Filtering by Category: adrienne von speyr

new book - una donna nella chiesa

Last year, a new book about Adrienne von Speyr, Adrienne von Speyr: Una Donna nella Chiesa, was published in Italian by Marcello Paradiso, an Italian theologian, who is a priest in the diocese of Termoli-Larino.

The book provides a wonderful summary of the major themes of Adrienne’s thought focused on her spirituality of vocation, confession, and obedience. From what I can understand from the work, Marcello advocates for Adrienne as a gift to the church’s continued need for reform and growth through a closeness to the mystical and spiritual traditions of the church.

For my Italian readers, I highly recommend this work and look forward to your comments about it as I presently do not speak or read Italian very well. If you would like to review this work and be published on this website, please send your interest to me on my contact page. Until then, enjoy this new scholarly work on Adrienne. Godere!

best secondary bibliography

Long in progress, I am pleased to announce the most comprehensive secondary bibliography on Adrienne von Speyr ever available.

This accomplishment is significant in that it gathers together the not yet connected scholars of Adrienne who are needing each other to grow toward the next era of scholarship on Adrienne. She has been and will be such a gift to the Church. Will you step in?

Please support this research by donating. Thank you.

balthasar on adrienne

Hans Urs von Balthasar

Here is a complete collection of Hans Urs von Balthasar's writings on Adrienne von Speyr. This list does not collect his citations of her in his own works or his introductions to her books. The primary works are his books First Glance and Our Task, which are so very essential to understanding both Balthasar and Adrienne. Enjoy!


  • Erster Blick auf Adrienne von Speyr (Einsiedeln: Johannes Verlag Einsiedeln, 1989). Translated as First Glance at Adrienne von Speyr, trans. Antje Larry and Sergio Englund (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1981)
  • Unser Auftrag: Bericht und Weisung (Einsiedeln: Johannes Verlag Einsiedeln, 2004). Translated as Our Task: A Report and a Plan, trans. John Saward (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1994)



  • Adrienne von Speyr und ihre kirchliche Sendung. Akten des römischen Symposiums (27-29 September 1985), edited by Hans Urs von Balthasar, Georges Chantraine, and Angelo Scola (Einsiedeln: Johannes Verlag Einsiedeln, 1986). Translated as La mission ecclésiale d'Adrienne von Speyr. Actes du colloque romain (27-29 septembre 1985) (Paris: Éditions Lethielleux and Culture et Vérité, 1986)


  • “Adrienne von Speyr (1902-1967). Die Miterfahrung der Passion und Gottverlassenheit,” Geist und Leben 58(1985):61-66
  • “Adrienne von Speyr et le sacrement de penitence,” Nouvelle Revue Théologique 107(1985):394-403
  • “Adriennes Charisma,” in Adrienne von Speyr und ihre kirchliche Sendung. Akten des römischen Symposiums (27-29 September 1985) (Einsiedeln: Johannes Verlag Einsiedeln, 1986), 173-78. Translated as “Le charisme d'Adrienne,” in La mission ecclésiale d'Adrienne von Speyr. Actes du colloque romain (27-29 septembre 1985) (Paris: Éditions Lethielleux and Culture et Vérité, 1986), 187-93.
  • “Das literarishe Werk Adriennes von Speyr,” in Adrienne von Speyr und Ihre Spirituelle Theologie: Die Referate am Symposion zu ihrem 100. Geburtstag 12. - 13. September 2002 in Freiburg im Breisgau, ed. Hans Urs von Balthasar Stiftung (Einsiedeln: Johannes Verlag Einsiedeln, 2002), 125-31
  • “Theologie des Abstiegs zur Hölle,” in Adrienne von Speyr und Ihre Spirituelle Theologie: Die Referate am Symposion zu ihrem 100. Geburtstag 12. - 13. September 2002 in Freiburg im Breisgau, ed. Hans Urs von Balthasar Stiftung (Einsiedeln: Johannes Verlag Einsiedeln, 2002), 138-46

new primary domain, new primary mission

About a decade ago, I began this website as a way to share my doctoral research on Adrienne von Speyr. Here was my first post. That original idea has grown into being an international hub for connecting scholars, saints, speyrians, and so many others interested in Adrienne von Speyr.

I wish I could share the diversity and beauty of all those that have visited and learned from this website. For me, I have met all kinds of people in and outside the church that are fascinated by Adrienne — such as high ranking church officials, discerning atheists, intense mystics, exploring theologians, simple priests, exuberant sisters, and so many wonderful friends. Wow. The Lord has used this website for so much good in the church. And It all began with that one small yes to the inspiration to make a website devoted to Adrienne von Speyr

As this website enters into its second decade, I would like to guide this work into a new domain:

The original works great as well as the other variants,, and

The reason for the change is to make this website more clear about from whom we are learning, about whom we are talking, and for whom we are advocating.

Adrienne is a world, a saint, and a doctor of the church. I will speak more about these missions soon and I’m so excited to share about this news, but all in proper ecclesial time - Lent before Easter.

