"When leaders in various fields ask me for advice, my response is always the same: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. It is the only way for individuals, families and societies to grow, the only way for the life of peoples to progress, along with the culture of encounter, a culture in which all have something good to give and all can receive something good in return. Others always have something to give me, if we know how to approach them in a spirit of openness and without prejudice. I call this attitude of openness and availability without prejudice, social humility, and it is this that favours dialogue. Only in this way can understanding grow between cultures and religions, mutual esteem without needless preconceptions, respectful of the rights of everyone. Today, either we stand together with the culture of dialogue and encounter, or we all lose, we all lose; from here we can take the right road that makes the journey fruitful and secure." (Pope Francis, Address to leading members of Brazilian society, Saturday July 27 2013, reported online by Official Vatican Network.)

Staff

Michael Whelan, SM, PhD

Director

MichaelWhelan

Michael Whelan is a Marist priest of the Australian Province, ordained in 1972. After four and a half years of high school teaching in Burnie, Tasmania (1973-May 1977) he gained his MA from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. He lectured at the Catholic Theological Union and Aquinas Academy in Sydney from May 1979 to May 1981. He gained his PhD from Duquesne University in 1984, specializing in the study of spirituality. From 1984 to 1995 he was Head of the Spirituality Department of the Union Theological Institute in Sydney and was Principal of the Catholic Theological Union from 1989 to 1994.

He was President of the Sydney College of Divinity, 1989-1990. During these years Michael was also involved with the formation of Marist students. He is currently Director of the Aquinas Academy, Executive Director of Catalyst for Renewal (of which he is also a founding member (1994)), he edits the Catalyst journal, The Mix and is co-founder of Spirituality in the Pub (1996).

Michael has published a number of articles in the field of spirituality. He is also the author of four books: The Call to Be (1986/2000), Living Strings: An Introduction to Biblical Spirituality (1994), Without God All Things are Lawful (1995) and A Friendly Guide to Prayer (2012). Michael also edited the eight Jubilee Lectures, published by the Society of St Paul in 2006.

 

Marie Biddle, RSJ, MA, MTh

Coordinator, Spirituality Programs

MarieWEB201401Sr Marie Biddle is a member of the Sisters of St Joseph ("Brown Josephites") in Australia. She was professed in 1965. Marie gained her BA from New England University and taught for many years in high schools in New South Wales. In 1981-1983 she completed an MA at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, specializing in spirituality. She later completed an MTh through the Sydney College of Divinity. Marie has served on the Provincial Leadership Team of her Congregation. She specializes in reading the spiritual classics as an important way of enrichment in the spiritual life. Marie also facilitates retreats and is available for spiritual direction.