Spirit Alive: About Us

Our Story and Mission

Spirit Alive: The CSJ Institute for Faith Inquiry and Education, inaugurated in 2021, is a new educational initiative supported by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Brentwood NY. The institute represents a broadening and extension of our commitment to education, beyond the traditional K-12 classroom, to engage all people seeking a deeper understanding of their faith, themselves, and their world.

The idea for this Institute was nurtured by many conversations in which concern was expressed about the need to provide adult believers and seekers with solid educational opportunities to enhance their faith and navigate an increasingly complex world. Spirit Alive is a response to that need. It is made possible thanks to the financial support of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and donations from those interested in supporting our programming.
Our mission is to provide programs that aim to:

  • Increase the human desire to know God, the source of all being, so that by knowing and loving God, all persons can come to a more profound understanding of themselves and all of creation.
  • Invite personal transformation
  • Promote justice and peace, and invite involvement in transforming unjust structures.
  • Provide a space for inquiry and discussion about complicated issues for which there are no easy black and white answers.

    The Institute will deliver its programs both virtually and at select venues. For information about programming for fall 2021 see the Program Tab.
Director’s Welcome

My name is Maria Pascuzzi. I have been a member of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Brentwood, for over 50 years. During that time, I completed a License in Sacred Scripture (SSL) at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome and a doctorate in Biblical Theology (STD) at the Gregorian University, Rome. When I returned from studies, I taught locally at two diocesan seminaries (Saint Joseph’s Dunwoodie, and Immaculate Conception, Huntington, NY). Since then, I have held several academic and administrative appointments, have authored various books and articles on Sacred Scripture, and have been blessed with many opportunities to touch people’s lives through the ministry of teaching.

In my travels, and back home here on Long Island, I have consistently observed people’s hunger to understand and deepen their faith. As Spirit Alive evolves, and we grow our programming, it is my hope that what we offer will help you with your questions and afford some insights and information to nourish your faith journey.

Spirit Alive programs are open to everyone – no distinctions. All are welcome. All questions are welcome, though we don’t expect to have all the answers.

The Advisory Board

Spirit Alive is privileged to have the support and expertise of theologians, school administrators, pastors, parish ministers, and those who have dedicated their lives to spreading the Good News.
You can get to know this inspiring and dedicated group of people by clicking on the images and reading about them below.

S. Jean Amore

Rev. Patrick Griffin CM

Sister Lauren Hanley, CSJ

Deacon Ernest F. Hart

Diane Vella

Thomas Petriano

James Philipps

Rev. Robert J. Smith

Mary Ann Spicijarik

Sister Maryellen Kane, CSJ