The Sophia Center Summer Institute at Holy Names University, occurring July 18–21, will bring together spirituality, ecology, and social justice leaders to discuss nature and the soul. The center will also host a post-institute retreat from July 21–23 titled “Tapping into Nature’s Mysterious Power with Thomas Moore.”
The Summer Institute will open with an awards ceremony recognizing James Conlon, who has served as the director of the Sophia Center for more than 17 years, with the 2013 Thomas Berry Award. This award was initiated in 1999 by the Thomas Berry Foundation to recognize those who are instrumental in carrying on the work and legacy of Thomas Berry. Mary Evelyn Tucker, senior lecturer and senior research scholar at Yale University and trustee of the Thomas Berry Foundation, will present the award. The award ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 18 at the Valley Center for the Performing Arts at Holy Names University, and will be followed by the presentation “Race and the Cosmos Redux” by Brian Swimme and Barbara Holmes.
Other Summer Institute events—all located at the Valley Center for the Performing Arts at Holy Names University—include “Who’s Hanging Out with Annie Dillard at ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’? Why?” presented by Stephen Dunn at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, July 19; “The Animate Earth” presented by David Abram at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 19; and “Nature’s Soul: Walden and the Gospel” presented by Thomas Moore at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 20. Dunn is founder of the Elliott Allen Institute on Theology and Ecology at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. Abram, author of Spell of the Sensuous and Becoming Animal, is a cultural ecologist, philosopher, and performance artist. Moore is author of the bestselling book Care of the Soul and 15 other books on deepening spirituality and cultivating the soul.
The Summer Institute will close with a presentation by Conlon that explores his latest book, Sacred Butterflies: Poems, Prayers and Practices (Wyndham Hall, 2013). His book urges readers to create a dynamic integration of their interior life and everyday world. When the path forward seems clouded and unclear, readers are counseled to gain guidance and direction by paying attention to other modes of understanding, including poems, prayers, and practices. A short video accompanying the book will be screened for the first time. “Sacred Butterflies—Paying Attention to Other Modes of Understanding” will take place at 9:30 am on Sunday, July 21 at the Valley Center for the Performing Arts.
For more information on these and other Sophia Center events contact Grace Larra.
The Sophia Center is a wisdom school located at Holy Names University that celebrates earth, art, and spirit and offers master’s degrees in culture and spirituality. Holy Names University is located at 3500 Mountain Boulevard in the Oakland Hills. Founded in 1868 on the banks of Lake Merritt near downtown Oakland, the university moved to its present campus in 1957. HNU offers 20 bachelor’s degrees, five degree completion programs for adults, seven master’s degrees and various certificates and credentials. HNU has been transforming people and liberating the spirit for nearly a century and a half.