Where do Mysticism and and political action meet? How does faith empower its adherents to resist oppression? What are the origins of authentic contemporary mysticism? From the thirteenth-century Franciscan movement to African American mystics, this wide-ranging volume of essays considers exemplars of Christian mysticism (including Teresa of Avila, Ignatius of Loyola, the Quakers, and the Society of Friends) whose practices and influence brought about social change. Linking major conceptual issues and social theory, the essays examine the historical impact of mysticism in contemporary life and argue for a hermeneutical approach to mysticism in its historical context. The contributors look at how mystical empowerment can serve as a catalyst for expressing compassion in acts of justice and long-term social change. We learn how Sojourner Truth and Rebecca Cox Jackson, driven by mystical experiences to take up lives of preaching, faced the same misogynistic religious environments as did women mystics throughout history, which has submerged this key area of women’s experience. The final two essays describe the development of socially engaged Buddhism in Asia and America and the mystical roots of deep ecology.
Janet K. Ruffing, R.S.M. is professor of spirituality and spiritual direction in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University. She is author of Uncovering Stories of Faith: Spiritual Direction and Narrative and Spiritual Direction: Beyond the Beginnings as well as more than fifty articles in scholarly and pastoral journals on the history of Christian spirituality, religious life, spiritual direction, mysticism, spiritual life, and other topics.
6 x 9, 240 pages