Mount talk examines the spirituality of the Rhineland Mystics

March 20, 2017

Sr. Valerie DaSilva, OP, a Dominican Sister of Amityville, discussed the lives and locales of the Rhineland Mystics on Monday, March 20, 2017 at Mount Saint Mary College. 


Sr. Valerie DaSilva, OP, a Dominican Sister of Amityville, detailed her trip to the home of the Rhineland Mystics – a group of spiritual scholars dating back hundreds of years – on Monday, March 20 at Mount Saint Mary College.

The Rhineland Mystics were a group of Dominican spiritual writers, preachers, and teachers who lived between the 11th and 15th centuries in the German Rhineland. Sr. DaSilva’s talk explored the area where these mystics lived and preached, giving insight into their deep spirituality.

Sr. DaSilva descried Dominican Mysticism as “the desire and the need to know God, not just through scripture, doctrines, teaching, or even the Church. But rather, to lose oneself in words uttered by Paul: ‘I no longer live – Christ is in me.’”

The Rhineland, she said, with its cathedrals, great natural beauty, and population of little more than 100, is the perfect place to experience Dominican Mysticism for oneself.

“Dominican Rhineland Mysticism, which developed in this area, is a movement open to people of all walks of life,” she explained. “It is a direct experience of God. It bestows a kind of knowing that goes beyond intellectual understanding.”

Sr. DaSilva has served the Dominican Sisters for more than five decades. For two of them, she taught in Puerto Rico, and upon return to the United States, she taught at St. Francis Prep School in Queens, N.Y. For the past 16 years, she has been an adjunct professor of religious studies at Mount Saint Mary College.

The talk was sponsored by the Division of Philosophy and Religious Studies and the Mount’s Catholic and Dominican Institute (CDI). CDI promotes the Mount’s heritage of St. Dominic; advances the Dominican charism of study and service; provides a forum for discussion of contemporary ethical issues; and enhances Catholic and Jewish dialogue. The Institute welcomes persons of varied faiths and acknowledges different religious traditions as essential to the college’s intellectual and spiritual life.

The next CDI talk, “Not God’s Type: From Atheism to Catholicism,” will take place on April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Mount’s Dominican Center. It is free and open to the public.