Joan Chittister

Spirituality, Self, & Society

Spirituality, Self, & Society

    Joan Chittister, OSB (The Order of St. Benedict) is coming to Houston in October 14 and 15, 2016, for three public lectures on the theme, "Spirituality, Self and Society." Chittister will be presented by Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral, The Bishop John E. Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer, and The D. L. Dykes, Jr. Foundation. In addition, sponsoring congregations and communities will include St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Grace Episcopal Church, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Memorial Drive United Methodist Church, Covenant Church, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Plymouth United Church (UCC), Trinity Episcopal Church, Covenant Baptist Church, Foundation for Contemporary Theology, and The Joe B. and Louise P. Cook Foundation.

    Sr. Joan will base the three lectures on her latest book,  The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century. Lecture titles are: "Compassion: The Glue of Society"; "An Uncommon Case for A Common Good"; and "The Role of the Public Intellectual in a Just Democracy."

    Each of Chittister's lectures will be followed by audience conversations and responses by four responders representing the Wisdom literature in Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. A schedule of the two-day seminar appears below. All lectures will be in the Nave of Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, Houston 77002.

    In her role as a United Nations Ambassador, Sister Joan has worked around the world with women of other faith traditions.  She describes in  The Rule of Benedict the central place that each faith’s wisdom literature occupies in establishing common ground of understanding, mutual respect, and shared good will. She writes: 

    Wisdom literature endures precisely because it is not the history of a particular people, it is not the codification of the ethical mores of a single culture, it is not the teachings of science, it is not, in fact, devoted to the presentation of any particular body of knowledge.  Wisdom literature takes as its subject matter the meaning and manner of achieving the well-lived life.  It deals with the spiritual, the ascetic, the Divine, and the nature of virtue.  Its concerns lie in the meaning of holiness and the fundaments of happiness.Wisdom literature is common to every great tradition.  It lifts the spiritual life from the legal to the mystical, from theology to spirituality, from a study of the nature of religion to the depths of the personal spiritual life. In Hinduism, the basic outlines of the spiritual life are found in texts like the Upanishads; in Buddhism, in the Dhammapada; in Judaism, in the books of Proverbs and Job, of Ecclesiastes and Wisdom; in Islam, the writings of the Sufis; and in Christianity, in the Apothegmata or the writings of the Desert Monastics.  Out of the wells of wisdom like these have sprung the teachings of the great mystics and spiritual directors of every age and every tradition.


    Special group rates for hotel reservations are available at the  Magnolia Hotel, downtown Houston. Click on the following link for hotel reservations: Group rate rooms are limited.


      Christ-church.png The Bookstore at Christ Church Cathedral will be open throughout the seminar event. Many of Sr. Joan Chittister’s books will be available.

      Christ Church Cathedral will be offering a nursery for children ages 6 months to 10 years of age.
    • Student rates are available.  Please call Jennifer Vail, 1-800-882-7425.
    • Lunch will be catered by Epicurean Delight _ Patti Ramsey, Owner.  A vegetarian option is available.


    Claire Villarreal received her PhD from Rice University’s Department of Religion and has taught academic courses at Rice and UH Clear Lake.  She has also led meditation sessions at Dawn Mountain, the Jung Center, Discovery Green, and various other settings in Houston and Fort Worth.  She is now the Programs Manager at Dawn Mountain Center for Tibetan Buddhism.

    Melissa Weiningeris the Anna Smith Fine Senior Lecturer in Jewish Studies at Rice University. She received her Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from The University of Chicago in 2010. She teaches courses at Rice on a variety of topics, including Israel, biblical and modern Jewish literature, and gender. She is currently at work on a book on diaspora Israeli literature.

    Carissa Baldwin-McGinnisis an Episcopal priest whose vocation began in the field of human rights and faith-based community organizing. In her church-based work Carissa has led members of faith communities in outreach and the pursuit of peace and justice.  She has a deep, spiritual commitment to contemplation and non-violence.  Carissa is currently the Associate Rector at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas.

    Heba Khan is Assistant Editor at the journal of Feminist Economics, Rice University. She holds a MA in Religious Studies from Rice University.

Seminar Schedule

October 14-15, 2016

Houston, TX

Presented by

The Joe B. and Louise P. Cook Foundation

Support our Seminars

Our upcoming seminar in Houston is our biggest yet, taking place with several speakers across multiple days and venues. If you can't attend, please consider a donation to help us with the speaker fees, event logistics, and other costs to bring the progressive spiritual message to audiences.