- Lecturer in Spirituality and Programme Leader, MA in Applied Spirituality
- School of Humanities -Applied Arts
- [email protected]
- Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE), Dublin
- College Street
My Blog or Website
Michael O’Sullivan is Executive Director of the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE), and a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He currently serves on the Executive Board of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality (BASS), the inaugural International Relations Committee, and the Promotions Committee, of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality (SSCS), the premier international society of its kind, the Leadership Board of the Centre for the Academic Study of Christian Spirituality at the University of Zurich, and the editorial board of Spiritus, the premier journal in its field. He is a Fellow of the European Institute for Spirituality in Economics and Society, a Research Associate of the Centre for Spirituality, University of Hull, and a member of the Spirituality Interest Group, TCD.
He worked as a Jesuit missionary priest in Chile during the reign of General Pinochet and he has also worked in Central America and East Africa. He lived for many years with Fr Peter McVerry and a few other Jesuits among socio-economically disadvantaged people in a tower block of flats in Ballymun, Dublin before it was demolished. Having worked originally as a specialist in liberation theology he has dedicated himself since the early years of this 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 was a launch member of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality (BASS) and a founder of the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education in Ireland, and of the Spiritual Capital Ireland Centre. For over ten years now he has been running the leading international MA in Applied Spirituality.
He has authored one book, co-edited another, and written a considerable number of articles and book chapters. He has given keynotes at international conferences in Ireland and overseas.
Professor Arthur Holder’s citation is one of many that show his standing in this field of applied academic study and practice:
"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).
The Academic Study of Spirituality
Spirituality/theology and social justice
Theology/spirituality, and the situation of women
Spirituality and Childhood
Spiritual Care and Health Care
Beyond traditional biosocial-gender dualism
The Writings of Bernard Lonergan
1. "Spirituality in Contemporary Ireland: Manifesting Indigeneity" (co-authored with Bernadette Flanagan) . Spiritus (Fall 2016, special issue): 55-73.
2. "Authentic Subjectivity and Social Transformation". HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 72(4), a3452.http://dx.doi. org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3452. http://www.hts.org.za/index.php/HTS/article/viewFile/3452/pdf
3. Co-author with various others of a case report. “Developing Agreed and Accepted Understandings of Spirituality and Spiritual Care Concepts among Members of an Innovative Spirituality Interest Group in the Republic of Ireland”. Religions 2016, 7(3), 30; doi:10.3390/rel7030030. Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/7/3/30
4. “Holistic Health Care and Spiritual Self-Presence”. Religions 2016, 7(1), article no. 10. Link:. http://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/7/1/10
5. “Spiritual Capital and Authentic Subjectivity”. In Sacrality and Materiality, ed. Rebecca Giselbrecht and Ralph Kunz, 45-53. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016.
6. “Reading John 7:53-8:11 as a Narrative against Male Violence against Women”. Festschrift, Acta Theologica. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies; Vol 71, No 1 (2015), 8 pages. Link: http://www.hts.org.za/index.php/HTS/article/view/2939
7. Co-author with Fiona Timmins, Suzanne Kelly, Mary Threadgold, and Bernadette Flanagan. “Serenity Spirituality Sessions: A Descriptive Qualitative Exploration of a Christian Resource Designed to Foster Spiritual Well-Being among Older People in Nursing Homes in Ireland.” Religions 6/2 (2015): 299-316. Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/6/2/299.
8. “Oscar Romero, Martyr,” Spirituality (March-April 2015) 21/119: 119-23.
9. “The Jesuit Spirituality of Pope Francis”. Spirituality 20 (September-October 2014): 295-300
10. “Male Violence Against Women and the Pastoral Response of Jesus”. In The Bloomsbury Guide to Pastoral Care, edited by Bernadette Flanagan and Sharon Thornton, 80-93. London and NY: Bloomsbury, 2014.
11. “The Spirituality of Authentic Interiority and the Option for the Economically Poor”. Vinayasadhana 5/1 (January 2014): 62-74.
