Jesuit College of Spirituality Council Members
Jim Barber (Chair)
Professor Jim Barber is a consultant to private higher education providers in Australia, India and Canada. Prior to this he was Vice-Chancellor at the University of New England (2010-2015), Deputy Vice Chancellor at RMIT University (Melbourne & Vietnam) (2006-2010), Dean at the University of Toronto (2003-2006) and Head of School at Flinders University (1993-2003). Jim Barber holds a first class honours degree from Flinders University, a PhD in experimental psychology from the University of Adelaide and an Honorary Doctorate from Flinders University. He is a widely published author and the winner of North America’s highest award for research in evidence-based practice in the field of child welfare, the Pro-Humanitate Medal (2005). He is also a former winner of the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at Flinders University and his contribution to higher education was formally recognized by the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales in 2014. Jim is married to Mary O’Donoghue, a retired teacher, and they have one son, Daniel who, with his wife Penelope, also have one son (so far!). When not working or serving on a number of charitable Boards, Jim spends his time cooking, hoping for better times at North Melbourne football games and couch coaching the Australian cricket team.
Bernadette Batten is management trained in business, operations and marketing. Her responsibilities have included leading large teams of people in the delivery of exceptional customer service and sales. Her roles have included the Regional Operations Management for a major international organisation, the management of a Sub-Regional Shopping Centre and the State Management of a large Australian Retailer. She has a successful record in strategy while identifying financial priorities and achieving budgeted objectives and sales. She is an experienced director in the not for profit sector. Bernadette is married to Tom and they have five children.
Maryanne Confoy RSC
Prof Maryanne Confoy RSC is a Religious Sister of Charity and Professor of Pastoral Theology at Pilgrim Theological College and University of Divinity. She is a Fellow of the University of Divinity. Her governance roles include Board member of St Vincent’s Health Australia, Director of The Australian Institute of Theological Education-BBI, Director of LUCRFPT, Board Member of The Way Community for Homeless Men. Her previous governance roles have included President of the United Faculty of Theology, member of the Australian Catholic University Senate and Chair of MCD Board of Postgraduate Studies, Trustee of Edmund Rice Education Australia and a member of RMIT University HRE Committee.
Christopher Gleeson SJ
Christopher Gleeson SJ has spent most of his working life as a teacher and administrator in Jesuit schools, nearly 21 of which as Principal of both Xavier College in Melbourne and St. Ignatius’ College, Riverview, in Sydney. His peers elected him to serve as Chair of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia from 1999 to 2001. Since leaving Riverview at the end of 2002, he has been Director of Jesuit Publications (now Jesuit Communications) in Melbourne, and inaugural Director of both the Faber Centre of Ignatian Spirituality and the Archdiocesan Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre in Brisbane. In January 2011, he was appointed to be the Provincial’s Delegate for Education and Mission Formation, and in January 2016 took on the new role of Provincial Delegate for Ignatian Formation. Over the years he has written four books for parents and teachers – Striking a Balance: Teaching Values and Freedom (Aurora Books 1993); A Canopy of Stars – Some Reflections for the Journey (David Lovell Publishing 2003 – revised and relaunched in May, 2017); Releasing the Angel – Saluting all who strive to teach (Australasian Theological Forum, 2008); and in 2011, The Front Page – Everyday Ignatian Spirituality (Australasian Theological Forum). Chris Gleeson is a member of the Australian Jesuit Province and is currently based in Our Lady of the Way Parish, Lavender Bay, Sydney.
John Greaves is the recently retired General Manager, Business Support at Jesuit Social Services. John brings many years of experience from the business, finance and not-for-profit sector.
Associate Professor Robyn Horner (PhD, Monash University) is a teaching and research academic at Australian Catholic University, and a member of the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry. From 2010 until 2015, she held the position of Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy (ACU). The aim of her research is to find new ways of thinking religious phenomena within contemporary Western contexts, characterised as such contexts are by the immense cultural challenges of secularisation, pluralisation, and detraditionalisation. She investigates this area both theoretically (especially through the use of hermeneutic phenomenology, together with a variety of post-structuralist tools of critique), and practically (in collaboration with researchers in Belgium who have developed scales for measuring individual and communal religious expressions of identity: the Enhancing Catholic School Identity Project). Her distinct contribution to the field is the way in which she approaches the signification of religious phenomena by means of affection or disturbance, and interprets them contextually. She is currently working on a monograph on revelation, and is part of a major project: Atheism and Christianity: Moving Past Polemic. Robyn Horner teaches and supervises in the area of enhancing Catholic identity, poststructuralism and French phenomenology, and theological recontextualisation.
Dr Christiaan Jacobs-Vandegeer is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at Australian Catholic University and a member of the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry. He coordinates the Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Catholic Culture, a program designed for supporting senior leaders of Catholic organisations in their responsibility for mission and identity. As Director of Stakeholder Relations for the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, he manages relationships with external stakeholders and contributes to the ongoing activities of ACU’s Xavier Centre, which offers theological formation in collaboration with Catholic organisations in health care, education, social services, and church life. His research focuses on questions that intersect systematic theology, religious studies, and critical theory. With Jean-Luc Marion, he co-edited, The Enigma of Divine Revelation: Between Phenomenology and Comparative Theology (Springer 2020), and in 2015, with Neil Ormerod, he published, Foundational Theology: A New Approach to Catholic Fundamental Theology (Fortress Press).
Michael Kelly CSsR
Revd Associate Professor Michael A. Kelly, CSsR, BTheol, STM, MEd, PhD is a priest in the Redemptorist Congregation, and a member of the Provincial Council of the Australian Province of his Congregation. He has been on the faculty of Yarra Theological Union for two decades. He is postgraduate coordinator and teaches in the areas of pastoral theology and religious education.
Michael Smith SJ
Originally from New Zealand, Michael entered the Jesuits in 1976 and was ordained in 1984. Michael, Prof Maryanne Confoy RSC, and Dr Peter Cantwell OFM designed the curriculum for the Master of Spiritual Direction degree, which was the first graduate program in spiritual direction in Australia. He worked with a team at Campion Centre of Ignatian Spirituality to design and implement the Arrupe® Program for forming spiritual directors in the Ignatian tradition. Michael helped to found the Jesuit College of Spirituality (JCS), and was Academic Dean of the College for seventeen years. When he finished at JCS in 2016, Michael was missioned to the International Office of Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome, where he worked as the International Education Coordinator, and as the Director of Mission and Identity. Michael is currently the Provincial's Assistant for the Intellectual Apostolate.