Each era has men and women who seek out a life devoted to connection to the divine. St. Francis’ vision for a life of prayer and service echoed the tradition of the monastic realm and brought it out of the walls and into the world. His movement followed a century of preparation for a new way to be Christian, modeled on the lives of the apostles (the vita apostolica) and the life of Jesus himself. A clear hallmark of Francis’ life and work is that prayer and contemplation must have an active dimension that responds to the needs of God’s creatures. This course will examine active spiritual movements of the 12th and 13th centuries that preceded and perhaps prefigured the Franciscan movement. Special attention will be placed on the connection between these precursors and the movement St. Francis and St. Clare began in the 13th century.
Juliet Mousseau, RSCJ, completed her doctorate in historical theology at Saint Louis University in 2006. After teaching at Saint Louis University and the University of Dallas School of Ministry, she entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 2009. She served as a professor of church history at the Aquinas Institute of Theology from 2012 to 2021. During that time, she published on the twelfth-century Abbey of Saint Victor as well as contemporary issues in religious life. She made her final profession as a Religious of the Sacred Heart in January 2020. She became the Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2021.