Hope and Dark Night Mysticism in the Theology of Constance FitzGerald

It is only in the process of bringing the impasse to prayer, to the perspective of the God who loves us, that our society will be freed, healed, changed, brought to paradoxical new visions, and freed for nonviolent, selfless, liberating action, freed, therefore, for community on this planet earth.”

Constance FitzGerald, OCD

Carmelite theologian Constance FitzGerald, OCD, has long been a “well-known secret” among Catholic theologians, retreat directors, and spiritual seekers.

Her work is not for the faint of heart. Like her forebears, John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, she will take you into the “dark night” of naked human experience, in the vulnerability of prayer and impasse, before the hidden God.

A new volume, Desire, Darkness, and Hope: Theology in a Time of Impasse, gathers 7 of her articles and 10 responses by some of the most compelling US Catholic theologians of our time. Much in the way of Thomas Merton, albeit in a more contemporary scholarly and feminist key, FitzGerald mines the classic spiritual resources of the tradition to illuminate the relationship between love of God and love of neighbor, mysticism and prophecy, contemplation and social commitment. My review of Desire, Darkness, and Hope, is [linked here].

I’m grateful to Catholic Books Review for the opportunity to engage with this remarkable new volume, and grateful to Sister Connie for the courage, depth, and imagination of her theological witness over the course of some five decades.

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