CHAPLAIN

As a chaplain, I offer pastoral care, group work, and liturgical leadership.

My passion for group experience was sparked by my work in the early 2000s as a hospital chaplain, leading spirituality groups with those facing addiction and on inpatient psychiatric units. For the past fifteen years I have continued my chaplaincy through the Center for Urban Community Services, doing memorial services for people who knew homelessness during their lives. I have been certified with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains since 2002.

My doctoral work combined depth psychology and theology. I apply this to my current pastoral work by helping individuals and communities discover the freedom within their own faith, and then helping them develop the means to enjoy that freedom.

In collaboration with inspiring colleagues, I offer workshops and retreat days in a variety of religious and secular settings. These have included An Invitation to Inner Life: Finding and Cultivating Your Own Devotional Practice (Tibet House and the Church of St. Francis Xavier); Delighting in the Spirit: A Retreat Day for Women (Hitchcock Presbyterian Church); Naked Wisdom: Uncovering Hidden Meanings in the Story of Adam and Eve (Union Theological Seminary); The Theology of Self Care (National Association of Catholic Chaplains); The Abundance of the Alabaster Jar: A Day of Recreation and Ritual (Church of St. Francis Xavier); and Wise Women circles (private settings).  

Contact me to request a workshop or retreat day.

Working with members of my parish community, I co-create Catholic liturgies that meet the unique needs of the community at particular moments in our collective faith life. These have included: Reconciliation services during Advent and Lent;  Ash Wednesday and Good Friday services; Liturgy of the Hours; services in honor of Mary Magdalene; healing rituals including Rolling Back the Stone: Naming the Injustices Against Women in the Church, and celebrations such as the anniversary Mass for the LGBT ministry at Xavier.

Contact me about consulting with your Catholic parish to develop the vibrant and inclusive faith life of your community.

Teacher

Teaching Bible Studies at the Church of St. Francis Xavier is one of my favorite ways to share my passion for the Bible.

My first Bible Study in 2002 was based on my Masters Thesis at Fordham’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GRRE); this course focused on the gospel passages excluded from the Sunday Lectionary of the Roman Catholic Church. My most recent Bible Study, Women’s Power in the Bible, builds on original scholarship I have been developing since my doctoral studies in the Hebrew Bible at Union Theological Seminary. The course unearths the various sources of power available through the ancient biblical text that do not depend on patriarchy.  As adjunct professor, I also teach psychology and religion courses to masters students at Fordham University’s GRRE. 

Contact me to be notified when I’m teaching a course.

BiBLE Scholar

My scholarship brings together the fields of Biblical Studies and Depth Psychology. 

Much of my scriptural exegesis begins with an exploration of a particular Hebrew word in the ancient text. I am fascinated by the ways the history of interpretation and translation has buried possible meanings, and I love bringing these possibilities to light. Delving into the Hebrew Bible and psychoanalytic theory are two ways I celebrate my Jewish heritage and deepen my Catholic faith.  

Here is an example of my exegesis, and here are some thoughts on who wrote the Bible.

Catholic Feminist

As someone who came into the Catholic Church as an adult, and as a woman called to both priesthood and motherhood, my faith journey is entwined with my continuing growth as a feminist.

I believe that the beauty at the heart of the Church -- Christ’s living message of love and transformation -- needs no longer be bound by misogyny. I am active in the women’s ministry at Xavier, The Women Who Stayed, and helped launch the initiative I Have Something to Say which features a homily written by a woman each week. I am part of FutureChurch’s First 100 Deacons campaign and encourage and support women and men who heed their call. Only in communion with each other and with the Spirit can we successfully challenge the grip that patriarchy and institutional sin hold on Catholic consciousness. This work can be wearying at times, and I renew my vision, joy and access to the divine by delving into the treasure trove of mystic traditions within and beyond Catholicism and by connecting with the natural world.

Here are some ways I bring Catholic and Feminist together.

 

Dr. Elizabeth Berne DeGear | Photo by Jordan Matter

Publications & COURSES

Books

'For She Has Heard': The Standing Stone in Joshua 24 and the Development of a Covenant Symbol, Hardcover – August 20, 2015 (available at "scholars' price" from Sheffield Phoenix Press)

Mornings with Jesus 2019 (contributor), available late 2018 from Guideposts

Journals

Gaze of Grace: Revisiting the Immaculate Conception in Light of DW Winnicott’s Concept of Maternal-Infant Mirroring, Union Seminary Quarterly Review, VOL 65:3&4 (2016) pp 9-22.

The Bible as Transformational Object: The Psychoanalytic Theories of Christopher Bollas and Their Relevance for Religious Educators, Religious Education, 111:5 (2016), 470-486,

Online Articles

Prince’s genius changed my life: How I quit my network job — and found religion — to his funky beat, Salon.com, June 7, 21016.

"The Truth About Eve", The Banquet (member-only content), July 2017.

Scholarly Papers

Holy Witness: The standing stone in Joshua 24 and the Badimo in Botswana’s African Independent Churches., Joshua-Judges Section and Postcolonial-Studies-and-Biblical-Studies section. Annual Meeting; November 2013.

Egyptian Returnees as Unwelcome Playmates? Winnicott’s ‘Psychopathology of Play’ and its implications for the current state of biblical scholarship. Annual Meeting; November 2011.

L’Ruach Hayyom in Genesis 3:8. Pentateuch/Law Section. Mid-Atlantic Meeting, March 2010.

Bible Studies

at the Church of St. Francis Xavier

Women's Power in the Bible, Spring 2017

Awe, Thanksgiving and Mercy, Fall 2016

The Earth, the Bible and Us: inspired by Laudato Si, Spring 2016

The Merciful God of the Old Testament Advent 2015

Testimony: A Bible Study for the Spiritual Introvert Spring 2015

Resurrection: In the Bible, in Christian Tradition, and in Us Spring 2014

Annunciation Stories Advent 2013

Mary Our Jewish Mother: The Human and Divine Feminine in Ancient Israel Spring 2013

Christ as Relational Messiah Spring 2012

Jesus’ Scriptures: A New Look at the Old Testament Spring 2011

The Gospel of Mark, Spring 2010

The Gospel of Mark and Active Imagination Spring 2009

Hebrew Bible and Healing Spring 2007

Genesis 2-3 in English and in Hebrew Spring 2004

Genesis I in English and in Hebrew Lent 2003

A Collective Translation of Genesis I Easter Season, 2003

The Gospel of Mark:The Ministry of Jesus as the Expansion of Consciousness Fall 2002

What We Don’t Hear on Sunday:The Gospel passages that do not appear in the Sunday Lectionary, Lent 2002

Academic Courses

at Fordham University's Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education

Human Growth and Development Fall 2014

Psychology and Religion/Spirituality: Online course Fall 2014, Fall 2013