Sr. Kathleen Deignan, C.N.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Religious and Environmental Studies at Iona College, where she founded and directs the Iona Spirituality Institute and co-convenes the Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue. Sr. Deignan is also a GreenFaith Fellow engaged in religious environmental leadership and education. The President Emerita of the International Thomas Merton Society, she now animates the Merton Contemplative at Iona and sits on the board of the American Teilhard Association. She holds a master’s degree in the History of Christian Spirituality and adoctorate in Historical Theology from Fordham University.
Sr. Deignan is the author of Christ Spirit: The Eschatology of Shaker Christianity (Scarecrow Press, 1992), Thomas Merton: When the Trees Say Nothing: Writings on Nature (Sorin, 2002), and Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours (Sorin, 2007), as well as numerous articles on classical and contemporary spirituality, which have appeared in The Thomas Merton Annual, The Thomas Merton Seasonal, The Way, and many other journals.
A sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame, Sr. Deignan is the recipient of numerous awards, including the McCabe Award for Social Justice from Iona College, the Spirit Award from GreenFaith, and the Sapientia et Doctrina Award from Fordham. A leader of retreats and presenter of concerts, she is composer-in-residence for Schola Ministries, which has produced a dozen albums of her extensive repertoire.
Michael W. Higgins, Ph.D., is the leading biographer of Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen. He is a celebrated scholar, an award-winning author and documentarian, and the Vatican affairs specialist for the Globe and Mail and CTV Network. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Catholic Thought and previously served as Professor of Religious Studies and Vice-President for Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart University. He is also a Senior Fellow of Massey College, University of Toronto. Previously, he served as the president of St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo, and of St. Thomas University in New Brunswick.
Prof. Higgins has edited and co-edited, authored, and co-authored thirteen books including: Heretic Blood: The Spiritual Geography of Thomas Merton, The Jesuit Mystique, Power and Peril: The Catholic Church at the Crossroads, Stalking the Holy: The Pursuit of Saint-Making, and Genius Born of Anguish: The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen. Dr. Higgins is the recipient of many awards, including the 2013 Gold Medal for International Radio Documentaries awarded by the New York Festivals. He is a regular contributor to Commonweal and the Literary Review of Canada and a columnist for the Telegraph-Journal and the Irish Catholic.
Praise for Michael Higgins
“Michael Higgins is a first rate public intellectual. His is among the most erudite and astute voices in matters of spirituality and culture that we have in North America today.” – Prof. Joseph Raab, Co-Editor of The Merton Annual
“Michael Higgins is a gifted writer and speaker whose work on major spiritual figures such as Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen and others guarantees that his listener is in for a banquet of rich, spiritual, and life-giving fare.” – Paul M Pearson, Director, Thomas Merton Center
“Dr. Michael Higgins is truly one of the luminaries of the contemporary Catholic intellectual tradition which he has served and enhanced during his rich professional life as a writer and journalist. Consider any one of his numerous contributions to this essential feature of Catholic culture and be broadened, deepened, and enlightened in the wondrous richness of faith-filled engagement in the life of our world.” – Kathleen Deignan, C.N.D., Ph.D., President, International Thomas Merton Society