciences, the natural sciences, or literature and the arts. Students conclude their comprehensive examinations with a three-hour oral examination.


After successfully completing comprehensive exams, the student forms a dissertation committee and proceeds to formulate a dissertation proposal approved by the Area faculty and the Doctoral Council. An oral defense takes place upon completion of the dissertation.

Allied Field Requirements

Doctoral students in other areas who pursue Christian Spirituality as an allied field are required to take the introductory area seminar (SP 5090) and either Biblical Issues in Christian Spirituality (SPOT 4444) or the History of Christian Spirituality seminar (SPHS 5000), and to complete a comprehensive exam approved by a member of the Christian Spirituality area faculty designated as the student’s Allied Field advisor.




Core Doctoral Faculty

KEVIN F. BURKE, S.J. • JST (Systematic Theology) • Christology; Liberation Theology; spirituality; ecclesiology; theological method; theological synthesis; Ignacio Ellacuría.

THOMAS CATTOI • JST (Christology and Cultures) • Christology; Patristic theology; Patristic spirituality; comparative theology (especially Christian-Buddhist dialogue); Tibetan Buddhism; contemporary systematic theology.

JOHN C. ENDRES, S.J. • JST (Sacred Scripture) • Intertestamental literature (Book of Jubilees); Book of Psalms; Dead Sea Scrolls; Wisdom literature; scripture and Ignatian spirituality.

LISA FULLAM • JST (Moral Theology) • Moral theology; virtue ethics; Ignatian spirituality; sexual ethics; medical and bioethics.

BARBARA GREEN, O.P. • DSPT (Old Testament) • Old Testament/Hebrew Bible; biblical narrative and hermeneutics; Christian spirituality and its relationship to OT/HB; the book of Jeremiah; thought and theory of Mikhail Bakhtin; biblical-based fiction; thought and theory of René Girard.

ARTHUR HOLDER • GTU (Christian Spirituality) • Christian spirituality as an academic discipline; history of Christian spirituality; Christian interpretations of the Song of Songs; medieval Christian mysticism; Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, and Benedictine spiritualities.

BRUCE LESCHER • JST (Lecturer in Christian Spirituality) • American Catholic spirituality; spiritual formation; spiritual practice; spiritual direction; spirituality and social justice.

ELIZABETH LIEBERT, S.N.J.M. • SFTS (Spiritual Life) • Discernment: historical, theological and practical approaches; spiritual direction in Protestant contexts; women's experience of the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola; spiritual formation.


Consortial Faculty Resources

DORSEY O. BLAKE • SKSM (Religion and Society) • Spirituality and prophetic justice; Dr. Howard Thurman; Gandhi and King; spiritual discipline and social change; mysticism and action.

JOSEPH BOENZI, S.B.D. • DSPT (Theology) • Francis de Sales and Salesian spirituality; Church history: nineteenth-twentieth century developments; new ecclesial movements and communities; the ecclesiology of Joseph Ratzinger; faith development and youth spirituality.

PAUL A. JANOWIAK, S.J. • JST (Liturgical Theology) • Sacramental Presence in the Liturgy; Liturgical Spirituality; Liturgical Devotion as a Communal Practice; Preaching as a Sacramental Event

JAMES F. LAWRENCE • PSR (History of Christianity) • Swedenborg’s Sources, Thought, and Reception; Spiritual Disciplines and Practices; Biblical Spirituality and Hermeneutics; Sport, Spirituality and Culture

HUNG PHAM, SJ • JST (Ignatian Spirituality) • Ignatian Vision and Cultures; Discernment; Theology of Mission

ROBERT RUSSELL • GTU/CTNS (Theology and Science) • Methodology in Theology and Science; Doctrine of Creation and Modern Scientific Cosmology; Non-Interventionist Divine Action and Quantum Mechanics; Suffering in Nature / Natural Theodicy; Resurrection, Eschatology and Big Bang Cosmology