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Kathleen Deignan

Kathleen DeignanKathleen Deignan, a sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame, joined the faculty of the Department of Religious Studies at Iona in 1981 where she founded the Iona Peace and Justice Studies Program and the Iona Peace Institute in Ireland (1988-1995).  She is also the founding director of the Iona Spirituality Institute which sponsors a variety of programs for spiritual development (1992-present).
Past President of the International Thomas Merton Society (, Sister Kathleen is devoted to transmitting the spiritual and intellectual legacy of spiritual master Thomas Merton in a variety of academic, artistic and pastoral formats. Sister Deignan sits on the Boards of The International Thomas Merton Society, The American Teilhard Association, and is a GreenFaith Fellow having completed a two-year post-doctoral training for religious environmental leadership in 2008 (  Dr. Deignan received her master’s degree in the History of Christian Spirituality and her doctorate in Historical Theology from Fordham University in New York, where she studied with her mentor, the late geologian, Father Thomas Berry, one of the great inspirations of her life and ministry.  After his death, she and The Conveners founded The Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona.
A sacred song writer and psalmist, Sister Deignan has composed over 200 sacred songs published in a dozen CDs by Schola Ministries (, a project in service to the liturgical and contemplative arts. She is the author of Christ Spirit: The Eschatology of Shaker Christianity (Scarecrow Press 1992), Thomas Merton: When the Trees Say Nothing – Writings on Nature (Sorin 2002), and Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours (Sorin 2009).  Her articles on classical and contemporary spirituality have appeared in The Way, Review for Religious, Sisters Today, Franciscan Review, Diakonia, Sacred Journey, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue Bulletin, The Merton Season, and The Merton Annual.