ABOUT ME

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Today, as for much of my life, my work continues as a writer, actor and teacher/college instructor. I have also been privileged to work as a chaplain, sometimes called a spiritual companion or caregiver.  In my earlier career, I was an environmental campaigner, as well as a performer and workshop leader across the world. 

Resilience for communities and also for individuals is an important theme that has run through my vocational and avocational work, worldwide. My writing, including the women's fiction novel and short stories I am completing, weave in themes dear to my heart of magic, sense of place, community, resilience and healing. They also draw from my perennial love of Nature, eco-chaplaincy, activism, and mysticism. 

 

As an international author, my published work spans a broad spectrum. The Italian edition of my first book, Making Magic with Gaia, became a bestseller on Italy's mind-body-spirit lists for a while in 2008 -- a thrill, indeed! Finding the academic and scholarly concept of "materiality" sparked my writing verve, as it speaks to what I believe: that intelligent, powerful energy permeates all -- that that which we may think is "dead" or solid, inactive material, is not.  Place-based materiality and embodied experiences of Nature, seeing Nature as an agent -- not a subject -- figure prominently in my research and writing. Central for me is the interconnectedness of all, the "interanimation" of life, as some scholars write it. This permeates my life and work, as does a profound love of Nature. It is exciting to see new ways meeting old ways in how we regard life and the Divine flowing throughout the Universe. 

On the academic side, my doctoral and postdoctoral work in religious studies and environmental philosophy blended materiality, animism, festival and ritual studies, community resilience along with research on lived religious traditions. My PhD dissertation (The Open University, UK) focused on sense of place and power of place, testing how those manifest in human societies, healing and supporting communities and individuals. The lens in those studies was community festivals in Italy, a topic I explore in depth in my 2018/2020 monograph from Bloomsbury Academic discussed on the home page. Please see my page on www.academia.edu for more on those writings.

On the academic side: I've taught a myriad of courses, literally from elementary school to doctoral candidates. In addition to teaching at Naropa University for nearly twenty years, also some years at the University of Colorado Boulder, in my early teaching career, I worked at the elementary and secondary level, as well as in adult learning. Those experiences spanned Colorado, to NY City, Washington, DC, Santiago, Chile, and all over Europe.

I have also taught both Italian and Spanish, as well as English. 

Theatre and foreign language have been enduring loves of mine since childhood -- my mother began to teach me French as a small child, and my father Italian. Subsequently I studied Italian and French as an undergrad. Then to my delight, I had the chance to later learn Spanish while teaching and acting in South America.  Spanish has continued to be important in my work, professional and volunteer. While acting professionally in Colorado some years ago I made a number of TV commercials and "industrial films" in Spanish. More recently Spanish has been a key part of my toolkit as a chaplain and counselor.  In my years living in Italy I both performed in Italian on stage and TV, as well as leading a myriad of workshops in Italian, including theatre workshops -- with adults and teens. 

 

A note of theatre interest: One of my high-profile professional performances "on the boards" in London was on the Fringe, "Covenant".  (British poet/playwright/musician John Gibbens and I successfully co-produced the show.) Below is a photo from that production, where among other roles written for me was Mary Magdalene. Michael Moriarty, my long-time mentor and acting coach, helped to direct the piece while he was still living in NY.

If interested specifically in my acting resume, please contact me directly, as it is separate from this site. 

My professional work as a chaplain and spiritual companion, has been in hospitals, a women's shelter and hospice care. This fulfilling work allowed me to serve extremely varied demographics, cultures, ages and stages of illness. It is a blessing to have been led to offer the work of service to the world, and a privilege to serve some of the poorest and most desperately ill. I have led numerous ceremonies, performed a variety of weddings, and many other important rites of passage.

 

Although I've lived in various countries and grew up in New York State, Colorado is currently home base. 

Mary Magdalene, in %22Covenant%22, Londo

EDUCATION

RESEARCH INTERESTS

  • Place, nature, community and the “other-than-human”

  • Theatre, ritual and festival studies

  • Animism and materiality

  • Magic and mysticism

  • Chaplaincy and related intersections, such as "eco-chaplaincy"

  • Gaia theory and the “New Cosmology” of Berry, Swimme and Tucker, et al.

  • Foodways and local food movements 

  • Foucauldian notions of the "heterotopia"

  • New religious movements (NRM)

  • Social and environmental justice, and the interconnection with community or individual resilience

  • Cross-cultural communication and foreign language

  • Archeology and related research in early landscapes and societies

  • Animal rights, environmental ethics.

The Open University, UK

PhD in Religious Studies

Dissertation = Sense of Place and Festival in Northern Italy: Perspectives on place, time and community

 

University of Cambridge, UK

MPhil in Latin American Studies

Thesis = National Sovereignty and Environmental Conservation in Latin America

Georgetown University

B.S. Languages and Linguistics,

Magna Cum Laude

Italian, Theatre & French