ISSJ offers workshops to promote peace and justice

By: Jess Larkin ~Copy Editor~

Xavier’s Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice (ISSJ) calls for the men and women of Xavier to engage social justice issues by applying their knowledge in real and using spirituality as a means to enact change.

The ISSJ’s mission is to “empower and energize individuals and communities to respond intelligently to the pressing needs of our times,” whether that be through active service or education.

The ISSJ hosts a number of different events throughout the year that inspire and challenge students to think critically about how they can use the tools that Xavier provides to work towards a brighter, more peaceful future.
The ISSJ also offered a number of courses this semester including, “Theology and Migration,” “Recovery and Growth After Trauma” and “Psychological and Spiritual Development in the Human Person.” Another course will also be offered this summer entitled “The Bible and Social Justice,” taught by Dr. Sarah Melcher.

More than 300 people recently joined the ISSJ for a one-woman show by Fannie Lou Hamer, who told the story of becoming a civil rights leader and key figure behind the establishment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Hamer told her story of growing up as the 20th child of sharecroppers and her work towards the right to vote after having been beaten for attempting to exercise that right.

The show was followed by a workshop on Jan. 24 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, entitled “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Passing the Torch to a New Generation,” facilitated by Dr. Adam Clark.

The workshop focused on the change needed to create a world for everyone and how the visionaries of the past helped inspire change in the future. The workshop reflected on the question: “Can their prophetic voices still help us to create a new present and a different future?”

The ISSJ will host another workshop entitled “Wisdom in Our Life of Prayer: Thomas Merton and the Feminine Divine,” which will also encourage students to promote change in the world.

This workshop, facilitated by Dr. Chris Pramuk, will reflect upon Wisdom-Sophia, as it is discussed in Pramuk’s book, “Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton,” and its divine presence in the world. The retreat-workshop will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on March 7 in the Conaton Board Room. The cost is $35 per person.

For more information on the ISSJ and their upcoming events and course offerings, visit