"True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature. Today’s media do enable us to communicate and to share our knowledge and affections. Yet at times they also shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experiences. For this reason, we should be concerned that, alongside the exciting possibilities offered by these media, a
deep and melancholic dissatisfaction with interpersonal relations, or a harmful sense of isolation, can also arise." (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, #47.)

 

 

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.