How can spiritual grounding and practice help us in this hectic era of fake news and the manipulation of fear for political ends? The answer will be revealed when Kathleen Norris takes The O’Shaughnessy stage at 7 p.m. on October 4. The New York Times–bestselling author will present St. Catherine University’s 11th annual Myser Lecture, “Spiritual Practice and Social Justice."
“She has a way of making abstract spiritual ideas practical and meaningful for everyday life,” said Kate Barrett, director of the Myser Initiative in Catholic Identity, which is sponsoring the event. “Come listen to be renewed, refreshed and inspired.”
This lecture is free and open to the public. However, tickets are required and are available at The O’Shaughnessy Ticket Office.
Norris has published seven books of poetry. Her first book of poems was entitled Falling Off and was the 1971 winner of the Big Table Younger Poets Award. Soon after, she settled down in her grandparents’ home in Lemmon, South Dakota, where she lived with her husband, the poet David Dwyer, for over 25 years. The move was the inspiration for the first of her nonfiction books, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. It was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was selected as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal.
Her work has been described as deeply grounded in both nature and spirit, sometimes funny, and often provocative. Barrett is a fan, nothing that Norris “inspires thoughtful reflection and mindfulness in our daily mundane activities, and in our big questions about our environment and how we behave as a society. Her work is accessible and relevant.”
In Lemmon, Norris joined the Presbyterian Church, where her grandmother had been a member for 60 years. When the church was between full-time pastors, members called on her to fill in — “You're a writer, you can preach,” they said. In 1986, she became an oblate, or associate, of the Benedictine monastery Assumption Abbey in North Dakota. Subsequently, she spent two years in residence at the Ecumenical (now Collegeville) Institute at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota.
Widowed in 2003, Norris now divides her time between South Dakota and Honolulu, Hawaii. She is currently the nonfiction editor of the Saint Katherine Review and the editorial advisor to Give Us This Day.
St. Kate’s Myser Initiative on Catholic Identity was established by Patricia O’Connor Myser ’56 and her late husband, John “Buzz” Myser. The initiative enables St. Catherine University to integrate into its curriculum the Church’s Catholic intellectual tradition and social teaching.