Summer Institute

The Summer Institute of Christian Spirituality (SICS)

Celebrating its 25th year in 2018, our annual institute offers a unique blend of academic challenge and spiritual enrichment, specifically designed for adults seeking to deepen their faith, exploring the vast traditions of Christian spirituality and, if you choose, for pursuing one of our certificate or degree programs. The curriculum is made up of a series of one-credit courses offered in one-week or intensive weekend sessions, studying a variety of spiritual masters and mystics, along with biblical, liturgical and social themes. Taught in the Jesuit tradition of excellence, courses may be taken for graduate or undergraduate credit or on an easy listening basis (no required assignments, no grade, no transcript record kept). While rooted in Catholic theology, the program is fully ecumenical and welcomes persons of all faiths.

We hope you will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity for learning and renewal. If you have never attended Spring Hill College or the Summer Institute, and wish to receive more information about the event, please email (theology@shc.edu) or call us (251-380-4458 or toll-free 877-857-6742) and we will be glad to add you to our mailing list or answer any questions you may have. Click here for testimonials and photos from 2017.

Thank you for visiting our web site and please let us know if we can help you in any way. We look forward to the opportunity of hosting you next summer.

Dr. Timothy R. Carmody
Professor & Director of Graduate Programs in Theology and Ministry
carmody@shc.edu

Summer Institute 2018

“If we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and them. Let us open wide our hearts. It is joy which invites us. Press forward and fear nothing.” ~Saint Katherine Drexel

Mobile

Session I: June 4-8, 2018

Morning: Monday - Friday, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

SPT528 Spirituality of Rule of St. Benedict (1 credit hour) (Historical)
THL575 Renewal of Religious Life in Vatican II (3-credit option available online) (Historical)
Rev. John B. Switzer, ObSB, PhD

Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-c. 550) is remembered as “the Father of Western Monasticism,” having bequeathed to the church a rule for communal life that continues to inspire countless communities of men and women. This course will be an exploration of that classic text, concentrating on the primary themes that serve as the foundation for the successful sharing of a common life. Our primary goal will be the identification of a spirituality that undergirds the Rule of Saint Benedict, and therefore the communities that take their cue from that text. Students seeking another credit or two may supplement their inquiry through enrollment in an online format where they will study background material to the Rule of Saint Benedict and produce a major research paper.

Evening: Monday - Thursday, 6:30-9:00 p.m.

SPT581 Christ and the Abyss (1 credit hour) (Pastoral)
Dr. Matthew Baugh, SJ

All efforts to make sense of the world must come to terms with one reality above all: tragedy. Everywhere we turn, we are confronted by fundamental contradictions. Though possessed of an intellect and a spiritual life that reach out to the infinite, we are nevertheless finite beings who live in the shadow of our eventual death. We sense that, in some fundamental way, the world is not as it ought to be—indeed, that we ourselves are not as we ought to be or could be. Though the sight is often too fearsome to take in, the human person remains perched at the edge of the abyss. In the end, there are only two real responses possible. We can either gather up all our internal strength and try to impose our own meaning on an essentially meaningless world by a sheer act of will, or we can say ‘yes’ to the world in all its ambiguities and contradictions in an act, not of self-will, but of love and trust. In this course, we examine the tragic dimension of human life through the great variety of forms that been marshaled for this purpose over centuries: drama, music, fiction, non-fiction, film, and philosophical and theological works. Our primary guide will be a Christian theologian (Balthasar) in dialogue with an atheist philosopher (Nietzsche).

SPT551/451 & 552/452 The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius I & II (1 credit hour each) (Pastoral, Historical)
Rev. Christopher Viscardi, SJ

A manual for directors rather than a book to be read, The Spiritual Exercises emerged out of St. Ignatius Loyola’s personal experience of conversion and have subsequently had a major impact on modern spirituality. Part I will be offered during the five days of class and focus on the conversion and life of Ignatius. Part II will focus on the structure and dynamics of the Exercises and will be offered online, with a flexible time frame, allowing students to complete the course any time before the end of July.

Session 2: June 11-15, 2018

Morning: Monday - Friday, 9:00-11:00 a.m.

