Patrick Kelly, S.J. to Present 'Sports and the Spiritual Life'

News Story: January 1, 2010
Father Patrick Kelly, S.J.
Father Patrick Kelly, S.J., will present a forum on “Sports and the Spiritual Life” at Sacred Heart University on Monday, March 1. The free public event will begin at 7 P.M. in the University’s Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts. It is sponsored by SHU’s Center for Catholic Thought, Ethics and Culture and its Human Journey Colloquia series, and is part of a year-long presentation of special events to celebrate the dedication of the University’s new Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

There is a significant connection between spirituality and the experiences of “flow” in sports and other activities, according to Father Kelly. Kelly says that “the genuine happiness and spiritual joy” associated with religious practices can also be found in experiences of flow in sports and other activities. “Such experiences are enjoyable and rewarding in themselves; they too are signals of transcendence,” he says.

Dr. Brian Stiltner, director or the Center for Catholic Thought, Ethics, and Culture, explains that “Kelly’s exploration of the connections between sports and spirituality will enrich the audience’s understanding of athletics, of collegiate education, and of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The talk will be of great interest to people who play sports or just enjoy watching them. Many people have a sense that sports and play are more than just leisure, but can be very valuable for personal growth. Father Kelly will explain why that is.”


Father Kelly is a member of the Society of Jesus who earned his doctorate at the Claremont Graduate University in 2005. He is an assistant professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the Jesuit-run Seattle University and is affiliated with its Center for the Study of Sport and Exercise.