This website has been a passion and mission for me. The cost of this website is a worthy cause. I strive for designed beauty and substantive writing. All together this website costs $260 for one year of website domain management via and also website design via These services are the best that I have found for consistent, safe, and beautiful hosting of this important mission. If you find this website valuable for yourself and others, please consider donating here.

Adrienne von Speyr with Medical Students

Thank you.

Please find all you need here at and may God bless another decade of devotion to the study of Adrienne von Speyr. May she pray for us and this mission to know the Lord more fully and follow him more closely.

would you please share my book

Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr, my book is available.

“Sutton’s deep penetration into Adrienne’s mystical gifts offers an excellent introduction to her unique vision and also helps hit the ‘reveal codes’ button for von Balthasar’s theology.” - Rev. Raymond Gawronski, S.J.

I don’t write here to sell books, but do share what I create in my writing and teaching. My newest book captures the foundation of my theological and spiritual work as I develop the profound mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr. You can find out more about it here.

If you’ve read my book, would you please considering sharing it with others by reviewing it in journals or online?

“In this significant monograph, Sutton brings expositional clarity and conceptual rigor to the extensive textual legacy of Adrienne von Speyr. It is a real accomplishment.” Dr. Paul Nimmo

All your help sharing my book gives me support to work on the next book, which will be available soon. I can’t wait to share this new one with you.

“This book has the potential to do for Adrienne von Speyr’s theology what Father Edward Oakes’ Pattern of Redemption did for Hans Urs von Balthasar’s in the mid-1990s, in this case by accessibly introducing Adrienne to a generation of students and scholars.” Dr. Matthew Levering

Please read and share my book. You can find it in print and as an ebook. Thank you for caring to share these ideas.

review of my book

The kind, Cyrus Olsen of the University of Scranton, reviews my book, Heaven Opens:

"The central thesis of the book is that the fulfilled mission of the Son opens heaven “to the Trinity and reveals the original image of the eternal, immanent relations of triune love”. Given that the bulk of von Speyr’s work is untranslated, Sutton’s study of the German and French renders a great service to the church and the academy in English-speaking contexts. ... Von Speyr needs an apologist capable of accounting for her analogical imagination if her trinitarian theology is to be taken more seriously today. ... Sutton may be poised to deliver an account."

Review PDF here. Citation: Cyrus P. Olsen, III (2014). Horizons, 41, pp 401-402 doi:10.1017/hor.2014.66

Buy my book on amazon or learn more here.

he descended into hell

"Your Son, Father, let himself be sent beyond his death on the Cross into hell, into that most abandoned, most desolate region in which no living man has ever set foot. He did this in order to share better in all your mysteries, in order to show you that he is never complacent in your service, in his love for you. He offered you the "extra" by going even farther with his descent into hell. Father, since we know what your Son suffered and endured for our sake out of love for you, let us prove ourselves grateful for it. Moved by the same love that you give to your Son in the Holy Spirit, let us attempt to offer to you and to him everything we do and suffer, hope for and love, in a manner pleasing to you. Do not let the grace of your Son be wasted on us. Let our answering Yes resound with such ringing finality that you can accept it as an irrevocably valid word. You can really hear it as such, because the overflowing love and grace of your Son that are bestowed upon us guarantee that his own powerlessness to go on will be inserted where our feeble powers fail, in order thereby to round out our mere attempt to an actual accomplishment, indeed, to his accomplishment, which he presents to you, to your eternal light, through his descent into darkness."

  • Adrienne von Speyr, With God and Men, pg. 66 - 67

a trinitarian anthropology by schumacher

Available now from Catholic University of America Press is the new book project from Michele Schumacher, a private docent at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Her book, A Trinitarian Anthropology: Adrienne von Speyr and Hans Urs von Balthasar in Dialogue with Thomas Aquinas will have much to contribute to von Speyr and Balthasar studies. I've always enjoyed her work like Women in Christ: Toward a New Feminism and I know you will too when you are able to read this important new book. You will find it on amazon.

Congratulations to Michele for this magisterial work!

the name adrienne

In my professional writing I often I will refer to Adrienne von Speyr as ‘von Speyr.’ Even though she took the surnames of her first (Dürr) and second (von Kaegi) husbands, she was published under her maiden name. While it is also common to use her name Adrienne, I choose to use the more common, English academic practice of using her surname.

On pronoucing her last name “Speyr,” one can say “spair”, “spire”, or “schpair” depending on which language one is speaking, be it English, German, or Swiss, respectively. I tend to use the Swiss style "schpair".

In my personal or informal writings, I refer to her as Adrienne. The Community of St. John chose to use first names with the personal pronoun du.

preorder my new book

We are two weeks before my book ships. I believe so strongly in this book and its impact for the scholarly and spiritual study of Adrienne von Speyr and Hans Urs von Balthasar. If you haven't preordered, please do so. You will be supporting me certainly (a good thing, I hope), but also supporting your further growth in deepening your faith in what our Lord has revealed to us in Jesus Christ.

His love endures.

