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Sister Susan Van Baalen, OP, Speaks of Religious Pluralism: ‘One Truth, Many Paths’

May 2, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – A statement by Mahatma Gandhi that there is one truth but many paths to that truth “seems to be the consensus of millions, even billions, of people in the 21st century.”

Sister Susan Van Baalen, OP

That was the opening statement of Sister Susan Van Baalen, OP, in her April 21, 2022, spirituality presentation on world religions, “One Truth, Many Paths.” The live streamed event was part of a monthly series of presentations on spirituality sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Spirituality Committee.

Noting that we are “all on our personal journey,” Sister Susan invited her audience to open themselves to the spiritual gifts of other faith traditions – while maintaining their fidelity to their own faith tradition, the one that God is calling them to follow. 

“Even if I believe my tradition is exactly right for me, I can also believe that their tradition is exactly right for them,” she said. She described this as an inclusive stance to world religions. A further step on this path, she added, is religious pluralism, which leads people to “embrace some of the rich practices” of other traditions while remaining true to their own. 

Sister Susan said that most world religions have common values. “There are as many commonly used names for the union with God as there are faith traditions,” she said. “In each, [religious practice] stems from a journey of letting go of all that is not of God – all thoughts, words, and actions of this world – and living in unconditional love.”

Sister Susan spent much of her talk describing the different practices and common principles of Eastern spiritualities, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism and the “people of the book,” including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Watch Sister Susan’s entire presentation below.


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Avatar  JoAnn Kimball 2 weeks agoReply

This might be a good topic for our church Living the Eucharist discussion group. Are there any supplementary/interactive materials that accompany this presentation?



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