The spirituality of the Reverend Thomas Frederick Price, M.M.

John Thomas Seddon, Fordham University


The goal of this study was to analyze the spirituality of the Reverend Thomas Frederick Price, M.M., (1860-1919) co-founder of Maryknoll, offically known as the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America. Emerging from the southern American post-civil war culture he was a leader of the American Roman Catholic missionary effort, a magazine publisher, and the editor of two biographies of Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) of Lourdes. After a review defining the field of spirituality, a seven step multi-disciplinary method is developed that for the critical study of a specific spirituality using theological archetypes. The seven steps of the method include: determining the cultural setting, examining the sources, establishing the life history, determining the expressive/systematic theology, identifying the spiritual foundations, presenting the experiential theology or spirituality, and the evaluation. The three parts of the evaluation include: systematic theology, psychology and comparison with the Christian spirituality tradition. The results of the analysis using the above method was the first systematic presentation of Father Price's theology and his spirituality. His systematic theology was deeply rooted in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and was integrated into his prayer life. The analysis of the spirituality reveals a spiritual marriage between Price and Bernadette Soubirous and a mystical marriage between both of them and Jesus Christ. The evaluation of the spiritual journey and theology as experienced by Price concluded that his experience was a further development of the spiritual love tradition that includes Bernard of Clairvaux and Francis of Assisi. Father Price's experience is an important development in the understanding of spiritual relationships. The method developed has general application for systematic analysis of the theology and the spirituality. Furthermore, it provides a model of integrating a multidisciplinary approach to spirituality with strict controls and criteria of evaluation that has applications throughout the field of spirituality and theology. The study advances our understanding of the spiritual marriage and points to the need for further study in the area of the spirituality of married couples.

Subject Area

Theology|Clergy|American history|Biographies

Recommended Citation

Seddon, John Thomas, "The spirituality of the Reverend Thomas Frederick Price, M.M." (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8918643.