Irish Jesuit honoured in US

November 30, 2023 in Featured News, News

Dr Michael O’Sullivan SJ has been elected President of the International Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality (SSCS). The official inauguration took place in San Antonio, Texas, on 18 November 2023. He is the first Jesuit to be elected to this position.

The membership of the SSCS is drawn from universities, seminaries, and higher education colleges in various countries, especially the United States. The photo above shows Dr Michael O’Sullivan SJ (top centre) presiding at the meeting of the SSCS Board of Directors in San Antonio, Texas, on 19 November.

Dr O’Sullivan held various roles in the SSCS before becoming its President. He was Vice President, a member of the Board of Directors, and founding member of the International Relations Committee. He is a continuing member of the Society’s journal, Spiritus » widely regarded as a leader in the field of spirituality studies.

He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the International Network for the Study of Spirituality (INSS) » the other leading international organisation for the study of and research in spirituality in higher education. Most of its members are from the UK. When Michael addressed the fourth biennial conference of SSCS in Adelaide, Australia, he was introduced as “probably the most networked scholar in the field of spirituality studies”.

Michael is a native of Limerick who was educated by the Jesuits there in Crescent College. He joined the Jesuit Order in 1969 » and spent some time as a missionary in Chile during the time of the violent Pinochet regime »

He is also the founding director of the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE) » which is based in Dublin. The Institute collaborates with the South East Technological University (SETU) to deliver postgraduate programmes and research activity in the field of spirituality.

In May of this year,2023, Michael organised and chaired the seventh biennial conference of this organisation at the South East Technological University, Waterford Campus, and gave one of the keynote papers titled ‘Spirituality in the University’. The title of the conference was ‘Spirituality, Critical Reflection, and Professional Practice in an Uncertain World’.

It was the first time that INSS had held its conference outside the UK, and it was the most significant
conference for the study of spirituality ever held in Ireland, attracting scholars, researchers, and practitioners from 25 countries and 5 continents.

Photo left to right: Dr Leonard McMahon, Dr Bo Karen Lee (Past President), Dr Liza Anderson, Dr August Higgins, Dr Amy Maxey, Dr Shannon McAlister (VP), Michael (President), Dr Francis McAloon, SJ, Dr Noelia Molina, Dr Andre Brouillette, SJ, Dr Paul Houston, Blankenship-Lai, Dr Tim Geoffrion, Dr Rachel Wheeler
(Secretary/Treasurer); + absent from the photo: Dr Trey Clark.