12. Co-editor (with Bernadette Flanagan), Spiritual Capital: The Practice of Spirituality in Christian Perspective, Farnham: Ashgate, 2012. This text has been described by a leading spirituality scholar as “original” and filling “a real gap in the academic literature”.
13. How Roman Catholic Theology Can Transform Male Violence Against Women: Explaining the Role of Religion in Cultural Assumptions about Gender, Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2010 – print and e-book. This book has been described as “ground-breaking” by Professor Linda Hogan, Irish School of Ecumenics and Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer, Trinity College Dublin.
14. “Spiritual Capital and the Turn to Spirituality.” In Spiritual Capital: The Practice of Spirituality in Christian Perspective, edited by Michael O'Sullivan and Bernadette Flanagan, 43-59. Farnham: Ashgate, 2012.
15. “Reflexive and Transformative Subjectivity: Authentic Spirituality and a Journey with Incest.” In Sources of Transformation: Revitalising Christian Spirituality, edited by Edward Howells and Peter Tyler, 173-82. London and New York: Continuum, 2010.
16. “30th Anniversary Tribute to Archbishop Romero.” Spirituality (March-April 2010): 103-08.
17. "Spirituality: A New Academic Discipline." Melita Theologica (Malta) 59/2 (2009): 71-78.
18. “The Human Spirit and the Option for the Economically Poor.” In With Wisdom Seeking God: The Academic Study of Spirituality, edited by Una Agnew, Bernadette Flanagan and Greg Heylin, 222-33. Leuven: Peeters Press, 2008.
19, "Reflections on the Notification by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Concerning Writings by Jon Sobrino." AMDG Express: Online no. March (2007).
20. “Sin and Salvation in Relation to Male Violence Against Women: A Perspective of Liberation and Feminist Theologies.” In Faithful Witness: Glimpses of the Kingdom, edited by Brendan McConvery and Joe Egan, 24-39. Dublin: Kimmage Mission Institute at Milltown Institute, 2005.
21. “The Human Spirit and the Option for the Economically Poor.” In Lamplighters: Exploring Spirituality in New Contexts, edited by Bernadette Flanagan and David Kelly, 62-72. Dublin: Veritas, 2004.
22. “The Case of Safiya Hussaini in Nigeria.” America (February 2002), 10-11.
23. “Women, Poverty and Christianity in Relation to Africa.” Milltown Studies (Winter 1999): 103-129.
24. "La Vida Cristiana Y La Situacion De La Mujer." Presencia (Chile) (October 1999).
25. “Journeying in the Awareness of the Vocation of Women to the Priesthood on the Part of Ordained Men.” In Women: Sharing Fully in the Ministry of Christ?, edited by Clare Freeney, 49-53. Dublin: Blackwater Press, 1995.
26. “Tribute to a Latin American Martyr - Luis Espinal, S.J.” America (January 7-14, 1989): 8-11 and 20-21.
27. “The Feminist Hermeneutics of Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza.” Milltown Studies (Spring 1988): 40-61.
28. “The Tribes of Yahweh: A Sociology of Liberated Israel.” Milltown Studies (Autumn 1986): 87- 92.
29. Co-Editor. Christian Left Review, Dublin: SCM, 1980-81.
30. Editor. Liberation Theology and the Irish Context, Dublin: SCM, 1977.
31. In addition to the books and the chapters in books referred to above, I have had about 80 more articles published in Milltown Studies, The Tablet, The Furrow, Doctrine and Life, Supplement to Doctrine and Life (now Religious Life Review), Spirituality, Reality, Intercom, Presencia (Chile), Céide, The Irish Times, The Sunday Independent, and elsewhere.
32. Book reviews in Studies, Milltown Studies, and Alpha.
33. Translations in The Month, The Tablet, The Pioneer, and Doctrine and Life.
34. Poem in LADOC, Lima, Peru, 1995.
Over thirty years experience in various third level colleges, and overseas, mostly at postgrad level. Years of experience, also, in adult and community education, including with socio-economically challenged groups.
