UMass Amherst Libraries Welcomes “Grandfather of Gratitude,” Brother David Steindl-Rast

Symposium discusses spirituality’s role in making positive impact

AMHERST, Mass.— The University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries’ department of special collections and university archives (SCUA) in partnership with A Network for Grateful Living (ANGL) is hosting The Radical Aliveness and Belonging Symposium: Exploring the Intersections of Spirituality and Social Change. The symposium is Friday, Sept. 27, 2019 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall at UMass Amherst and will generate discussion and action around how to make a wholehearted, positive difference in the world.

The Radical Aliveness and Belonging Symposium is inspired by the life and work of Brother David Steindl-Rast, a 93-year-old Benedictine monk known as the “grandfather of gratitude” and one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement. The Libraries’ Special Collections houses Steindl-Rast’s papers, which are part of the Libraries’ significant holdings on social change movements and activists. Steindl-Rast will be traveling from Austria to participate in the symposium and may possibly be his last trip to the U.S.

 The afternoon features other accomplished, contemporary scholars, who are also spiritually inspired activists and leaders, to engage this theme in its many facets. 

  • Mirabai Bush, founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, co-developer of Search Inside Yourself at Google, and recent author of Walking Each Other Home with Ram Dass.
  • Lucas Johnson, executive director of On Being’s Civil Conversations Project and former leader of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, the world’s oldest interfaith peace organization.
  • The Rev. Dr. Gregory Ellison II, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling at Emory University and founder of Fearless Dialogues, a non-profit organization that creates unique spaces for unlikely partners to have hard, heartfelt conversations on taboo subjects like racism, classism, and community violence.

Open to the public, the Radical Aliveness and Belonging Symposium aims to connect and inspire all interested in exploring the intersections of spirituality and social change. General admission tickets are $20 and free for Five College students. Tickets are available via the Fine Arts Center Website.