SPT568 Spiritual Charism of St. Katherine Drexel (1 credit hour) (Historical)
Sr./Dr. Mary Ann Stachow, SBS, PhD

The life of Katharine Drexel who was canonized in 2000 presents a challenge to contemporary American society, as she, a wealthy socialite and heiress, freely chose to forsake the privileges of wealth to devote her life to the service of the two groups most rejected by 19th century American society, the Native Americans and African Americans. This course will explore the formative influences of family and faith on Katharine as we examine writings by her in letters, which have been preserved by the religious congregation she founded, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and about Katharine. Among those published sources are Saint Katharine: The Life of Katharine Drexel by Cordelia Frances Biddle, a relative of Katharine, who had personal access to family memories of the Drexel sisters, and Katharine Drexel: A biography by Sr. Consuela Marie Duffy, SBS who had personally known Mother Katharine and who was able to utilize both SBS memories and SBS archives. So in this course we will trace the fingerprints of grace that led the wealthy socialite to become a servant of the poor and oppressed.

Evening: Monday-Thursday, 6:30-9:00 p.m.

SPT532 Letter of James: Faith in Action (1 credit hour) (Biblical)
Dr. Timothy Carmody

The Letter of James was famously called by Martin Luther an “epistle of straw . . . for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it.”  But more recent studies have shown that while it does not focus on the passion and resurrection but seems to throw together many different topics and sayings, it does reveal the heart of the gospel: That we are called to a life of perfection in living with full integrity. In December of 1983 Joseph Cardinal Bernardin gave a lecture at Fordham University on a Consistent Ethic of Life, also known as “the seamless garment” of Catholic moral teaching. Long before this was articulated so forcefully by Cardinal Bernardin, the Letter of James makes a similar argument.  James says, “For whoever keeps the whole law, but falls short in one particular, has become guilty in respect to all of it” (2:10).  This course will use the book, A Spirituality of Perfection by Patrick Hartin to examine the Letter of James as a unified message to Christians.  This spirituality of perfection is a call to the integrity of faith that is lived out in action.  Faith and action must be united by one unified ethic, found most clearly stated in the Sermon on the Mount.

SPT525/425 & SPT526/426 Prayer & Discernment I & II (1 credit hour each) (Pastoral)
Rev. Christopher Viscardi, SJ

Both prayer and discernment play a central role in the spirituality of St. Ignatius, especially in the dynamics of The Spiritual Exercises. This course will examine the theology of prayer and the practice and theory of discernment as they have developed in the Christian tradition over the centuries. Part I will be offered during the five days of class and focus primarily on prayer. Part II will focus primarily on discernment and be offered online, with a flexible time frame, allowing students to complete the course any time before the end of July.

Costs in Mobile
    • Earned Credit: $345 per credit hour
    • Easy Listening (no transcript record kept): $125 per credit hour
    • On-campus lodging: $33/night
    • Cookouts: $10 each

Atlanta

All events at Ignatius House Retreat Center. See schedule below.

Weekend I: June 15-17, 2018

SPT528 Spirituality of Rule of St. Benedict (1 credit hour) (Historical)
THL575 Renewal of Religious Life in Vatican II (3-credit option available online) (Historical)
Rev. John B. Switzer, ObSB, PhD

Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-c. 550) is remembered as “the Father of Western Monasticism,” having bequeathed to the church a rule for communal life that continues to inspire countless communities of men and women. This course will be an exploration of that classic text, concentrating on the primary themes that serve as the foundation for the successful sharing of a common life. Our primary goal will be the identification of a spirituality that undergirds the Rule of Saint Benedict, and therefore the communities that take their cue from that text. Students seeking another credit or two may supplement their inquiry through enrollment in an online format where they will study background material to the Rule of Saint Benedict and produce a major research paper.

SPT525/425 & SPT526/426 Prayer & Discernment I & II (1 credit hour each) (Pastoral)
Rev. Christopher Viscardi, SJ

Both prayer and discernment play a central role in the spirituality of St. Ignatius, especially in the dynamics of The Spiritual Exercises. This course will examine the theology of prayer and the practice and theory of discernment as they have developed in the Christian tradition over the centuries. Part I will be offered during the five days of class and focus primarily on prayer. Part II will focus primarily on discernment and be offered online, with a flexible time frame, allowing students to complete the course any time before the end of July.

Weekend II: June 22-24, 2018

SPT568 African American Spirituality (1 credit hour) (Historical)
Dr. Diana Hayes

This course provides a critical introduction to and overview of the almost 500-year spiritual journey of Americans of African Descent in the United States. Beginning with the spirituality of their ancestors in Africa itself, we explore how that spirituality was brought to the United States and forged in the furnace of the Middle Passage, slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights and other liberation movements. In the US, it developed into a spiritual foundation that enabled African Americans to embrace Christianity while rejecting its distortions and to persevere in their struggle towards freedom and full citizenship. The spiritualities of other faiths and their influence on Black religiosity, including Islam, Judaism, and contemporary Yoruba religion as well as African Caribbean religions (Vodoun, Candomble, etc.), will also be explored if time allows.

