The Collapse of Self-Transcendence – Evening Session with Dr. David Perrin

May 4, 2021 (7:30 -8:30 pm)

COVID-19 and the Reshaping of Meaning-Making in Everyday Life

As human beings we strive naturally to be the best person we can be. We hunger for deep meaning and happiness in our lives and search for ways to attain both; this is called “self-transcendence.” Given the centrality of self-transcendence in human life, whether one is a believer or not, opens the question of how the COVID-19 pandemic has potentially diminished or even cut off access to self-transcending experiences that are knit into our everyday lives. For example, our participation in social activities, visits to galleries to enjoy art, participation in rowdy sports activities, and community volunteering opportunities are all potentially self-transcending experiences. But we have been cut off from them to a large degree which, for many people, has led to a loss of hope and a rise in despair. There is an unrelenting feeling of uncertainty: we don’t know quite what to do with it or where to go to resolve it. This conference seeks to understand the role of “self-transcendence” in our lives, how COVID-19 has impacted it and ways to cope such that we become more aware of what we can do to feel centered and hopeful during these challenging times.


David B. Perrin, Ph.D. is a professor at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is the former President and Vice-Chancellor of St. Jerome’s University, a past-President of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, and was the Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada. As a professional educator, academic speaker and author, as well as a popular workshop and retreat director, he has given conferences, workshops and retreats on a range of topics in Canada, the United States and Europe. Of particular interest to him are the writings and life of the Spanish mystic John of the Cross. His popular interests focus on the lived experience of spirituality in today’s world and how that experience opens up new possibilities for meaningful faith-filled living. As a missionary in Haiti (two years) and graduate student in Rome, Italy (three years) he draws on a truly international experience to inform his reflection. He is the author of a number of books which include For Love of the World: The Old and New Self of John of the Cross (1997); The Sacrament of Reconciliation (1998) and Studying Christian Spirituality (2007). He is also the editor of Women Christian Mystics (2001). His latest book is The 20-Minute Retreat: 18 Sessions With the Saints to Nourish Your Faith (Novalis 2019).

Cost: Virtual: $10

To Register, please contact us at 613-623-4242 EX 21 or


Technical Requirements for Virtual Participation:

Computer or device with internet access, microphone and speakers or headphones with microphone; and an email address to receive invitation to the session.