The Rev. Dr. Catherine Quehl-Engel+ ('89)
Office location: Third Floor Old Sem
Borrowing the words of that tenacious French saint, Therese of Lisieux, my vocation is love. While far from sainthood, as a mystically wired college chaplain I live out this vocation by providing spiritual guidance, exploration, voluntary devotional expression, and opportunities for manifesting love and healing peace in our individual and collective lives on campus and in our world. Care and growth of souls happens not only through one-on-one mentoring and spiritual care, but also through programmatic offerings ranging from spiritual practices (i.e. praying with scripture, interior prayer, as well as other meditation and mind-body-spirit practices), compassionate service, and monastic retreats, to social justice and inter-faith dialogue circles.
It is a privilege to spiritually accompany students, faculty, and staff as they sojourn on their life journeys, seek transformative healing, and explore the BIG questions (i.e. about suffering, differing understandings of the Divine, beauty in the flaw, hope, life purpose, love). This is done with students, faculty, and staff of diverse backgrounds and needs within Christianity, other faiths, among the spiritual-but-not-religious, and people with secular perspectives. Together we explore their interior lives, discern their sense of meaning and purpose, and expand their awareness of inter-connective oneness between self, others, creation, and--for many though not all--the Divine however each person understands it.
The Chaplain & Spiritual Life Office provides voluntary opportunities for spiritual expression, solace, and growth on an ongoing basis through opportunities like Soul Feast Chapel w/ Peace Eucharist (Holy Communion) led with Spiritus leaders on Wednesdays, and Meditation, Interior Prayer & Mindfulness on Fridays. I also serve as advisor to Hillel, our Muslim Student Association, evangelical groups and a variety of other student orgs. Approximately 15-20 students serve on The Office of Chaplain & Spiritual Life Leadership team and I welcome you and others who are interested to join us. This leadership team consists of Spiritus, an ecumenical Christian group, and Interfaith Exploration & Understanding.
As for teaching, through the Religion Department, I've created and taught three courses: Jesus and Judaism, Suffering and the Sacred, as well as Namaste: Mysticism, Meditation, and Servant Leadership--a contemplative Hindu and Christian inter-spirituality course in India. Christian Mysticism, Contemplative Wisdom & Practice is also in the works. Pre-theology, ministerial vocation discernment, and related mentoring occur through this office.
Doctor of Ministry in Christian Spirituality, Washington Theological Union, District of Columbia (2014).
PhD work in Theology, Ethics, and Culture, The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics 1994-1996 (left to become a mom and chaplain of Cornell College).
Master of Divinity & Master of Arts, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA (1994) M.A. work included study at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Center/Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, and thesis work focusing upon the intersection of theology of human suffering, history of Jewish-Christian relations, and religion & the visual arts.
B.A., Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA (1989)
- Learning and certification as Meditation Instruction, The American Institute of Healthcare Professionals, 2010.
- Ongoing Reiki and Healing Touch Spiritual Healing Ministry since 2012.
- Clinical Pastoral Education, The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 1 unit 1994.
ORDINATION: The Sacred Order of Priests, Episcopal Church U.S.A. (Anglican Communion) 2006, and the transitional Deaconate 2005.
Previous ordination within The United Church of Christ, 1996.
PUBLICATIONS & ART EXHIBITIONS
- Doctoral dissertation: Deep Abiding: Praying, Living, & Loving From The Inside Out Spring 2014.
- Namaste: Visual Meditations on Mystical Theology & The Divine Within Cornell College; The Lincoln Cafe; Trinity Episcopal-Iowa City (2009-2010)
- Mother & Child & Namaste Mandala images in ECVA's "Ubuntu" Exhibit, Summer 2009
- Inner Journey Iowa State Fair B/W Photo Exhibition entry ('09)
- Incarnation: Reflections on the Spirit of Dr. Meers. Wapsipinicon Almanac, No. 14, 2007.
- "Modern Jewish Art and the Crucifixion: a Study in Appropriation." Soundings: An Interdisciplinary
Journal Vol. LXXX, No. 1 (Spring 1997):133-152.
- "Christian Theology After the Jewish Use of Christological Imagery in Holocaust Art" The Holocaust: Lessons for the Third Generation. Ed. Dominick A. Iorio, Richard L. Libowitz,
and Marcia S. Littell. University Press of America, 1997. 81-90.
SERVICE: I serve as Associate Priest in a voluntary capacity at Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City, Iowa. I have also assisted The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa through a variety of Boards and Commissions including as previous director of Diocesean Ministry School and Retreat at Grinnell College.
JOYS & ESSENTIALS: My daughter Rachel, husband Craig, and dog Atticus Finch. Belly laughter. Long distance runs in the country along flowing Iowa fields. Abstract landscape painting. Gardening. Study of mystical, contemplative theology (union with God) as found in Christianity and other traditions.