THE CARE AND GROWTH OF SOULS
With over 20 years of experience as an ordained Christian and Inter-Spiritual chaplain, Rev. Dr. Catherine Quehl-Engel (“Rev. CQE", or
"Fr. Cathy”) provides spiritual care, healing, and support for diversely religious, spiritual-but-not-religious, and secular students, faculty, and staff.
Catherine is available for:
- Spiritual care, healing, companionship, and guidance amid life’s fragileness, fears, disappointments, and joys.
- Age old Eastern and Western spiritual wisdom and related practices for being more skillful with difficult thoughts and emotions.
- Meditation, prayer, mindfulness, energy work, breath work, and other mind-body-spirit practices (through both individual and group instruction including Friday Meditation, Mindfulness, & Mind-Body-Spirit Practices @ 11:15 in Allee Chapel--see Meditation web page).
- Musing about meaning, identity, and the inner life.
- Bible study, theological musings, and inter-spiritual exploration.
- Discerning a call to ministry as vocation and support preparing for seminary or Divinity School.
- Bridge building amid religious, racial, cultural, political, gender, and other differences.
- As an Episcopal priest offering Reconciliation (confession and assurance of forgiveness), laying on of hands for healing with anointing, and other forms of release and blessing.
- Humor, wonder, vital piety, reconciling virtues, & inclusive love.
How to schedule time with the chaplain :
Call x4402 or email cquehl-engel to set up an appointment M-F. Office location: Third Floor Old Sem. (Note: Jan.-April 2017 Rev. Jerry Oakland will serve as interim chaplain during CQE's sabbatical. Call 4402 or email Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment during that time).
A NOTE ABOUT SPIRITUAL GUIDES AND CHAPLAINS.
Spiritual guides do not impose belief or doctrines. The same is true with chaplains. Think military chaplain where there might be one chaplain serving a unit of soldiers made up of people with differing beliefs all of whom need support amid their shared experience. The expansive love, support, and humble honoring of the soldier whose beliefs are unlike his or her own is precisely how that chaplain is living out his or her own faith be it as a Christian, Muslim, or other. And so it is within college chaplaincy at liberal arts colleges like Cornell.
What do college chaplains and spiritual guides offer our students and others (aside from the Spiritual Life programs and services listed elsewhere)? Presence. We ponder with them. When asked for we pray with them. We wait with them. We stand at the edge of the cliff, look out over the edge of the abyss with them. When a student's idea of God, self, world, or others just fell apart, we stand knee deep in the messiness with them (for, in the words of a hospital chaplain friend, "If spirituality only takes you to peaceful places, it probably isn't real."). We do not rebuild meaning for them, but stand alongside assisting with hope, presence, and all possible blue prints.
So what exactly is spiritual guidance? Carol Ochs puts it this way. In her work, Jewish Spiritual Guidance: Finding Our Way to God, she writes that spiritual guide work includes "helping those seeking guidance to ascertain how they relate to God, and where they find the Holy in their lives. Spiritual guides help seekers expand their God images, making sure to include the insights that have come over the years of growth and maturing. Along with the change in our image of God comes a change in our understanding of who we are in relationship with God."
Still, about half of the people who seek out Cornell's Chaplain don't claim to be religious. They have spiritual lives and needs too. And so another helpful more expansive analogy for spiritual guide is that of midwife: Spiritual guides help others to breathe amid the pains and risks associated with both loss and growth (transformation). Another analogy is that of a gardener tending seeds planted in pitch black Iowa dirt: We care for others amid the growing, even when it seems like nothing is happening. We wait with them, watching with them, offer ways to fertilize, and nurture them as they germinate and unfold their own speed and time. All of this is what is meant by 'the care and growth of souls.
With such disposition, Catherine is available to walk with students, faculty and staff amid life's joys and unknowns; amid theological wrestlings; amid their questing, souling and search for meaning....in their search for deepening their spiritual lives or in exploring paths toward healing. Soulfriend and mentor to both religious and secular alike, she is also available to talk about failures, shortcomings, doubts, indiscretions and foibles with unconditional support and care. And of course, is also there for sharing life's joys, delight, and great belly laughter.