The Sophia Center

Sophia Center

Holy Names University's Sophia Center in Culture and Spirituality offers students of the world a meaningful immersion into and investigation of the convergent forces of religion, art, justice, and science. For the Conversations Series, it regularly invites from the community artists, activists, ritual makers, theologians, ecologists and other contemporary spiritual leaders to share their wisdom and bring fresh perspective to the students and faculty.

Unless otherwise noted, all Sophia events are $15.00. Please call 510-436-1046 or 800-794-8813 to RSVP.

A Christian Understanding of “Christ” as Cosmic Power

Date: Friday, October 17, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Sophia Center Classroom
Pricing: all Sophia events are $15.00. Please call 510-436-1046 or 800-794-8813 to RSVP.

For an increasing number of Christians, an understanding of the story of the universe and what we know from science is enhanced by the “Christ Story” and the perspective of faith. Building on the insights of his well-received Repair My House: Becoming a “Kindom” Catholic, Michael Crosby will show how his faith makes the story of evolution part and parcel of “God’s Economy” which must be the business of all of us.  

Michael Crosby is a Capuchin Franciscan living in Milwaukee. His friary is involved in direct service to the people of the central city area. Mike’s ministry is twofold: preaching and writing, along with socially responsible investing. For more about Mike see his website:

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Spiritual Entrepreneurship

Date: Friday, November 14, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Sophia Center Classroom
Pricing: all Sophia events are $15.00. Please call 510-436-1046 or 800-794-8813 to RSVP.

Dr. William Hynes and Denise Rushing will introduce and explore both the principles and practical application of spiritual entrepreneurship. The focus will be on entrepreneurial energy as a transformational force in our world. We will explore the role entrepreneurship plays in evolving individual and collective spiritual consciousness, catalyzing communities and transforming the human economy into one that is just and sustainable.

Dr. William J. Hynes is a distinguished teacher, scholar, and educational leader and the president of Holy Names Dr. William J. Hynes is a distinguished teacher, scholar, and educational leader. After 40 years in higher education in Illinois, Colorado, North Carolina, California, and Wisconsin, Bill. Hynes returned to the Bay Area as President of Holy Names University. Dr. Hynes has been a professor, an administrator, an effective fund raiser, and the author of three books. He is concluding work on a fourth book on the Principles of Entrepreneurship based upon interviews with 30 entrepreneurs. His previous book, Mythical Trickster Figures with William Doty, was cited by The Times Literary Supplement as “an admirable successor” to Paul Radin’s classic study.

Denise Rushing, MA in Culture and Spirituality is an entrepreneur, business strategist and author of two books at the intersection of entrepreneurship, evolutionary spirituality and ecological design. Her third book Entrepreneurship as a Spiritual Practice will be available this summer. She is the creator of “the Big Why” telesummit and co-creator of Growing Edge ( a blog and an ezine dedicated to exploring both the inner realm and inspired action. Influenced by evolutionary spirituality and ecological design, Denise sees entrepreneurial energy as key to creating a just and sustainable world. She leads sessions on spiritual entrepreneurship, engaged spirituality, and living the new story.

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Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy

Date: Friday, December 5, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Sophia Center Classroom
Pricing: all Sophia events are $15.00. Please call 510-436-1046 or 800-794-8813 to RSVP.

In this workshop, Joanna will guide us in the Work That Reconnects. She will offer teachings and interactive processes that enliven our understanding of the hidden promise in the planetary crisis, and of our own power and authority to act on behalf of life on Earth. Drawn from deep ecology, living systems theory, and spiritual traditions, this group work grows our courage, resilience, and solidarity for the healing of our world. It helps us to clarify the survival skills needed for navigating the challenging times ahead, as well as the unique and particular roles we each want to play in the Great Turning. This experiential workshop is appropriate for all who wish to engage deeply with themselves and others, regardless of any prior experience with the Work That Reconnects.

Joanna Macy, Ph.D. Author, teacher, and eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, Ph.D., is known the world over for her workshops for social and environmental activists. Drawing on Buddhism, systems theory, and deep ecology, her Work That Reconnects helps people transform despair and apathy, in the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, into constructive, collaborative action. It brings a new way of seeing the world, as our larger living body, freeing us from the assumptions and attitudes that now threaten the continuity of life on Earth. Joanna is the author of several books, including her most recent with co-author Chris Johnstone, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy.

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Past Events

New Cosmology and the Great Spirit

Friday, September 12, 2014

Faith in the Great Spirit is a universal feature of indigenous – First Nations – peoples. It translates into an understanding of Holy Mystery significantly different from our conventional understandings of God – transcending all our inherited dualisms, and experience the Holy One deeply within creation’s evolutionary process and not apart from it.

Diarmuid O’Murchu, a member of the Sacred Heart Missionary Order, and a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin Ireland, is a social psychologist most of whose working life has been in social ministry, predominantly in London, UK. In that capacity he has worked as a couple’s counsellor, in bereavement work, AIDS-HIV counselling, and, in more recent times, with homeless people and refugees. As a workshop leader and group facilitator he has worked in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, The Philippines, Thailand, India, Peru and in several African countries, facilitating programmes on Adult Faith Development. His best known books include Quantum Theology (1996 - revised in 2004), Ancestral Grace (2008), Jesus in the Power of Poetry (2009), Christianity’s Dangerous Memory (2011), In the Beginning was the Spirit (2012), and God in the Midst of Change (2013).

Sophia Center 2014 Summer Institute and Post-Institute Retreat

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Legacy of Thomas Berry in "Journey of the Universe"

Join our outstanding faculty as we take another significant step to create together the mutually enhancing world about which Thomas dreamed.

Thursday, July 17

7:00 p.m. – The Evolution of Thomas Berry’s “New Story”
Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim

Friday, July 18

9:30 a.m. – Quantum Consciousness
Brian Swimme

2:00 p.m. – A Great Work of our Time: Climate Justice Coalitions in California Rise Up
Carl Anthony and Paloma Pavel

7:00 p.m. – Everybody Has a Meadow: Conversations and Commitments
Helen Prejean and Marya Grathwohl

Saturday, July 19

9:30 a.m. – Dreaming a Bigger Dream!
Belvie Rooks and Dedan Gills

2:00 p.m. – Peter Mayer in Concert
Peter Mayer

7:00 p.m.The New Story: Thomas Berry’s Cosmology of Connection
Drew Dellinger

Sunday, July 20

9:30 a.m. – News From The Universe: A Communion of Subjects
Jim Conlon

11:00 am — Missa Gaia Celebration

Post-Institute Retreat: July 20-22

Beauty and Danger: A Spiritual Path Inspired by Thomas Berry
Led by Helen Prejean and Marya Grathwohl.