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Book Chapter

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Loyola eCommons


The self unfolds through a life long journey of becoming and making meaning. This chapter elucidates the role of spirituality in older women’s lives. First it sets the context for the role of religion, addressing demographics and research on gender and faith. The distinction between spirituality and religion is discussed. Spiritual struggle and suffering are identified as normative experiences. In a section on theory and models, feminism, gerotranscendence, and narrative are described as they relate to spirituality. Three modern writers and one research participant provide examples of the variation that may occur on a spiritual path. Discussion provides further elaboration and guidance to mental health professionals who want to address and support the spiritual lives of women. Aging invites women to come alive in new ways as they honor the journey home to their authentic self, a self that is always larger than what they can dream.


This has been published in Older Women: Current and Future Challenges of Professionals with an Aging Population, Bentham Science, 2016. Due to licensing restrictions, the chapter is no longer available for download.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2099

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