Trauma, says Dr Karen O’Donnell, Coordinator of the Centre for Contemporary Spirituality at Sarum College, ‘is like an earthquake that rips through a person’s identity, uprooting previously secure beliefs and shifting the landscape of faith in unrecognisable ways.
‘For some who experience traumatic events, or even second-hand trauma, their spirituality requires reconfiguring and readjusting in the aftermath of trauma. For others, spirituality can be a contributing factor in building resilience and promoting post-traumatic remaking.’
In her new book, Broken Bodies: The Eucharist, Mary and the Body in Trauma Theology (SCM Press), O’Donnell considers how trauma disrupts Christian faith and what theological steps might be taken in the aftermath of a traumatic experience.
In her book launch on Tuesday 22 January, at 5.30pm O’Donnell will present a call to embrace the bodiliness of Christian faith and spirituality and urge a love of the body in the aftermath of trauma.
Considering bodies and memories to be at the heart of a traumatic experience, this book focuses on the places where bodies and memory come together in Christianity. What does the Eucharist look like from the perspective of trauma? What about priesthood? Or sacrifice?