Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2020.

Degree Name

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


Eduardo Fernández, S.J.


Religious experience and conversion, terms associated more with religion than with education, have the potential to transform the way we approach teaching and learning, bringing the transcendental reality of our lives to the fore as we seek to understand the world and ourselves. This thesis will argue for the significance, relevance and use of religious experience as pedagogical category and will suggest that the formation of what I term Critical Communities of Religious Praxis as means of fostering conversion towards religious experience can be an effective means of incorporating both into classroom processes. Critical Communities of Religious Praxis are learning spaces where learners are formed to be critically conscious of their realities so as to be open and aware to more than just the immanent and material. These spaces build upon learners’ communal and familial contexts while encouraging them to reflect and act on the new experiences and perspectives gained.

The first chapter introduces religious experience as a philosophical and theological reality, demonstrating that such experiences have a knowledge component while also opening individuals to the possibility of the transcendent and the divine. This is followed in the second chapter with an exposition on conversion and how it can apply to more than just religious contexts. In particular, the attributes of openness and awareness in converted persons and how these are fostered by relationality and action will be looked at. The third chapter describes the Critical Communities of Religious Praxis as a pedagogical system and demonstrates how teaching and learning would take place there. The fourth and final chapter integrates the approaches to describe, with examples, how such learning spaces can be fostered while discussing the religious implications and challenges that one might face in this approach to religious experience and conversion.

Included in

Religion Commons