My Professional Experience
Assistant Leturer / Lecturer / Senior Lecturer, 1986f
Coordinator of MA Research Dissertations in Applied Spirituality, Milltown Institute, Dublin (National University of Ireland), 2004-2005
Director of the HDip and MA in Applied Spirituality, Milltown Institute (NUI), and the Spirituality Summer School, 2005-11
Head of Theological Studies, All Hallows College (DCU), 2009-11
Head of the Depts of Systematic Theology and Moral Theology, All Hallows College (DCU), 2009-11
Member of the BA Board, All Hallows College, 2009-11
Director of the MA in Applied Christian Spirituality, and the Spirituality Summer School, All Hallows College (DCU), 2010-15.
Moderator of final year PhD students, All Hallows College (Dublin City University), 2009-2010
Cluster Leader, PhD and MA by research in spirituality, 2012-15
Programme Leader, MA in Applied Spirituality, WIT, 2016-present
Lecturing at All Hallows College (Dublin City University), 2010-15.
Lecturing in Theology, Spirituality, and Philosophy, Milltown Institute of Theology, Philosophy and Spirituality, Dublin (National University of Ireland), 1986-2011.
Lecturing in the MA in Chaplaincy Studies at Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin (Dublin City University), 2011 and 2012.
Lecturing in Theology, Kimmage Mission Institute, Dublin, 1993, and 1998-2002.
Lecturing in the School of Continuing Education, University College Dublin, 1987-1988, and 1993-1996.
Lecturing in the Marianella summer school of theology, Dublin, 1996.
Lecturing in the Conference of Religious of Ireland international formators programme, 1999.
Lecturing in the Loreto House Formation Programme, 1989 and 1996.
Lecturing in the Dublin Adult Education Institute, 1992-93
Lectures in Arica, Chile, 1999 and 2006.
Visiting Lecturer to the Jesuit Theologate, Mexico, 1992.
Visiting Lecturer to the Jesuit University, Nicaragua, 1992.
Visiting Lecturer to the Jesuit University, San Salvador, 1992.
Lecturing in Sociology, National College of Industrial Relations, 1976-77, and in the Diploma in the Psychology of Criminal Behaviour, 1996.
Numerous lectures and talks to additional diverse groups and organizations in Ireland since 1975.
SELECTED ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP, MANAGEMENT, AND ADMINISTRATIVE ROLES, excluding appointments to Academic Posts
Member of the Academic Council, All Hallows College, Dublin, 2010-2015.
Member of the Postgraduate Studies Coordinating Committee, All Hallows College, 2010-2015.
Member of the Research Studies Board, All Hallows College, Dublin, 2012-2015.
Progression interviews with PhD and MA by research candidates, All Hallows College, 2012-2015.
External examiner for a PhD, Waterford Institute of Technology, December 2012.
Internal examiner for a PhD, All Hallows College (Dublin City University), 2010 and 2011.
Chairperson of PhD Vivas, All Hallows College (Dublin City University), 2010-16.
Co-author of the MA in Applied Christian Spirituality programme document for the purpose of having the programme accredited by Dublin City University and delivered at All Hallows College, 2009.
Principal author of the MA in Applied Spirituality programme document for the purpose of having the programme accredited by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), 2015.
Organiser of a series of Spirituality Matters lectures with international speakers, 2010
Organiser of an annual William Johnston Memorial Lecture in Spirituality with international speakers funded by the Irish Jesuits, 2011-13.
Elected staff representative on the Academic Council, Milltown Institute, Dublin (National University of Ireland) 2007-11.
Member of the School of Postgraduate Studies and Research, Milltown Institute, 2004-2011.
Examiner for MA and STL (Licence in Sacred Theology) dissertations and final comprehensives at Milltown Institute, Dublin, 2002-09.
Curriculum development of the MA in Christian Spirituality and of the Higher Diploma and MA in Applied Christian Spirituality, Milltown Institute (National University of Ireland), 2007-08 and 2004-05, and preparation of programmes for accreditation by the National University of Ireland, 2006, by the National Council for Education Awards, 2001 and the Higher Education and Training Accreditation Council, 2005.
