My abiding interest is in the place where philosophy, psychology and
— East, West and beyond — intersect and mutually enhance one another.
— John G. Sullivan
A Life in Four Parts
My name is John G. Sullivan. I am a native of Newport, Rhode Island and still hear the echoes of the ocean wherever I roam.
The Roman Catholic Church: I am a former Roman Catholic priest. I was ordained in 1963, studied in Rome during the Second Vatican Council (1963-66), and acted as Assistant Chancellor of the diocese of Providence, Rhode Island (1966-68). I left the official ministry in 1968, when it became clear to me that the promise of Vatican II would not be realized. I hold two earned doctorates: one in ecclesiastical law (J.C.D.,1966) from the Lateran University in Rome, Italy, and one in philosophy (Ph.D.,1982) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
John Sullivan with his wife Gregg
Winn Sullivan in Barcelona, Spain
Elon University: In 1970, I joined the faculty at Elon University (then Elon College) in North Carolina. At Elon, I was winner of the Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching (1980), named Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of Philosophy (1985), and became Elon's first Distinguished University Professor (2002). I retired in August 2006, after 36 years teaching at Elon. In 2008, I received the Elon Medallion for long-time distinguished service. My personal Web page may be viewed at www.elon.edu/sullivan.
Tai Sophia Institute: In addition to my work at Elon, I am a long-time participant in the work of Tai Sophia Institute in Laurel, Maryland. I co-founded, in 1987, the Institute's SOPHIA project (School of Philosophy and Healing in Action), a program for adult learners. More recently, I acted as principal designer of an innovative Master of Arts program that began at Tai Sophia in January 2002. The program, first called an MA in Applied Healing Arts, was renamed in 2009, an MA in Transformative Leadership and Social Change. The program's uniqueness and continuity rest on a proven approach to transformation - personal, institutional and global. I continue to teach in that program. For more on Tai Sophia, see
I am the author of four books, most recently, The Fourfold
Path to Wholeness: A Compass for the Heart and The Spiral of the Seasons: Welcoming the Gifts of Later Life, which you will find described elsewhere in these pages. My earlier books are To Come to Life More Fully: An East West Journey (1991), and Living Large: Transformative Work at the Intersection of Ethics and Spirituality (2004). (Click on the titles to purchase them through the Tai Sophia Institute Bookstore).
Second Journey: Most recently I have become keenly
interested in the issue of spirituality in later life and have found an outlet for that interest through my work with the North Carolina non-profit, Second Journey. This has included leading seminars and workshops — solo and with colleagues — and serving as a regular contributor to Itineraries, their quarterly publication. You will find the product of these endeavors in this "Corner" of the Second Journey website.
My wife, Gregg , and I live in Burlington, NC. I may be reached by email at