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Online Certificate Program Course Listings

Course Group:

Mystical Theology 

Class 1:


Mysticism in the Church Fathers

In this class, students will investigate the way that the early Christians and Fathers of the Church lived out the call to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (see, Mt. 5:48). We will consider the spirituality of saintly Catholics who lived in an age of martyrdom, the move of many Christians to the desert once persecutions ceased, and survey the early Christian views on asceticism, prayer, and Christian perfection.

(Instructor: Ryan J. Brady, PhD)

Class 2:


The Mendicant Mystics: St. Catherine of Siena, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Ávila. 

This class will examine the important spiritual work of ​St. Catherine of Siena, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Ávila. We will consider their contributions to mystical and ascetical theology as well as the light which they shed on living the Christian life. The course will examine excerpts from their most important works and cover topics like prayer, contemplation, grace, the dark night of the soul, and the purification of the soul in charity as it approaches the infinite God. 

(Instructors: Taylor Patrick O'Neill, PhD)

Class 3:


Charity and the Three Stages of the Spiritual Life 

‘Charity and the Three Stages of the Spiritual Life’ will consider the normative movement of grace and deification in the spiritual life of the Christian. The course will study the primary role of charity and the necessity of grace. It will examine the stages through which the Christian passes and their proper characteristics, including the rooting out of vice, the continuing purification of our love of God, purging disordered self-love, the abandonment to divine providence, and culminating in, as St. Thomas says, “a partaking of the Divine Nature.” Special attention will be given to the spiritual master of the 20th century Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, who synthesizes and elucidates the larger Thomistic mystical tradition. 

(Instructor: Taylor Patrick O'Neill, PhD)

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