A member of the accreditation process team for awards by Milltown Institute for programmes run in New Jersey, Myanmar, England, Marino Institute of Education, Dublin, An Chroi, Co Meath, Galway, Ignatian Spirituality Centre, Dublin, and Milltown Institute, Dublin.
Member of the Dept. of Spirituality, Milltown Institute, 2000-11.
Member of the Faculty of Theology and Spirituality, Milltown Institute, 1986-2011.
Member of the Systematic Theology Dept., Milltown Institute, 1986-2000.
Member of the Academic Council of Milltown Institute, 2006-2010
Chairperson of many public lectures, events, and book launches, 1987-present.
SELECTED INTERNATIONAL APPOINTMENTS
Member of the Executive Board of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality, 2016-present
Chairperson of a panel of paper presentations, 4th international conference of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality, Manchester, May 2016.
Member of the Planning Committee for the first international conference of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality outside North America, and in South Africa, 2014-15.
Member of the International Relations Task Force, international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, the premier international society of its kind, 2015-present.
Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, South Africa, 2014-present.
Fellow, European Institute for Spirituality in Economics and Society, 2014-present.
Founding Board of Directors member of the European Network for the Study of Christian Spirituality hosted by the University of Zurich, 2014-present
Associate member of the Centre for the Study of Spirituality, University of Hull, 2014-present
Peer Reviewer of the journal Modern Theology, 2014-present.
Member of the Editorial Board of Spiritus, the most premier international journal for the study of Christian spirituality, 2011-present.
Member of the Promotions Committee of the international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, 2009-present.
Elected member of the Governing Board of the international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, 2006 – 2009, the premier society of its kind.
Member of the Steering Committee of the Christian Spirituality Study Group of the American Academy of Religion, 2006-2009.
Peer Reviewer for 120 international paper proposals for the American Academy of Religion (2006-09).
International Referee for the appointment of a Professor of Spirituality at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard, 2009.
Chairperson of a plenary session and of a panel of paper presentations, at the international conference on ‘Mindfulness, Spirituality, and Education,’ Dublin City University and All Hallows College, July 2013.
Chairperson at the international round-table of the Spiritual Capital Ireland Centre on ‘The Spirit of the Child,’ Waterford Institute of Technology, May 2011.
Chairperson of an international panel of presentations at the international conference on ‘Spirituality and Education,’ Dublin City University, June 2010.
Chairperson of an international panel of presentations on ‘Spirituality, Psychology and Counselling,’ at the British Association for the Study of Spirituality (BASS) Conference, London, May 2010.
Co-organiser and chairperson of an international panel on ‘Pedagogical Engagements: The Arts and Spiritual Transformation,’ the opening event of the international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Montreal, Canada, November 2009.
Invited participant in an expert group think-in on teaching spirituality as an academic discipline today, organised by the international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, Chicago, November 2008.
Co-organiser and chairperson of an international panel on “How does our scholarship and practice encourage ‘teaching for justice’ within institutions of higher education?”, the opening event of the international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in San Diego, USA, November 2007.
Chairperson of an international panel of presentations at the First European Conference on the academic study of spirituality, Milltown Institute, Dublin, 2004.
Co-organiser and chairperson of the first international conference in Ireland on Liberation theology, Drogheda, December 1977.
SELECTED PAPERS AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES
"Paying without Ceasing and the Ignatian Tradition, Zurich, June 2017.
“Authentic Subjectivity and Social Transformation,” Campion Hall, Oxford, 4 June 2016.
“Spirituality of Authenticity and Social Transformation,” 4th international conference of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality, Manchester, 24 May 2016.
“Holistic Healthcare and Spiritual Self-Presence,” opening keynote address, international conference on Spirituality and Healthcare, Trinity College Dublin, 25 June 2015.
“Authentic Subjectivity and Social Transformation”, keynote paper, international conference on ‘Holiness’, University of the Free State, Johannesburg, South Africa, May 2015.
“On Pope Francis”, invited paper at the Colloquium on Pope Francis, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, 16 April 2014.
“Spiritual Capital and Authentic Subjectivity,” keynote paper at the international conference on ‘Materiality and Sacrality,’ the first international conference of the European Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, January 2014.
