Faculty Profile – Valerie Lesniak, Ph.D.2019-07-05T14:23:30-07:00
Valerie Lesniak, Ph.D.

Valerie Lesniak, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Spirituality

  • Ph.D. (1992: Christian Spirituality) Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA
  • M.A. (1984: Systematic Theology) Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, CA
  • B.A. (1971: History and Theology) Carlow University, Pittsburgh, PA

Dissertation:

Title: Suffering the Divine: An Interpretation of the Journal of Raissa Maritain

  • Associate Professor of Spirituality, Seattle University, Seattle, WA Fall, 2006 to the present
  • Assistant Professor in Spirituality, Seattle University, Seattle WA Fall, 1999 to 2006
  • Teaching Fellowship in Spirituality, University of London, Heythrop College, London, England, 1995-1999
  • Permanent Adjunct Faculty in Spirituality, School of Divinity, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, 1992-1995
  • Lecturer in Pastoral Theology, Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, CA, Spring, 1991, and Spring, 1992 (Course: Theology of Ministry)
  • Lecturer in Spirituality, Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, CA Spring, 1992 (Course: Prayer and Meditation)
  • Instructor, School of Applied Theology, Berkeley, CA Spring, 1991, and Spring, 1992 (Course: Feminist Theology)
  • Secondary School Teacher, Fontbonne Academy, Pittsburgh, PA 1971-1977
  • Junior High School Teacher, St. Titus School, Aliquippa, PA 1970-1971

Other Professional Experience:

  • “Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times,” Swedish Hospital, October 20, 2004.
  • Jesuit Mission and Identity Office Grant, Seattle University, Trip to Nicaragua, March 21-29, 2003
  • Lilly Grant for Multicultural Faculty Enrichment- Immersion in Thailand, Payap University, Chaing Mai, Thailand, January, 2002
  • Spiritual Director/Retreat Director, 1980 until the present
  • Planning Committee for Re-imaging Conference, World Council of Churches, Minneapolis, MN, November, 1993
  • Lectures, workshops on spirituality for parish groups, staffs, clergy education, teachers and nurses, 1980 until the present
  • Retreat Director, Spiritual Director, Faith Sharing Facilitator, Institute of Spirituality and Worship and School of Applied Theology, Berkeley, CA 1984-1994
  • Television Interviewer, Diocese of Oakland, CA, VIDEO EDITION, 1984-1988
  • Service Experience: Women’s Peace Mission to the Middle East, 1987
  • Mission experience in Borba, Amazonas, Brazil 1979-Human Rights Work
  • Director of Formation, Seattle University, Seattle, WA 1999 to the present
  • Editorial Review Board Member for Presence: Journal for Spiritual Directors International, Spring, 2005 and onward
  • Academic Assembly Representative for STM, Seattle University, 2007-2010
  • Committee Member to Select Director of Catholic Studies, Seattle University, 2005-06
  • Committee Member for the Revision of the MATS, MDiv and MAPS degree, Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, 2001-2004.
  • Poetry Editor for the Seattle Theology and Ministry Review, 2001-to the present
  • Committee member to Select Proposals for the Spirituality Section of the American Academy of Religion Conference, November, 2001
  • Chair of Review Committee for Field Education, School of Theology and Ministry, Winter and Spring, 1999-2000
  • Member of Strategic Planning Group, School of Theology and Ministry, 1999-2000.
  • Convenor of the M.A. Program in Spirituality, University of London, Heythrop College, London, England, 1995-1999
  • Associate and Advisory Editor Committee for The Way Journal, London, England, 1995-2001
  • Coordinator of Lay Spiritual Formation Program, School of Divinity, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, 1992-1995
  • Faculty Representative, University Faculty Senate, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, 1994-1995
  • M.A. Theology Advisory Committee, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN 1992-1995
  • GTU Alumnae/I Steering Committee, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA 1986-1988
  • Administrator/Principle, St Joseph’s Elementary School, Pittsburgh, PA. 1977-1979.
  • Co-Administrator, Fontbonne Academy, Pittsburgh, PA 1975-1977

