QUOTES FROM SPIRITUAL LEADERS, FOLLOWERS, THEOLOGIANS & PHILOSOPHERS – We invite your original contributions or words from your favorite spiritual leaders. (Email contributions of quotes here.)

Maya Angelou – Born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou is known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. In 1971, Angelou published the Pulitzer Prize-nominated poetry collection Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die. She later wrote the poem “On the Pulse of Morning”—one of her most famous works—which she recited at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Angelou received several honors throughout her career, including two NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary work (nonfiction) category, in 2005 and 2009. She died on May 28, 2014. (from

Wendell Berry –  Born in Henry County, Kentucky, in 1934. The author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Wendell Berry has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1962), …a National Institute of Arts and Letters award for writing (1971), [and numerous other awards.] His books include the novel Hannah Coulter (2004), the essay collections Citizenship Papers (2005) and The Way of Ignorance (2006), and Given: Poems (2005), all available from Counterpoint. Berry’s latest works include The Mad Farmer Poems (2008) and Whitefoot (2009)…. He lives and works with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Port Royal, Kentucky. (from

John Dominic Crossan –  (born February 17, 1934) is an Irish-American New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity, and former Catholic priest who has produced both scholarly and popular works. His research has focused on the historical Jesus, on the anthropology of the Ancient Mediterranean and New Testament worlds…. His work is controversial…. He describes Jesus’ ministry as founded on free healing and communal meals, negating the social hierarchies of Jewish culture and the Roman Empire. Crossan is a major scholar in contemporary historical Jesus research. (from Wikipedia) See John Crossan’s inspirational writing.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes – (born January 27, 1945) is an American poet, Jungian psychoanalyst, post-trauma recovery specialist, author and spoken word artist….  Her doctorate, from the Union Institute & University [1981], is in ethno-clinical psychology on the study of social and psychological patterns in cultural and tribal groups. She often speaks as “distinguished visiting scholar” and “diversity scholar” at universities. She is the author of many books on the journey of the soul. Beginning in 1992 and onward, her work has been published in 37 languages. Her book Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of The Wild Woman Archetype was on The New York Times’ best seller list for 145 weeks. (from Wikipedia) See Clarissa Estes inspirational writing.

Karen Gatlin – is a soul coach and mentor, a retired UCC minister, and a Reiki practitioner living in Conifer, CO. She is an advocate for at-risk children, an ally for the LGBT community for 35 plus years, a voice for peace and social justice from the pulpit and in print. She finds her center by returning to nature, mediation and yoga, through creativity, praying, and especially by deep sharing with trusted friends and colleagues. See Karen’s prayer.

Thich Nhat Hanh – “is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace. He is the man Martin Luther King called “An Apostle of peace and nonviolence.” His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.” (from Plum Village website) See: Thich Nhat Hanh’s inspirational writing

Abraham Joshua Heschel – “Abraham Joshua Heschel was a Jewish American rabbi, scholar and philosopher who was very active in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement…. Heschel wrote books and studies on medieval Jewish philosophy – on Saadiah Gaon, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Maimonides, and Don Isaac Abrabanel – as well as on Hasidism. He became one of the most influential modern philosophers of religion in the United States, where his work is widely recognized in Jewish and Christian circles.” See Abraham Heschel’s inspirational writing

His Holiness the Dalai Lama –  “His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. He is the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the very young age of two, the child who was named Lhamo Dhondup at that time, was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are believed to be enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.” See the Dalai Lama’s inspirational words

James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City. He famously wrote about the period that “the negro was in vogue”, which was later paraphrased as “when Harlem was in vogue”. First published in 1921 in The Crisis — official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) — “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, which became Hughes’s signature poem, was collected in his first book of poetry The Weary Blues (1926). Read Hughes’ inspiring poetry.

Thomas Merton – “Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has sold over one million copies and has been translated into over fifteen languages. He wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race.” See Merton’s inspirational writing

Pablo Neruda – Born: July 12, 1904, Parral, Chile. Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet-diplomat and politician Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto…. Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Died: September 23, 1973, Santiago, Chile. (from Wikipedia) “No writer of world renown is perhaps so little known to North Americans as Chilean poet Pablo Neruda….”  Numerous critics have praised Neruda as the greatest poet writing in the Spanish language during his lifetime, although many readers in the United States have found it difficult to disassociate Neruda’s poetry from his fervent commitment to communism…. Nonetheless, declared John Leonard in the New York Times, Neruda “was, I think, one of the great ones, a Whitman of the South.” (from

Mary Oliver – Mary Oliver (born September 10, 1935) is an American poet who has won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times described her as “far and away, this country’s best-selling poet.” Mary Oliver’s poetry is grounded in memories of Ohio and her adopted home of New England, setting most of her poetry in and around Provincetown since she moved there in the 1960s. Influenced by both Whitman and Thoreau, she is known for her clear and poignant observances of the natural world. Her creativity is stirred by nature, and Oliver, an avid walker, often pursues inspiration on foot. Her poems are filled with imagery from her daily walks near her home: shore birds, water snakes, the phases of the moon and humpback whales. (from Wikipedia)

Jellaludin Rumi  – “a 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic. Rumi’s influence transcends national bwherever-you-are-rumiorders and ethnic divisions: Iranians, Tajiks, Turks, Greeks, Pashtuns, other Central Asian Muslims, and the Muslims of South Asia have greatly appreciated his spiritual legacy for the past seven centuries.” (from Wikipedia) See Rumi’s inspirational writing

Starhawk – Starhawk (born Miriam Simos on June 17, 1951) is an American writer and activist. She is known as a theorist of feminist Neopaganism and ecofeminism. She is a columnist for and for On Faith, the Newsweek/ Washington Post online forum on religion. Starhawk’s book The Spiral Dance (1979) was one of the main inspirations behind the Goddess movement. In 2012, she was listed in Watkins’ Mind Body Spirit magazine as one of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People. (from Wikipedia)

Mother Theresa of Calcutta – Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor. Considered one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century, she was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016. (from See Mother Theresa’s inspirational writing.

John Wesley – an 18th century Anglican (Christian) evangelist and founder of te Wesleyan Tradition. Wesley, with his brother Charles and fellow cleric George Whitefield, founded Methodism (the Methodist Church). See Wesley’s inspirational writing.

Walter Wink – “Walter Wink (May 21, 1935 – May 10, 2012) was an American biblical scholar, theologian, and activist who was an important figure in Progressive Christianity. Wink spent much of his career teaching at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. He was well known for his advocacy of and work related to nonviolent resistance and his seminal works on ‘The Powers’, Naming the Powers (1984), Unmasking the Powers (1986), Engaging the Powers (1992), When the Powers Fall (1998), and The Powers that Be (1999). He is also known for coining the phrase ‘the myth of redemptive violence.'” (from Wikipedia) See Wink’s inspirational writing.

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