‘Spirituality, Religious Socialisation, Power, and Childhood – A Narrative Approach’, opening keynote paper on at the international conference, Catholic University of Leuven, 10 July 2013.
‘The Mystagogical Practice of Authentic Interiority’, peer reviewed paper at the international conference, Dublin City University, 5 July 2013.
‘The Spiritual Practice of Authentic Interiority,’ peer reviewed paper at the international conference, St. Mary’s University College, London, 30 June 2012.
‘Spirituality and Social Concern,’ keynote paper, international conference on the study of Vincentian spirituality, All Hallows College, Dublin, 3 February 2012.
‘Spirituality and Theology,’ keynote paper, international conference on the study of Vincentian spirituality, All Hallows College, Dublin, 11 February 2012.
‘Embodied Transformation and the Hermeneutics of the Imagination,’ peer reviewed paper at the European Catholic Theology Congress, University of Vienna, August 2011.
‘Incest and Spiritual Journey,’ peer reviewed paper at the international conference on Mental Health, Practical Theology and Spirituality, All Hallows College, Dublin, June 2011.
‘Spiritual Experience in Childhood as Foundational in a Life,’ keynote paper, Spiritual Capital Ireland International Round-Table, Waterford Institute of Technology, May 2011.
Invited Presentation to the first Evangelical Christian international conference on ‘Contemporary Research in Spirituality,’ Zurich, May 2011.
‘Spirituality and Incest: Negotiating Boundaries,’ peer reviewed paper at the international conference on ‘Spirituality and Education,’ Dublin City University, June 2010.
‘Spirituality and Social Justice,’ peer reviewed paper at the inaugural international conference on ‘Spirituality in a Changing World,’ organised by the British Association for the Study of Spirituality (BASS) in Windsor, England, May 2010.
‘Authentic Spirituality and a Journey with Incest,’ peer reviewed paper at the Second European Conference on the academic study of spirituality, in St. Mary’s University College, London, July 2009.
“A Theological Perspective on the ‘Male’ Jesus and Violence Against ‘Women’,” keynote paper to the Theological Consultation, British and Irish Council of Churches, Birmingham, May 2001.
‘The Situation of Women: A Theological Challenge to Christianity’, keynote paper to the Medical Missionaries of Mary International Renewal Programme, Dublin, 11 May 2000.
‘Sin and Liberation,’ keynote paper to the British and Irish Jesuit theologians, Dublin, November, 1997.
‘Lonergan and Liberation Theology,’ keynote paper to the Friends of the Lonergan Centre, Milltown Institute, Dublin, 1989.
SELECTED INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENTS
Lectures/seminars on ‘Theological and Spiritual Aspects of Christianity and the Option for the Poor’ and ‘Theological and Spiritual Aspects of Christianity and the Option against Violence against Women,’ in
Chile (1999 and 2006),
Ethiopia (1997 and 1998),
Guatemala (1992) and
Many lectures, conferences, courses, talks and seminars to a diversity of groups including members of religious congregations, priests, formators, pastoral workers, teachers, and theology students, in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Chile, to African ambassadors, United Nations employees, and employees of the Organisation of African States in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to mental health professionals in Arusha, Tanzania, to African women refugees in Kenya, and to university students in Canada.
Numerous contributions on television, radio, in national and international newspapers, podcasts, and YouTube communications, about issues of faith and justice, including liberation theology, violence against women, the study of spirituality, spiritual capital, and Pope Francis, 1977- present.
Podcasts with Michael: http://spiritualityinstitute.ie/spire-resources-in-the-media/ and
Participant practice of the Spiritual Exercises since 1970.
Participant practice of psychoanalysis, 1988-1990.
Participant practice of psychotherapy, 1979-81.
Training in the theory of spirituality and the spiritual practices of Fr Tony De Mello, SJ by Fr de Mello, 1977.
Community development practice, 1977-78 and 1980-81
Practice-based learning training in Group Counselling, 1975-77.
Counsellor for many years.
Participant practice of spiritual direction over many years.
19 years of experience living and working among economically disadvantaged people in Ireland and overseas