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Magazine or journal: Review for Religious

Country United States of America
Year started 1942
Language English
Website http://www.reviewforreligious.org/
Email reviewrfr@gmail.com

Review for Religious remains one of the best kept secrets among Jesuit apostolates in the United States. Fathers Augustine Ellard, Adam Ellis, and Gerald Kelly—all faculty members of the Jesuit theology school at St. Marys, Kansas—were the founding editors in 1942. While there were journals dedicated to specific religious life traditions, for example, Benedictine or Franciscan or Dominican, these Jesuits had the inspiration to provide a journal that would primarily serve all women and men religious and allow for an intercommunity forum for sharing information about religious life, prayer and spirituality, ministerial practices, and helpful canonical guidelines. In the English language, this journal today retains its unique place of being a resource for how both lay and religious understand and practice the spiritualities in the Church and how they live them in their everyday life vocations.

Father Richard Smith SJ became editor in 1959, followed by Father Daniel Meenan SJ in 1975. At Meenan’s death in 1987, Father Philip Fischer SJ became acting editor, with Father David Fleming SJ taking on the editor’s role in 1988.

Throughout the years other Jesuits, women religious, and lay people have filled out the editorial staff. Currently the staff includes Father Philip Fischer SJ as associate editor, Mary Ann Foppe as office manager, Tracy Gramm as design and art director, and Judy Sharp as secretary. Sister Clare Boehmer ASC serves as webmaster part-time, and so, too, two contributing editors, Sister Elizabeth McDonough OP for canon law applications and Father Eugene Hensell OSB for scripture reflections.

An advisory board was created in 1990 and continues to meet twice a year. The board members serve for three to six year terms. Members represent different religious charisms, ethnic backgrounds, a mix of lay and religious and the hierarchy being usually represented by a religious bishop. The board has been invaluable in setting directions for the journal and in critiquing its content, makeup, and design.

The journal has been through a number of changes in its sixty-five year history. It began as a bi-monthly of 72 pages, ballooned to a hefty 160 pages in the 1960s and 70s, and in more recent times has become a quarterly of 112 pages. Its readership remains primarily women and men religious, but increasingly continues to serve priest and lay people alike because of the Vatican II-fostered interest in spiritualities, in the working together in the various forms of community life, and in the sharing of ministerial applications.

The founding editors in the very first issue identified a two-fold purpose: “first, to aid religious in their personal sanctification; and secondly, to be of some service to them in carrying on their respective apostolic works.” The current mission statement published in each issue of the journal reads: “Review for Religious fosters dialogue with God, dialogue among ourselves, and dialogue with others about the holiness we try to live according to the charisms of Catholic religious life. As Pope Paul VI said, our way of being church is today the way of dialogue.”

With its circulation hovering around 5000, and with readers in over seventy countries in the world, Review for Religious remains a valued resource for people serious about pursuing their spiritual growth, for those looking to expand their ministerial involvement, and for members of religious congregations and for spiritual directors seeking guidance and continuing formation. As a typical Jesuit work, Review for Religious embodies the ministry of the word and seeks to serve the church by helping people fulfill their God-given vocation, religious, priestly, or lay.

Throughout the years, Review for Religious has published significant articles on Ignatian spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises since this spirituality and retreat form has been a major influence in church and religious life. Another service provided by Review for Religious is a series of books compiled by Father David Fleming from articles of the journal focused on a certain theme, such as Ignatian retreats, spiritual direction, prayer, and religious life. Some twelve books are available, the last three to be published being original works and not compilations.

Review for Religious from its early days receives its content from unsolicited manuscripts. The editor makes the ultimate decision about acceptance or rejection of manuscripts. Each issue then is made up from the “treasury” of manuscripts accepted. Only in the past fifteen years has the editor begun to group articles already accepted around a certain topic. In each issue there may be three or four topic areas, along with the usual departments of canonical counsel, scripture scope, and book reviews.

The editor of Review for Religious since 1988 is Reverend David L. Fleming SJ. He has a Jesuit associate editor, Father Philip Fischer SJ. Other staff members include: Tracy Gramm for design and layout.

Review for Religious is a quarterly of 112 pages. We do not publish supplements.