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1977 …2022

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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Michael O’Sullivan is Director and Treasurer of the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE - https://spiritualityinstitute.ie/), a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, South Africa, and a founding member of the Spirituality in Society and the Professions (SpirSoP) Research Group at South East Technological University (SETU). He has degrees in Social Science, Philosophy, and four degrees in theology up to PhD level. All his degrees before his PhD were achieved with first place and first class honours and his PhD was approved without modifications. He also has training and experience in spiritual accompaniment, counselling, and community development.

He worked as a Jesuit missionary priest in Chile during the reign of General Pinochet. For his story in those years go to YouTube: ‘A Jesuit with the People’ (2018). He has also worked in Central America and East Africa and among socio-economically disadvantaged people in Dublin, Ireland.

Having worked originally as a specialist in liberation theology and feminist theology Dr O'Sullivan has dedicated himself since the early years of the millennium to the development of spirituality as an applied academic discipline. From 2015-2021 he was Programme Director or Programme Leader of the unique MA in Applied Spirituality which he did so much to develop and to lead through approval processes in different third level institutions, including SETU. He has served in many other leadership roles to do with the spread and development of the discipline and his current roles include serving on the Executive Board of Directors and Board of Trustees of the International Network for the Study of Spirituality (INSS - https://spiritualitystudiesnetwork.org/), and the editorial boards of Spiritus and the Journal for the Study of Spirituality, two of the world's leading journals for the study of spirituality. He is the Links Coordinator for INSS with organisations engaged in spirituality study and research in a host of countries (https://spiritualitystudiesnetwork.org/page-1075347).

 

Teaching

Dr O'Sullivan has taught a great variety of modules at doctoral, masters, and undergraduate level. He has taught various modules in the MA in Applied Spirituality curriculum at what is now South East Technological University, having co-authored the programme, co-led it through its approval process, and served as founding programme leader from 2016-2021. He has taught a great variety of modules in theology, philosophy, sociology, and spirituality in various third level colleges. His teaching includes modules taught in the MA in Applied Spirituality in other third level colleges besides SETU during his years in those colleges as director for those programmes. Currently he is developing authentic subjectivity as a methodology for teaching and researching spirituality in higher education. 

 

Research Interests

Dr O'Sullivan is a founding member of SpirSoP. He runs the spirituality research book club of SpirSoP. Through study of books in the field of spirituality and the professions members get to share with each other about such literature, to develop their own thinking and research on the subjects, and to grow into a community of co-learners with each other. Through his many international leadership roles in the field of spirituality studies Dr O'Sullivan is making linkages between SpirSop and organisations and colleagues in the field of spirituality studies around the world. For example, he is the Conference Chair for the biennial conference of the International Network for the Study of Spirituality which will be held in SETU in May 2023. He was a member of the organising committee for the two previous international conferences in the field of spirituality studies and research held at SETU (2018 and 2019). His own research interests include the academic study of spirituality, spirituality and social concern, spirtuality and childhood, spirituality and the situation of women, and spiritual care.

Courses created or developed

Co-author with Dr Richard Hayes of the MA in Applied Spirituality (WIT); Co-author with Dr Bernadette Flanagan of the MA in Applied Christian Spirituality and the MA in Christian Spirituality, All Hallows College, Dublin City University;

Curriculum development of the MA in Applied Spirituality (WIT); 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, the Higher Education and Training Accreditation Council , 2005, and the National Council for Education Awards, 2001.

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.

 

Consultancy

University of the Free State, South Africa, Contemplative Leadership Centre, Princeton, NJ, Centre for the Academic Study of Christian Spirituality, University of Zurich, Spiritual Capital and Moral Injury Institute, Madrid and New York, Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas, Gregorian University, Rome, Titus Brandsma Institute, Nijmegen

Mass Media

Numerous contributions since 1977 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. See, for example, https://spiritualityinstitute.ie/podcasts/ ,  https://spiritualityinstitute.ie/videos/ , and https://soundcloud.com/user-159567777

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Kimmage Mission Institute

20002005

Award Date: 23 Oct 2005

Masters Degree, Regis College, Toronto Schools of Theology

Sep 1984Jul 1986

Award Date: 15 Oct 1986

Masters Degree, University of Toronto

Sep 1984Jul 1986

Award Date: 01 Oct 1986

Bachelors Degree, Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Dublin

Sep 1978Jun 1981

Award Date: 23 Oct 1981

Bachelors Degree, Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Dublin

Oct 1974Jun 1976

Award Date: 23 Oct 1976

Bachelors Degree, University College Dublin

01 Oct 197115 Sep 1974

Award Date: 01 Oct 1974

External positions

Member of the Editorial Board, Journal for the Study of Spirituality

2021 → …

External Examiner, University of St Andrews

20212022

Links Coordinator on behalf of the International Network for the Study of Spirituality (INSS) with organisations engaged in spirituality studies around the world

2019 → …

Member of the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees, International Network for the Study of Spirituality (INSS)

2016 → …

Founding Director, Spirituality Institute for Research and Education

2015 → …

Member of the Spirituality in Research and Innovation Group (SRIG), Trinity College Dublin

2015 → …

Founding member of the International Relations Committee of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality

2015Dec 2021

Fellow, European Institute of Spirituality in Society and the Professions, Corvinus University of Budapest

2014 → …

Research Associate, University of Hull

2014 → …

Founding Leadership Board Member of the Centre for the Academic Study of Christian Spirituality, University of Zurich

2014 → …

Research Fellow , University of The Free State

2013 → …

Cluster Leader of PhD and MA by research in spirituality students, All Hallows College

20122016

Member , Spiritual Directors International

2012 → …

Member of the Editorial Board, Spiritus - A Journal of Christian Spirituality

2011 → …

Founding Director of the MA in Applied Christian Spirituality and Spirituality Summer School, All Hallows College

20102015

Head of Theological Studies, All Hallows College

Jun 2009Aug 2011

Senior Lecturer, All Hallows College

20092015

International Referee for the appointment of a Professor of Spirituality at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University

2009

Member of the Board of Directors of the international Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality

Nov 2006Nov 2010

Member of the Steering Committee of the Christian Spirituality Study Unit of the American Academy of Religion

Nov 2006Nov 2009

Member, Christian Spirituality Unit of the American Academy of Religion

2006 → …

Director of the Higher Diploma and MA in Applied Christian Spirituality, Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Dublin

May 2005Oct 2011

Senior Lecturer, Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Dublin

19972010

Researcher, Irish Commission for Justice and Peace

Sep 1976Aug 1977

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