Derived from St Paul’s reference to ‘spiritual persons’ as those ‘influenced by the Holy Spirit of God’,1 the term spirituality became linked to seventeenthcentury French spiritual writers and clergy. In subsequent centuries, the general understanding of spirituality became increasingly non-denominational. Today, spirituality is broadly understood to give meaning and purpose to life and to provide a transcendental experience to those in search of the sacred. It can be attained through meditation, prayer or communion with the natural world. This transcendence can lead to a sense of connectedness with something greater than oneself, such as nature, the universe or a higher being. For some, spirituality is thoughtful and passive, while for others it is emotional or action-oriented. Notions of spirituality are not fixed, but rather culturally derived and constantly shifting, fashioned by myriad forces including gender, ethnicity and class. Since spirituality mirrors specific times, places and cultures, it can be used as an analytic tool to examine various facets of society.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Introduction: Gender, Catholicism and Women’s Spirituality over the Longue Durée
Carmen M. Mangion
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number