What is formative spirituality?

This Web site is dedicated to exploring formative spirituality – the original theory of Adrian van Kaam, designed to enable us to better understand and respond to our inmost identity, formed in the image and likeness of God, and in so doing, to attune our lives with the loving, redemptive presence and activity of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.

Adrian van Kaam was a priest who had just come into adulthood and was about to be ordained in his vocation as a Roman Catholic priest as the Nazis took over his homeland during WWII. Van Kaam became a part of the Dutch resistance, and was forced into hiding – and event that provided the seedbed for the rest of his life, study, ministry, and work that eventually culminated in the articulation of his holistic theory of human and Christian spirituality. His theory has been helping hundreds of people across the globe to receive and express the life God uniquely and communally, moment by moment, in everyday life and world.It is also tremendously helpful in providing a framework for spiritual dialog among persons of diverse faith traditions.

I had the privilege of  studying with Adrian van Kaam during 2003-2004, as well as teaching formative spirituality, at the Epiphany Academy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which he and Dr. Susan Muto founded. It was my joy to come to know Fr. Adrian as a friend and fellow Christian disciple until his death in 2007.

For more about the life and work of Adrian van Kaam, take a few minutes to watch the brief video, “Fr. Adrian van Kaam’s Pioneering Work in Formative Spirituality,” available at the Epiphany Association Web site. Or read his life story, The Ever Joyful Man of God, edited by his colleague and friend of over forty years, Dr. Susan Muto.

At the Epiphany Academy, you will find courses offered in formative spirituality, original audio books and publications by van Kaam and Muto, as well as many other resources in formative spirituality.


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