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Background Information - Speakers on Adult Faith Development Courses

Below are short biographies of some of the presenters who lecture on adult faith development courses at Drumalis. Úna Agnew SSL

Dr Agnew (St Louis Sister) is Associate Professor Emerita, in the Faculty of Theology at Milltown-Institute. Dublin, Ireland. She completed her doctoral study on the spiritual dimension of the poet Patrick Kavanagh in 1991 at UCD and published The Mystical Imagination of Patrick Kavanagh: A Buttonhole in Heaven, Dublin: Columba Press, 1998. She is a renowned lecturer and spiritual director. Among her other interests are literature, local history, sport and ballroom dancing.

Perry Gildea

Perry is a Vincentian priest based in Belfast. He has a Doctorate in Moral and Pastoral Theology from the Alphonsianum in Rome and a Masters in Liturgical Studies from Notre Dame, USA. Perry formerly lectured in All Hallows College, Dublin and in St. Mary's College, Twickenham. He has extensive experience as a Spiritual Director and University Chaplain as well as having served as a parish priest in London. He is the Regional Spiritual Advisor of the Society of St.Vincent de Paul. Perry is a member of the Adult Faith Development team at Drumalis, developing and delivering programmes in collaboration with St. Mary's University College, Belfast.

Bishop Donal McKeown

Dónal McKeown has been a Roman Catholic priest since 1977 and is has been Bishop of Derry in Ireland since April 2014. He previously served as auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Down and Connor (2001-2014). He spent most of his ministry in Belfast and for 23 years, worked in schools.

Within the Irish Bishops' Conference he currently has particular responsibilities in the area of youth ministry, education and vocations. He led groups to World Youth Day in 2002 (Toronto), 2005 (Cologne), Madrid (2011) and Rio de Janeiro (2013). He is a regular contributor in the broadcast and written media. He is a modern languages graduate with theology qualifications to STL level as well as an MBA. His involvement in the Pathways programme at Drumalis goes back to its beginning in 2006.

Rev. Dr Johnston McMaster

Johnston McMaster is lecturer and co-ordinator of the Education for Reconciliation programme, Irish School of Ecumenics, Belfast. His doctorate is from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, USA on Methodist Stewardship in Irish Politics.

Dr McMaster has been involved in the development of a community education programme for Northern Ireland and the Border Counties. This includes the development of teaching methodologies, curriculum design and delivery. He has lectured in Eastern Europe, Sri Lanka, South Korea and the USA and has been involved in the development of inter-church fora in Northern Ireland. He has also been engaged as consultant with statutory and voluntary sectors in Northern Ireland and chairs a number of initiatives as well as working collaboratively with community relations networks.

Hilary Musgrave

Hilary Musgrave, from Tramore, County Waterford in Ireland, is a former Teacher, Principal and Religious Education Advisor in the Dublin Diocese. She received her Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry and Spirituality from Boston College, and works extensively in the area of Creative Spirituality through sacred clowning, story-telling and facilitation, throughout Ireland, as well as Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Dom Mark-Ephrem M. Nolan OSB

Dom Mark-Ephrem is the superior of the Benedictine community in Rostrevor, the first Benedictine monastery to open in the north of Ireland in 800 years. Born in Belfast and growing up during the Troubles, his family’s tradition of ecumenism shaped his life, vocation and ecumenical ministry. The coming of the Benedictines to Northern Ireland is a response to a call addressed by the church to monasteries of contemplative life to engage themselves in the mission of spiritual ecumenism, rooted in prayer, conversion of heart and charity, in those corners of the world where Christians are divided.

Pádraig Ó Tuama

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet and theologian based in Belfast. His theological work has focused on Gospel scholarship, especially on the interpersonal encounters of the Gospel traditions, and from these analyses, practical suggestions for everyday life. Pádraig brings an interest in storytelling to his teaching and frequently uses narrative techniques to assist the class in deepening their engagement with the characters in the biblical text. His poetry (Readings from the Book of Exile (2012) and Sorry for your Troubles (2013) is published through Canterbury Press and a book “In the Shelter” will be published by Hodder/Hachette in early 2015.

Pamela Thimmes OSC, PhD

Dr. Thimmes, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies, is a Poor Clare sister who holds a B.S.Ed. in English Literature, an M.A in Religious Studies and an M.A. and PhD from Vanderbilt University in Religion (Biblical Studies and Languages). She was a professor in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Dayton between 1985 and 2007 when she moved to Ireland to join the Poor Clare Monastery of the Light of Christ in Faughart, Co. Louth. Since moving to Ireland, she has taught elements of the Certificate in Christian Thought and the Certificate in Lectio Divina Facilitation in Drumalis, taught for several dioceses in Permanent Deaconate programs, and taught in the Mater Dei Diploma course ‘Exploring Theology’. She is also an experienced and popular spiritual director and retreat leader, as well as a working photographer.

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