Mysticism as Healing

paula rego pieta

The TORCH Medical Humanities programme is hosting an event on 'Mysticism as Healing: Medieval and Early Modern Contributions for a Religious History of Healing and Care'.

Throughout history Christian mystics have not only engaged in contemplative practices but have also been concerned with active and devotional dimensions. Some of them involved healing and caring for their community. In this one day symposium some neglected contributions to the history of mystical care will be revealed, with special emphasis on the Iberian case.

This event is free and open to all.


Speakers (in chronological order)

Jessica Boon (Religious Studies, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill)   

Elma Brenner (Wellcome Trust)

Nair Castro Soares (Classics, University of Coimbra)

Mathilde van Dijk (History of Christianity & Gender Studies, University Groningen)

Tom Earle, (Portuguese, University of Oxford)

Christoph Jedan (Philosophy of Religion, University of Groningen)

José Francisco Meirinhos (Medieval Philosophy, University of Groningen) 

Louise Nelstrop (Theology, University of Oxford/ Glasgow)

Joana Serrado (Theology, University of Oxford)

Peter Tyler, (Theology, St Mary's Twickenham)



9.00 - Arrival and Coffee

9.15 Welcome and Introduction by Joana Serrado

9.30 - Louise Nelstrop (Theology, Oxford/ Glasgow) On the Study of Mysticism

Ancient and Medieval Forms of Healing and Care

10.00- Christopher Jedan (Philosophy, Groningen) Consolation as Palliative Care

10.30 – Tea break

11.00- Elma Brenner (Wellcome Trust) Spiritual care and palliative care in the leper hospitals of medieval Normandy

11.30 - Mathilde van Dijk (History, Groningen) The practice of suffering and healing in biographies in the Devotio Moderna


Iberian Traditions of Healing and Care

12:00- Nair Castro Soares (Classics, Coimbra) Mens sana in corpore sano: L’image du prince au Portugal de la Renaissance

12.30- Lunch

13.30 Peter Tyler (Theology, St Mary's Twickenham, London) Psycho-spiritual healing in the life and writings of Teresa of Avila

14.00 Joana Serrado (Theology, Oxford) Mysticism as Palliative Care: Mariana da Purificação, OSC, (1623-1695)

14:30- Tom Earle (Portuguese, Oxford) Gil Vicente's Auto dos Físicos: Medicine, Food and Eternal Love in a Farce for the Portuguese Court

14:30 - Tea/ Coffee Break

15.30 José Meirinhos (Philosophy, Porto) Healing in Petrus Hispanus’ Thesaurus Pauperum

16.00  Jessica Boon (Religious Studies, U. North Carolina- Chapel Hill) Physiology in Castilian Passion Spirituality and Mysticism

16.30-16.55 - Roundtable

IMAGE: Paula Rego, ‘Pieta’, 2002 


Medical Humanities

Contact name: Joana Serrado
Contact email:
Audience: Open to all