School of Theology and Ministry
Faculty

Valerie Lesniak, Ph.D.

  •  Valerie Lesniak
    Director of Formation & Associate Professor
    (206) 296-6936
    vlesniak@seattleu.edu  


     Educational Background:

    • 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


    Professional Background:

    • 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
       

    Administrative and Committee Positions:

    • 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

    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
       

    Publications:

    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.

    Presentations

    • "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.

    Professional Organizations:

    • American Academy of Religion
    • Catholic Theological Society of America
    • Spiritual Directors International
    • Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality
    • The Thomas Merton Society