By Carey April 12, 2015
"Justice is our movement every day towards harmony and balance."
-May Elawar, Adjunct Faculty, Women's Spirituality Program at CIIS
"There is no revolution without women's liberation; there is no women's liberation without revolution"
-Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Professor Emeritus, Women's Spirituality Program
The Women's Spirituality movement came out of the Second Wave of the feminist movement in the United States which asked "What happens when women put their own spirituality at the center?" The Women's Spirituality movement emerged as political particularly concerned with issues of male dominance, patriarchy and misogyny in the major world religions.
Deborah Santana's film "Women's Spirituality in Higher Education" documents the academic exploration of this critical historical movement. Indeed some scholars and organizes identify and mark this moment where we seem to be on the cusp of the Fourth Wave of feminism. For example, the Women's Spirituality program looks at the intersection of spirituality and activism. Yet still maintains that the "Divine spark is in everyone" which Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Professor Emeritus, Women's Spirituality Program, explains as coming out of the Orant gesture to the goddess in Africa.
"Women's spiritual leadership and original spirituality have been suppressed, marginalized, and silenced, sometimes by vast acts of religious prejudice and cruelty. [We're] reclaiming spirituality, resacrilizing our bodies, resacrilizing women's spiritual leadership and resacrilizing our sexuality. And so women now are reviving our spirits in ways that seem true to our own nature and bringing forth our gifts and talents"
-Mara Keller, Professor, Women's Spirituality Program
This film explores the ways in which women's movements have always been both about the personal and political efforts. One student in the MA program, Sarah Scott, experiences this as "Embodying our own bodies, telling our own stories, leaving room to hear others stories, and understanding the social implications of the stories being told." Similarly, adjunct professor, Jennifer Berezan states that she wants students to "have a place that they can explore the questions of their own soul."