Biography

Short Bio:

Author, spiritual director, yoga instructor, public speaker, and retreat guide, Phileena Heuertz is passionate about spirituality and making the world a better place.

Phileena’s first half of life was formed on the streets of more than 70 countries, building community among victims of human trafficking, survivors of HIV and AIDS, abandoned children and child soldiers and war brides.

Drawing on 40 years of collective experience fighting global poverty and injustice with Word Made Flesh, in 2012 she and her husband Chris co-founded Gravity to support the development of consciousness in an ongoing effort to respond to the challenging social justice perils of our time. Phileena’s work includes public speaking, teaching and writing on contemplative spirituality, facilitation of contemplative retreats, and spiritual direction.

Named “Outstanding Alumni” by Asbury University and one of Outreach magazine’s “30 Emerging Influencers Reshaping Leadership,” Phileena believes that contemplative spirituality is crucial to authentic, creative, liberating social change. Phileena is a member of the New Friars and Red Letter Christians, is featured on Q Ideas, The Work of the People and Darkwood Brew and known for her provocative theological narrative, Pilgrimage of a Soul (IVP 2010). Follow Phileena on Twitter here.

 

Extended Bio:

An earnest girl from Indiana, Phileena Heuertz graduated from Asbury University and set off to change the world through the international community Word Made Flesh. After nearly 20 years of travelling the globe to establish communities of justice and hope, Phileena discovered she could best change the world through solitude, silence and stillness.

Formed in the early 90s by Mother Teresa’s spirituality and mission in Kolkata, Phileena found herself steeped in a world of unjust disparity and human suffering—travelling to nearly 70 countries to respond to global poverty, working with victims of human trafficking, survivors of HIV and AIDS, and abandoned children living on the streets.

Thinking she’d seen it all, surprisingly there was nothing that could have prepared her for the brutal and gruesome tactics of war in Sierra Leone. Bearing witness to the stories of both victim and oppressor, Phileena experienced a crisis of faith. Realizing there was actually very little she could do to change the world and struggling to find God in the midst of a world of sinful disparity and traumatic suffering, contemplative prayer became her only refuge.

An avid student of modern mystics like Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating and Richard Rohr, Phileena’s faith was renewed through the Christian contemplative tradition. Her crisis of faith actually became an invitation to journey deeper with God—a journey that began to illuminate the concept of contemplative activism as a better way to live in the world.

Phileena and her husband Chris led Word Made Flesh from 1996-2012, establishing communities to respond to poverty in 11 cities in the majority world: Chennai, India; Kolkata, India; Kathmandu, Nepal; Bangkok, Thailand; Galati, Romania; Chisinau, Moldova; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Lima, Peru; El Alto, Bolivia; Rio, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Phileena and Chris founded Gravity in 2012 to support the development of consciousness by making contemplative practice accessible to individuals, communities and organizations who engage the challenging social justice perils of our time. Phileena’s work includes public speaking, teaching and writing on contemplative spirituality, facilitation of contemplative retreats, and spiritual direction.

Named “Outstanding Alumni” by Asbury University and one of Outreach magazine’s “30 Emerging Influencers Reshaping Leadership,” Phileena believes that contemplative spirituality is crucial to authentic, creative, liberating social change.

Phileena is a member of the New Friars and Red Letter Christians, is featured on Q IdeasThe Work of the People and Darkwood Brew, Emeritus Advisory Board Member for the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School and Advisory Board Member for Project Interfaith. She is known for her provocative theological narrative, Pilgrimage of a Soul (IVP 2010). Follow Phileena on Twitter here.

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