Monday 7th February, 2022
Beatrice Bruteau, Radical Optimism: Practical Spirituality in an Uncertain World (Sentient, 2004 ), 31.
Image: Kirill Tonkich, Russia, instagram.com/kirillandsasha
This quote is from Beatrice Bruteau's Radical Optimism: Practical Spirituality in an Uncertain World (Sentient, 2004 ), 31 - see here. A Christian philosopher, Beatrice Bruteau (1930-2014) was one of the first women to study philosophy at Fordham University in the USA, from which she received a PhD when only 24. Bruteau, who along with her husband founded Schola Contemplatonis, a network of contemplatives, has been described as a pioneer in contemplative thinking and interspirituality in work that explored mystical, contemplative and philosophical texts from across multiple religious traditions but particularly within Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. Another significant text compiled by Bruteau is The Other Half of my Soul: Bede Griffiths and the Hindu-Christian Dialogue (Quest, 1996): a collection of essays about the Benedictine monk, Bede Griffiths (1906-1993). From 1968-1993 Griffiths was Superior of the Benedictine ashram, Shantivanam, which was established at Tamil Nadu in 1950 to explore uniting ashram life in India with the monastic tradition of the Western Church. For more about this community, see here. Bruteau's edited collection about Griffiths includes chapters about spirituality by acclaimed Christian authors such as Raimon Panikkar, Helen M. Luke, Thomas Keating, Rupert Sheldrake and Matthew Fox, as well as Bruteau. You can read this on line for free, here. For a written interview with Beatrice Bruteau from just a year before her death, see here, or for a shorter tribute by Cynthia Bourgeault, who described Bruteau as 'one of the most powerful shaping influences on contemporary mystical theology, interspirituality, and contemplative practice', see here. Those who prefer listening might like this 26 minute podcast with Bruteau from 2009 for the National Catholic Reporter, here.