New Rochelle, NY (June 29, 2015) Br. Patrick Nuanah ’15, a recent graduate of Iona College’s environmental studies program, and Sr. Kathleen Deignan, Ph.D., director of the Iona Spirituality Institute are representing Iona, by participating in the “Emerging Leaders Multi-faith Climate Convergence” in Rome. A series of events connected with Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment and Climate Change is convening June 27 through July 1.
Br. Nuanah is one of 100 young religious leaders (between 21 and 40 years old) from throughout the world who have been invited to participate. Sr. Kathleen, a GreenFaith Fellow and Co Convener of Iona’s Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue, is accompanying the many students from around the globe who are part of the emerging environmental leaders training.
The schedule includes marching to St. Peter’s Square to thank Pope Francis, followed by the Convergence at the Community of Saint Egidio at Piazza S. Egidio where participants will share their backgrounds, motivations and beliefs.
Participants will share their experiences of leadership, learning from each other about how religious and spiritual communities and initiatives can create positive environmental change. They will receive media training and coaching to develop yearlong action plans for projects in their home countries. Following the Convergence, a full-time organizer will staff the network of young religious leaders. sharing success stories, providing encouragement and support, and identifying future priorities.
Travel and accommodation expenses are looked after by the Green Faith organization. The Convergence will set the stage for effective, multi-faith leadership by these young emerging leaders on climate change. It will help spur faith-based environmental projects on the ground in countries around the world.
About Sr. Kathleen Deignan:
Sr. Deignan joined the faculty of the Religious Studies Department at Iona in 1981 as an assistant professor after having served as an adjunct instructor and a part-time campus minister. Sr. Deignan's current interests are in the areas of classical and contemporary spirituality with a focus on creation theology and spirituality. Her work is devoted to transmitting the spiritual and intellectual legacies of Thomas Merton in a variety of academic, artistic and pastoral formats. A GreenFaith Fellow, Sr. Deignan completed a two-year post-doctoral training for religious environmental leadership (www.GreenFaith.org
). Dr. Deignan was the founder of the Iona Peace and Justice Studies Program and the Iona Peace Institute in Ireland (1988-1995). She is the founder and director of the Iona Spirituality Institute which sponsors a variety of programs for spiritual enrichment. A sacred song writer and psalmist, Sr. Deignan has composed over 200 songs for liturgy and prayer published in a dozen CDs by Schola Ministries, a project in service to the liturgical and contemplative arts. Sr. Deignan is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Catholic Theological Society of America, the International Thomas Merton Society and the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality.
About Brother Patrick Nuanah ’15 :
Brother Patrick is a member of the West African District of Christian Brothers. He was a certified teacher as well as director of his parish youth choir in Tamale, Ghana, before entering the Christian Brothers’ novitiate at Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2006. Following novitiate, Brother Patrick was assigned to the Christian Brothers’ mission community in Gbarnga, Liberia, where he taught at St. Martin's Secondary School for several years before being awarded the Brother Arthur Austin Loftus Scholarship to commence studies at Iona College, New Rochelle, N.Y. Brother Patrick, who has demonstrated a passion for climate change and environmental concerns, graduated with a BS from Iona College on May 16, 2015, specializing in Environmental Studies. Br. Nuanah will be returning to Ghana on July 10 where he has been appointed assistant headmaster of the Christian Brothers school in Tamale.
Iona Alumnus and Faculty Attend International Conference in Rome