The Rev. Suzanne Guthrie, a noted author and spiritual guide, will be CDSP’s second St. Margaret’s Visiting Professor of Women in Ministry.
Dean Mark Richardson announced that Guthrie, author of “Praying the Hours” and “Grace’s Window,” will offer a course on spiritual practices, devotions and praying during the spring semester next year.
“Our students will be able to get a taste for ‘practices’ of spirituality, varieties of prayer practice, and ministries of spiritual direction on their own campus with one of the leaders in our tradition,” Richardson said. “Suzanne Guthrie will be able to present students with the genius of Anglican spiritual traditions, while also offering a still larger diversity of practices in other traditions.”
Guthrie has served as a parish priest, a Christian education consultant and in chaplaincies at Vassar College and Cornell University. She and her husband, Bill Consiglio, are the parents of four grown children. Guthrie traces her interest in mystical theology to the “Autobiography of Teresa of Avila,” which she read at age 22.
“Christian leaders need to have a deep spiritual practice in order to sustain themselves in the ordinary stress of ministry,” Guthrie says. “Also, the world is changing very, very fast, and I think ministers have to be ready for catastrophe. So I think it is important to develop a vibrant theology of prayer out of which to live an active life and be able to respond to people who are suffering, with empathy and compassion, even if not in words.”
Guthrie’s course will focus on a wide range of spiritual practices including monastic practices, lectio divina, body prayer, intercessions, rules of life, and devotional lifestyles.
“I’ve been having fun crafting this course because there’s an unlimited number of ways it can be done,” Guthrie says. “It’s like creating a palette of colors and textures for a painting.”
Richardson said that as the visiting professor of women in ministry, Guthrie will have “the flexibility to work with students in groups and one-on-one, and both in classroom settings and informal contexts.”
The St. Margaret’s professorship was inaugurated last fall at CDSP on the 40th anniversary of the ordination of the first women to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church. The professorship was made possible by generous support from women who taught or studied at the seminary. The chair is named in honor of St. Margaret’s House, a Berkeley-based institution that trained deaconesses and laywomen for ministry in the Episcopal Church from 1909-66.