Fifteenth Gerald G. May Seminar—with Wendy M. Wright
May 15-16, 2020
Wendy M. Wright, PhD, is Emerita Professor of Theology at Creighton University and Affiliate Faculty at Oblate School of Theology Institute for Study of Contemporary Spirituality. She earned her PhD in Late Medieval/Early Modern Contemplative Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara and received an honorary doctorate from De Sales University in 2000 for her work in the Salesian spiritual tradition. Professor Wright’s areas of expertise include the history of Christian spirituality, family spirituality and the Catholic devotional tradition. Her scholarly work has focused on the Salesian spiritual tradition founded by Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal. Wright is the author of sixteen books, the most recent of which are Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal; The Lady of the Angels and her City: A Marian Pilgrimage; Mary and the Catholic Imagination: Le Point Vierge (the 2010 Madeleva Lecture in Women’s Spirituality); and The Essential Spirituality Handbook. She has written over 60 academic articles in books, refereed journals, and monographs. Her interest in the practice of Christian spirituality has led to another 80+ articles published in pastoral publications. She and her husband are parents of three and grandparents of six.
“The Divine Kiss: The Relational Mystery at the Heart of the Gospel”
Friday, May 15, 7-9 PM
Drawing upon classic Christian spiritual wisdom with an eye toward contemporary application, Dr. Wright’s evening talk will explore the biblical story of the Visitation (Luke 1:39-56) for insights into the role of relationships on the contemplative path. The evening will include an opportunity for questions and answers.
“So Longs the Heart”
Saturday, May 16, 10 AM-4 PM
In this seminar/retreat, we will explore the Salesian spirituality of St. Francis deSales and Jane Chantal that emerged in the 17th century, seeking insights that might enrich contemporary contemplative practice. The Salesian tradition is noted for its human wisdom, theological optimism, emphasis on relationality, and its applicability to persons in all circumstances of life. What characterizes this tradition is its many ways of expressing and emphasizing the transformed heart.
Dr. Wright will introduce several distinctive Salesian themes—inner freedom and flexibility in prayer, the prayer of “simple remise” and “living between the two wills of God”—as well as practices such as the direction of intention and the cultivation of the “little virtues” (such as gentleness and humility). We will consider both the gifts and challenges of drawing from classic spiritual teaching and the ways these might or might not harmonize with current notions of human interiority and spiritual maturity.