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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ruined for Life A Practical Theological Study of Post-Immersion Conversion Experiences of Amor en Acción Missionaries
by Masters, David Dominic, D.Min., Barry University, 2013, 275; 3578402
Abstract (Summary)

This study explores the factors that affect the conversion trajectories of post-immersion missionaries. The data has been culled from focus group interviews and subjected to analysis from the perspectives of social philosophy, sociology, religious conversion theory, and Catholic Social Teaching. It follows the practical theological method known as “shared Christian praxis.”

It details the impediments to the subsequent deepening of conversion in the societal, ecclesial, interpersonal, familial, and intrapersonal spheres, namely, post-immersion depression, culture shock, feelings of guilt regarding one’s own relatively luxurious living conditions, blaming God for the obstinate pervasiveness of extreme poverty and political injustices, and communication difficulties between the missionaries and their non-missionary family members and friends.

It concludes that the aforementioned discouraging factors can be effectively countered via attention, during the post-immersion stage, to the missionaries’ expressed needs to continue to meet regularly with their respective missionary communities, to deprivatize their visions of spiritual conversion, to live a less opulent lifestyle, to participate in hands-on community service projects in conjunction with local poor people, to continue attempting to contribute to the reign of God locally, and to speak publically about their missionary experiences. It also finds that guided prayer methods, communal liturgies, mentorship, debriefing retreats for the missionaries and their families, ongoing study of the Bible and Catholic Social Doctrine, and long-term commitment to the missions, can be efficacious tools in the promotion of the consolidation and deepening of conversion and the prevention of backsliding.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cavalier, Wayne
Commitee: Marill, Alicia del Carmen, Rodriguez, George Luis
School: Barry University
Department: Theology and Philosophy
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 75/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy of religion, Theology, Religious education
Keywords: Catholic social teaching and doctrine, Evangelization, Missiology, Mission-in-reverse, Missionary, Religious conversion
Publication Number: 3578402
ISBN: 978-1-303-70117-7
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