Journal Articles:

  • “Denominational Recognition of the Charism of Spiritual Direction” Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction. Vol.11, No. 4, 2005: 42-47. (refereed journal/peer reviewed)
  • Mudras: A Hands on Experience,” Seattle Theology and Ministry Review, Vol.2, 2002:94-99. (Editor reviewed)
  • “Reimagining our Academic Journeys through Spiritual Metaphor,” Advancing Women in Leadership, Winter 10:1, 2001: 1-17. (refereed journal/peer reviewed)
  • Co-authored with Michele Collay, PhD, Sandra Gehrig, M.A., Carol Mayer, PhD.
  • The Courage to Gaze: Engaging and Receiving a Religious Work of Art,” Seattle Theology and Ministry Review, Vol 1, 2001: 69-74. (Editor reviewed)
  • “The Myths of Success,” The Way, 1989:100-109. (refereed journal/peer reviewed)
  • “Political Prophecy of Religion in the Emerging Basic Communities,” in Disciple in the Emerging Church Conference Proceedings, National Sisters Vocation Conference, 1982.
  • Poetry Sequence in Dare the Dream Conference Proceedings, National Sisters Vocation Conference, 1981.

Book Contributions:

  • Contemporary Spirituality” (Essay) in The New Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, edited by Philip Sheldrake, SCM Press in the U. K. / Westminster John Knox in the U.S.A., 2005: 7-12.
  • “New Age Spirituality” in The New Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, edited by Philip Sheldrake, SCM Press in the U.K. /Westminster John Knox in the U.S. A., 2005: 460-462.
  • “North American Spirituality, in The New Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, edited by Philip Sheldrake, SCM Press in the U.K. /Westminster John Knox in the U.S. A., 2005: 466-469.
  • Co-author, Towards Healing: Guidebook for Pastoral Teams, A Catholic Hospital Association Publication, 1984. Video programs for use in hospital cable networks are included in this program. I was involved in the production and editing of these videos and developing the accompanying guidebook.

Book Reviews:

  • Review of A Monk in the Inner City by Mary Lou Kownacki in Journal of Peace and Justice Studies, Vol. 19:2, Fall, 2009.
  • Review of Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life by Marilyn Mandala Schlitz, Cassandra Vieten and Tina Amorok, in Seattle Theology and Ministry Review, 2008:82-83.
  • Review of A Brief History of Spirituality, by Philip Sheldrake in Seattle Theology and Ministry Review, 2007: 136-137.
  • Review with Le Xaun Hy of “Into Great Silence,” by Philip Groning, Zeitgeist Films, in PsycCRITIQUES: APA Review of Books, October 24, 2007, Release 43, Article 18.
  • Review of Passionate Spirituality: Hildegard of Bingen and Hadewijch of Brabant, by Elizabeth Dreyer in Spiritus,( 2006: 6:2): 278-280.
  • Review of Minding the Spirit: The Study of Christian Spirituality, Edited by Elizabeth Dreyer and Mark S. Burrows, in Seattle Theology and Ministry Review, 2005: 111-112.
  • Review of Sacred Longings: Ecofeminist Theology and Globalization by Mary Grey in The Way, July, 2004: 150-151.
  • Review of Mysticism and Transformation edited by Janet Ruffing, in Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, Winter issue, 2003 (9:1):53-55.
  • “Gender and Spirituality: Comparative and Personal Approaches,” Review of At the Root of this Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst, by Carol Lee Flinders and Through the Earth Darkly: Female Spirituality in Comparative Perspective by Jordan Paper, in Christian Spirituality Bulletin, Vol. 7:2 (Fall/Winter 2000): 31-32.
  • Review of Vine Deloria Jr. For This Land: Writings in Religion in America edited by James Treat (New York: Routledge, 1999), Modern Believing, October, 1999, 96-97.
  • “Crossing Boundaries,” Reviews of Eastward Toward Eve: A Geography of Soul, by Madonna Kolbenschlag; Through a Glass Darkly: A Spiritual Psychology of Faith, by Mary Jo Meadows; Just Spirituality in a World of Faith, by Barbara and Tom Butler, and God and the Web of Creation by Ruth Page, in The Way, (April, 1997): 173-176.
  • “A Spirituality for the Laity?” Review of Earth Crammed with Heaven by Elizabeth Dreyer, Christian Spirituality Bulletin, 1994: 23-24.
  • Review of Christian Spirituality: High Middle Ages and Reformation, edited by Jill Raitt, Pacific Theological Review, 1988:85-86.
  • “Dancing on the Edges: Rediscovering our Spiritual Roots,” Catholic Network of Retreat Directors and Spirituality Annual Conference, January 5-7, 2007, Swannick, Derbyshire, England. Conference sole presenter for this three day conference.
  • “Reverencing the Inner Source,” Womanspirit Center, Issaquah, WA. July, 2005.
  • “Touchstone Day of Reflection for Alums,” Keynote speaker. Seattle University, School of Theology and Ministry, June 14, 2004.
  • “Eastern Contemplative Prayer,” Womanspirit Center, Issaquah, WA, July, 2004.
  • “The Mystical Way,” Seattle First Baptist Church, Seattle, WA. February, 23, 2004.
  • “The Mystical Path,” Seattle First Baptist Church, Seattle, WA. February, 29, 2004.
  • “Contemplative Prayer Practices,” Womanspirit Center, Issaquah, WA, July, 2003.
  • “Reverencing the Inner Source: Contemplative Prayer Practices,” Womanspirit Center, Issaquah, WA, February, 2003.
  • “Spirituality and Social Transformation: East- West,” Panel Respondent and Planning Team Member, October 2, 2003, Seattle University.
  • “Jesus’ Third Way: Nonviolence,” Conference MC, October, 2003, Seattle University, Seattle, WA.
  • “Making Use of Ignatius’ Application of the Senses for the Reception of a Piece of Sacred Art,” Dedication of Steven Heilmer’s Gratia Plena, St. Ignatius Chapel, Seattle University, April 26, 2001, Seattle, WA.
  • “Interfaith Blessing,” Interfaith Community Church, Seattle, WA.February, 21, 2001
  • “Spirituality at STM,” Institute of Ecumenical Theological Studies Advisory Board, April 25, 2000.
  • “Gender and Faith: Buddhist-Christian Dialogues,” March 29, 2000, Seattle, WA.
  • “Academic Stories Lives Tell: Four Women on Academic Pilgrimage” AERA SIG: Research on Women and Education Conference, East Lansing, Michigan, October 22-24, 1998. The paper was presented by one of the co-authors on behalf of the other authors.
  • “Holistic Living: Spirituality’s Quest and Challenge,” Fourth Biennial Conference on Religion and Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, September 16-18, 1998, London, England.
  • Sexuality and Spirituality Conference. A weeklong conference co-presented with Cornelius Hubbuch. National Marist Conference, North Palm Beach, Florida, July 30-August 6, 1995.
  • “Before the Garden: Women’s Bodies as Sacred: Reflections on Virgin, Mother and Crone,” Theological Insight Series, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN, April 8, 1994.
  • “Women’s Alchemy: Raissa Maritain’s Contemplative Journey,” John Ireland Library Forum, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, November 10, 1993.
  • “Journey of Reintegration: Raissa Maritain’s Last Years,” Catholic Theological Society of America Annual Convention, San Antonio, Texas, June 12, 1993.

CONTACT
Email: vlesniak@seattleu.edu
Phone: 206.296.6936

COURSES TAUGHT
Spiritualities: East and West (STMA 5200)

History of Christian Spirituality (STMM 5630)

Mysticism and Transformation (STMM 5680)

Spiritual Discernment (STMM 5700)

Images of the Sacred (STMM 5750)

AREAS OF INTEREST
Formation

Spirituality

Curriculum Vitae