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September 5, 2002


LA CROSSE, Wis.— Is it possible to reconcile spirituality and sexuality, when there are conflicting messages among religious traditions, the media, and personal experience? Find out when author and international speaker Fr. John Heagle, discusses "Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality" at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24 in the Fine Arts Center Main Theatre at Viterbo University.

For many people, the urgency surrounding contemporary issues of human sexuality seem greater than what current religious institutions are able to address. But, according to Fr. Heagle, when the Judeo-Christian tradition speaks from its deepest roots about love, mutual respect, the goodness of the body, and the sacredness of relationships, there is no more powerful source of spiritual guidance. In this talk, which is free and open to the public, Fr. Heagle explores the profound bond between sexuality and spirituality, and the ways in which everyone is called, within the unique circumstances of their lives, to become more responsible life-givers and lovers.

Fr. Heagle’s talk is based on the new book, Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality, which he co-authored with Fran Ferder, PhD, FSPA. Co-founder and co-director of Therapy and Renewal Associates, a counseling and consultation center in Seattle, Fr. Heagle is a licensed psychotherapist in the State of Washington and an adjunct faculty member in the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. Ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of La Crosse in 1965, Fr. Heagle has had more than 37 years of pastoral experience, including college teaching, campus ministry, justice and peace leadership, and parish pastoral leadership. He has a master’s degree in philosophy from Catholic University of America and a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. He is the author of seven books, including Life to the Full; On the Way; Suffering and Evil; Jesus: Divine and Human; and co-author, with Sr. Ferder, of Your Sexual Self: Pathway to Authentic Intimacy.

 This presentation is sponsored by the Paula Ripple Comin Memorial Endowed Lectureship. A Viterbo graduate, former dean of students, and past president of the FSPA, Paula Ripple Comin died of cancer in 1998.

For more information, contact Tom Thibodeau, religious studies, at 608-796-3705 or email

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