Please preorder Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr.

more good words about my book

"Hans Urs von Balthasar is increasingly acknowledged as one of the greatest theologians of the Christian tradition. Unquestionably, he was master of Western civilization as few have ever been and brought all into the key of Christ. His spiritual mentor in this vast undertaking was Adrienne von Speyr, whose work von Balthasar held to be more important than his own. Karl Rahner famously observed that the Christian of the twenty-first century would be a mystic-or not be at all. Adrienne von Speyr models this for us: she was gifted with a 'cataract of mystical graces.' Matthew Lewis Sutton's deep penetration into her mystical gifts offers an excellent introduction to her unique vision and also helps hit the 'reveal codes' button for von Balthasar's theology." - Raymond Gawronski (Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, Berkeley, CA)

"This book has the potential to do for Adrienne von Speyr's theology what Father Edward Oakes's Pattern of Redemption did for Hans Urs von Balthasar's in the mid-1990s, in this case by accessibly introducing Adrienne to a generation of students and scholars. Focusing on the center of her thought-the opening of heaven through Christ's obedience so that we can share even now in the relationships that characterize the life of the divine Trinity, in light of her own experience of mystical penetration into the Father's sending of the Son and Spirit-Matthew Lewis Sutton ably presents Adrienne's teaching on the full panoply of theological topics. The convergence of her theology with von Balthasar's is striking." - Matthew Levering (Mundelein Seminary)

"Matthew Lewis Sutton's thorough, unpretentious, and lucid introduction to the person and work of Adrienne von Speyr is now the standard guide in English. Indeed, I suspect it will remain the standard for many years to come. If you're looking for an excellent introduction to Adrienne von Speyr, look no further." - Rodney Howsare (DeSales University)

"Matthew Lewis Sutton's explication of Adrienne von Speyr's insight into Christian spirituality untangles the style of the mystical writer, giving the reader access into the deep vision of this contemporary woman, which is too often dismissed as simplistic due to her uncomplicated language by some and as impenetrable due to her circular manner of her writing by others. Sutton's work uncovers wealth within subtlety and gives access to a truly inspired writer for sincere seekers of God's presence in the world. It is a must-read for those who have approached von Speyr but found her difficult to follow." - Justin M. Matro (Saint Vincent Seminary)

Please preorder Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr.

prayer is not monologue

For Adrienne, prayer is not monologue or even dialogue:

It is impossible for you to pray without also being right with God; that would be like carrying on a conversation while refusing to give your partner a chance to answer; a monologue, however, is never a prayer. (Lumina, p. 54-55)

Yes, prayer could never be a monologue of my words alone toward God. Even petitionary prayer should be seen as the Spirit groaning within us (Romans 8:26). Prayer must be more than monologue otherwise it is only self-talk as good as that could be. Prayer is blissful silence as one is encountered by the Word.

For Adrienne, prayer is not even a dialogue:

A prayer never becomes a dialogue; for either I speak and so do not listen, or God speaks and I am allowed to fall dumb and remain blissfully silent. And in fact, the way every Word of God appears—not sounds—is designed to make us blissful, even when it demands too much from us and uses us up. (Luminia, p. 55)

Yes, prayer could never be dialogue of my words in mêlée with God’s Word. Prayer is God’s word delivered to us, speaking through us. Prayer makes possible, Paul’s statement, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20). As if to say, it is no longer I who pray, but the Word who prays in me.

death and adrienne

I was thinking about death lately because I recently taught a graduate Eschatology course and came to this Woody Allen quotation: “It's not that I'm afraid to die it’s just that I don't want to be there when it happens” (Without Feathers, p. 99)

I was also thinking about several people who have died in my life recently and came to this quotation from Adrienne: “Death is God’s invention that finally prevents the sinner from resisting His grace” (Lumina, p. 59)

Yes, in theology, irresistible grace in its Calvinist version and efficient grace in its Catholic version have been isolated to a few select theological niches. Yet, here Adrienne reminds us that death, as an allowed intervention by God to his irresistible, efficient grace, confronts us to his potent, unavoidable presence. It is like the unavoidable presence of a parent extending his arm to his child and says, “Hold my hand.” What child will not accept that invitation? Why do we not see death as the Father extending his arm and saying to the new dead one, “Hold my hand.” Certainly, in death there will be no other hand to hold.

Yes, Woody Allen is right that one should not fear death because as Adrienne says,

“To fear death means to shift it completely into the temporal and to forget the power of the sacraments that ferry us over to the other side, that prepare and purify us. To know death, by contrast, means to know that God remains the eternal giver and that out of a kind of yearning He already uses the moment we pass over to manifest His presence more clearly” (Lumina, p. 60).

freedom to love

We have been given the freedom to love.

On September 29, 2012, I gave a moving presentation on freedom in relation to suffering, love, and the writings of Adrienne von Speyr on Mary.

The word that begins the presentation is from a volunteer at Heart’s Home, Marian W., “I wanted the freedom to love.”

Freedom as a gift from God is the critcal word of the presentation, but then I use it in relation to Adrienne von Speyr’s understanding of Mary as the perfectly free woman to help us understand that freedom enables love.

Here’s the presentation. I hope it helps you to love freely.