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SXU to Host Lenten Mission Series


This Lenten season, Saint Xavier University (SXU) will host a Lenten Mission Series each Wednesday evening beginning February 21 through March 27. Each mission will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. and feature a speaker who will address the church with a spiritually nourishing topic. The events will be held in McDonough Chapel, located on the SXU campus at 3700 W. 103rd Street, Chicago, IL 60655.  

"In the Chicagoland area, we have so many gifted theologians who have rich insights to share. As a gift to the community, we are inviting people to join us each Wednesday evening of Lent for a time of spiritual nourishment with our excellent speakers," said Jenny DeVivo, OblSB, Ph.D., vice president for Mission and Heritage.

The Lenten Mission Series schedule, descriptions, and speaker bios are listed below. All are welcome; the events are free of charge. For any questions, contact the Office for Mission and Heritage at 773-341-5734 or missionandheritageFREESXU.


The Seven Deadly Sins Reconsidered
David Neff, D.Min.
February 21, 2024

The Seven Deadly Sins have long been considered as a means of spiritual diagnosis and a confessor's inquiry into a person's life. Should the categories of what constitutes sin change today to meet the challenges of the soul and our contemporary society?

David Neff, D. Min., is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He received a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. He also received a certificate diploma from the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. His studies are in the area of practical theology and contemplative spirituality.  Presently, he teaches courses in religious studies and philosophy at Saint Xavier University.

The Eucharist as Food for the Journey
Aaron Canty, Ph.D.
February 28, 2024

The Eucharist is known in the Bible and in the Christian tradition variously as communion, the body of Christ, sacrament, and sacrifice. Another dimension of the Eucharist, especially in the context of the meal aspect of the liturgy, is food. This spiritual food offers nourishment and refreshment for our spiritual journey.  

Aaron Canty, Ph.D., is a professor of religious studies and theology at Saint Xavier University. He is author of "Light and Glory: The Transfiguration of Christ in Early Franciscan and Dominican Theology" and co-editor of "A Companion to Job in the Middle Ages" and has published numerous articles on medieval theology, spirituality, and exegesis. He is director of religious education at St. Mary Parish in Park Forest and represents the Archdiocese of Chicago on the Jewish-Roman Catholic Scholars Dialogue of Chicago program. 

A God Who Responds: How Times of Fear, Grief, and Anxiety Facilitate Attachment to the Divine
Alberto Varona, Psy.D.
March 6, 2024

All humans are born with an attachment system that facilitates bonding with a caregiver. The caregiver has a system of care to respond sensitively. Attaching to God activates these same systems and God's care is felt in response. Find out how and why difficult times offer us opportunity for great intimacy with God.

Alberto Varona, Psy.D., is the director of Campus Ministry at Saint Xavier University. He is a psychologist and is certified in the Adult Attachment Interview and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. His interests include attachment theory, evolutionary psychology, philosophy of God, mysticism, ecumenism, and interfaith theology. He is a life professed member of the Community of Francis and Clare.   

Discernment as Part of the Spiritual Life
Teresa Calpino, Ph.D.
March 13, 2024

Pope Francis says that discernment is essential for anyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ. But what, exactly, is discernment? Why must we do it? When do we do it? How should we do it? This workshop will introduce the principles of Ignatian discernment and discuss how lay Christians can implement discernment into not only life's big decisions but also into the everyday, mundane choices we constantly find ourselves having to make. Participants will also be led into a short, focused reflection on how discernment might currently be at work in their lives.

Teresa Calpino, Ph.D., is a biblical scholar, specializing in New Testament and Early Christianity, with a focus on women in the New Testament writings. She is currently a lecturer in theology at Loyola University Chicago where she is also the director of mission integration for the College of Arts and Sciences. Teresa is a graduate of the Spiritual Direction program at the Siena Center in Racine, Wisconsin, with a busy practice accompanying seekers on their journeys through the spiritual life.

Living with Intention
Patricia Shutts
March 20, 2024

Is being a good Christian just trying to follow all the rules perfectly? "Perfectly" doesn't exist in humans, and thinking we can be or working really hard to be perfect only leads to frustration, guilt, and discouragement. What does God want from us? How does our loving and forgiving God slowly but surely transform us without our pushing and trying so hard? The Holy Spirit does it within us. Looking at Jesus and his understanding of who he is and what life is about, we will discover how to put on the mind and heart of Jesus Christ, making that the intention of our lives.

Patricia Shutts, MPS, holds a bachelor's degree in theology and a master's degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University Chicago and certification in spiritual guidance from Creighton University. She worked in retreat ministry at Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin, for 16 years, where she did spiritual guidance and led prayer and meditation and various spiritual programs. She worked in a variety of formation ministries in Catholic parishes and school settings for more than 20 years.

Power of the Holy Spirit: To Empower, Inspire, and Console
Joanne Kuttner, D.Min.
March 27, 2024

In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises the disciples that he will send the Holy Spirit to support them in their mission on earth. What is that mission? Who is the Holy Spirit, really? In this interactive session, we will explore these realities and begin to more deeply comprehend the presence of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives and in our world.

Joanne Kuttner, D.Min., specializes in pastoral theology and spirituality. She is a senior lecturer in theology at Lewis University. At Lewis, she has served as the program director of the Rome study abroad program for five years. She applied for and received a Lily Grant for a program called "Engaging Stories," a seven-day theology summer camp bringing together high school students from across the country. She has been the director of the program since its beginning nine years ago. She has also served in a variety of leadership roles in her parish for over 25 years.