Date of Award

Summer 2005

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Copeland, M. S.

Second Advisor

Fierer Hinze, Christine

Third Advisor

Hughson, Thomas


This dissertation has its origins in my undergraduate work at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. Here I was introduced to the mystics of Western Christianity and their wisdom regarding the nature of God, humanity, and the relationship between the two. At the same time, my eyes were opened regarding the importance of theology to the construction of human communities reflective of the Kingdom of God as a concrete historical reality. However, although my interest was piqued, the connection between the mystical and the political remained vague, and I entered the College of St. Catherine in an effort to discover and examine the manner in which mysticism could contribute to the formation of social structures and institutions that promoted justice and the flourishing of human life. At St. Catherine's, the relationship between the mystical and the political became more clear to me as I learned about the mystical life rather than mystical experience. If mysticism affects every aspect of the person, then it necessarily has an impact on the practical affairs of human living including the manner in which we live with one another. A difficulty remained, however, because the application of mystical wisdom to political matters is complicated by the affective and symbolic nature of mystical experience. Therefore, at the end of my work at St. Catherine's, I left recognizing the connection between the mystical and political, but was unable to grasp the manner in which mystical wisdom could be applied in the political realm. I came to Marquette University in search of this missing aspect of my theological work. ii At Marquette, I believe that I have found the element lacking in my previous work. In the work of Bernard Lonergan I discovered the importance of giving attention to the human subject in all facets of human living, including mystical experience. Prior to my encounter with Lonergan' s work I fell into the common mistake of trying to understand the experience rather than the manner in which the human person is present and operating in mystical life. If we do not understand the content of mystical experience, we cannot apply that wisdom in other aspects of our lives. This dissertation, then, is my attempt at elucidating Lonergan's contribution to a mystical-political theology. If we are called to live in love with one another, those individuals who have experienced union with Divine Love stand to make a decided contribution to the societies in which they and we live. With Lonergan's insights into the operations of the human subject we are in a better position to appropriate and apply mystical wisdom to the political dimensions of human living.



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