Required Texts:
1. Davis, Cyprian, The History of Black Catholics in the US (Crossroads) Ch. 1 (provided online)

2. Hayes, Diana L., Forged in the Fiery Furnace: African American Spirituality (Orbis)

SPT551/451 & 552/452 The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius I & II (1 credit hour each) (Pastoral, Historical)
Rev. Christopher Viscardi, SJ

A manual for directors rather than a book to be read, The Spiritual Exercises emerged out of St. Ignatius Loyola’s personal experience of conversion and have subsequently had a major impact on modern spirituality. Part I will be offered during the five days of class and focus on the conversion and life of Ignatius. Part II will focus on the structure and dynamics of the Exercises and will be offered online, with a flexible time frame, allowing students to complete the course any time before the end of July.

Schedule for Atlanta Intensive Weekend
Friday
    • Dinner: 6:00 p.m.
    • Class: 7:00–9:00 p.m.
 Saturday
    • Class: 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. & 1:00–4:00 p.m.
    • Lunch: 12:00–1:00 p.m.
    • Social, Dinner and Q&A with professor: 6:00 p.m.
Sunday
    • Class: 9:15–11:15 a.m.
    • Mass: 11:30 a.m.
    • Lunch: following Mass
Costs In Atlanta
    • Earned Credit: $345 per credit hour
    • Easy Listening (no transcript record kept): $125 per credit hour
    • Every registered student must choose one option for each weekend:
      • 2 days of room and all meals: $200 per weekend
      • 2 days of all meals: $100 per weekend
      • Saturday lunch, reception and dinner: $50 per weekend
      • Hospitality and Saturday lunch: $30 per weekend
      • Retreat Costs: Please contact Ignatius House Retreat Center at (404) 255-0503 or Ignatiushouse.org.

2018 Faculty

Dr. Matthew Baugh, SJ

Dr. Matthew Baugh, S.J., is a Jesuit scholastic at Boston College, where he is engaged in advanced studies in theology. After receiving a B.A. from Duke University in 2001, he studied international relations at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar eventually receiving his doctorate. He also earned a law degree from Yale Law School and a graduate diploma in philosophy from Regis College in the University of Toronto. Since entering the Society of Jesus in 2007, Baugh has served in a variety of ministries, including a three-year assignment at Spring Hill College, where he taught political science and Ignatian spirituality.

Dr. Timothy Carmody 

Timothy Carmody is a Professor of Theology at Spring Hill College since 1989 and currently the Director of Graduate Programs in Theology and Ministry. Dr. Carmody is a graduate of The Catholic University of America and a long-time member of the Catholic Biblical Association. His book, Reading the Bible (Paulist Press 2004), is a well-used textbook in college courses and Bible study groups. He is also the author of The Gospel of Mark: Question by Question (Paulist Press 2008).

Dr. Diana Hayes

Diana L. Hayes is Emerita Professor of Systematic Theology at Georgetown University. She holds the Juris Doctor(Law), PhD (Religious Studies) and Doctor of Sacred Theology degrees (STD) and is the first African American woman to earn the Pontifical Doctorate from The Catholic University of Leuven (Louvain, BE). Dr. Hayes is the author/editor of 9 books and over 75 book chapters and articles. She is a member of the International Grail.

Sr./Dr. Mary Ann Stachow, SBS, PhD

Assistant Professor of New Testament Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans. She holds a PhD in Biblical Languages and Literature from the Catholic University of America. Sr. Mary Ann, who entered the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (SBS) in 1962, was also privileged to spend two summers working in the SBS congregational archives as part of a research project for Xavier University where she has been a member of the Theology Department since 1981.

Rev. John B. Switzer, ObSB, PhD

John Switzer is Professor of Theology at Spring Hill College, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding. John is an award-winning teacher and has taught in the Summer Institute of Christian Spirituality for many years. He is an oblate-member of the Community of St. Joseph, an Episcopalian Benedictine community with its motherhouse located in Natchez, Mississippi. He is an ordained priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi.

Rev. Christopher Viscardi, SJ

Fr. Christopher Viscardi, SJ, completed his doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, in the area of spirituality. His dissertation was a study of the conversion theology of Jonathan Edwards, the New England Puritan and spiritual leader. Since 1979 Fr. Viscardi has been at Spring Hill College, where he is currently chair of the department of theology. Over the past few years he has been working on a history of the Jesuit, Catholic mission and identity of Spring Hill College, from 1830 to the present, based on his sabbatical research in the Jesuit archives in Rome, Paris, New Orleans and Spring Hill College.

Looking for information on Silent Ignatian Directed Retreats?