In a medical world without God, people with chronic pain suffer not only physically but spiritually. This is because their suffering has no meaning, no goal or purpose. Dr. Kathleen Skerett notes that religious practitioners have long used pain to explore altered states of consciousness and to deepen their relationship with the divine. She argues that when we highlight the significance of pain in spiritual life, the mechanical image of the isolated secular individual gives way to a sense of the soul as richly responsive and vibrant. This has consequences for medical and theological responses to people who suffer chronic or acute pain.
Kathleen Roberts Skerrett, Ph.D.
Kathleen Roberts Skerrett holds a Ph.D in Christian Theology and the Modern West from Harvard University and was called to the bar at Osgoode Hall, having received her Bachelor of Law degree from Dalhousie University. She has taught at McGill University and is currently an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell College in Iowa. Dr. Skerrett has a number of publications dealing with issues related to paind and the spiritual life.
Lorraine I. Ferguson
Lorraine I. Ferguson, a student of theology who was forced to drop her studies because of chronic pain, will add her personal reflections to Dr. Skerrett’s presentation on Friday night as well as in Saturday’s workshop on spirituality and pain.