Heagle, John L.

views updated



Male. Education: Catholic University of America, M.A.; Pontifical Lateran University (Rome, Italy), licentiate in canon law.


Office—Therapy and Renewal Associates, 1037 South 102nd St., Seattle, WA 98168; fax: 206-763-7566.


Roman Catholic priest and psychotherapist. Ordained 1965; served as a pastor, college teacher, and campus minister; cofounder and codirector of Therapy and Renewal Associates, Seattle, WA; Seattle University, Seattle, adjunct faculty member at the School of Theology and Ministry, 1985—.


Life to the Full, Thomas More Press (Chicago, IL), 1976.

Our Journey toward God, Thomas More Press (Chicago, IL), 1977.

On the Way, photographs by Todd Brennan, Thomas More Press (Chicago, IL), 1981.

Suffering and Evil, Thomas More Press (Chicago, IL), 1987.

(With Fran Ferder) Partnership: Women and Men in Ministry, Ave Marie Press (Notre Dame, IN), 1989.

(With Fran Ferder) Your Sexual Self: Pathway to Authentic Intimacy, Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, IN), 1992.

Jesus: Divine and Human, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

(With Fran Ferder) Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality, Crossroad Press (New York, NY), 2002.


Roman Catholic priest John L. Heagle has written a number of books, including several with Fran Ferder, a Franciscan sister who, like Heagle, was originally with a La Crosse, Wisconsin diocese. They worked together for decades, holding retreats and conducting workshops, and they founded Therapy and Renewal Associates (TARA) in Seattle, Washington, where they also co-teach a graduate course in Christian sexuality at Seattle University. They primarily work with couples, married and unmarried, straight and gay, advising them to spend more time communicating and really listening to each other. Heagle told Gerry McCarthy in an interview for Social Edge online that "it's a real challenge in our information-based culture where we tend to be more 'human doings' than human beings. We get so stressed out that we don't value the need for emotional and physical nourishment that comes from closeness."

Heagle and Ferder's Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality was reviewed in National Catholic Reporter by Joan H. Timmerman, who noted that the authors begin chapters with quotes from such diverse sources as the Beatles, scripture, The Velveteen Rabbit, Miguel de Unamuno, and Teilhard de Chardin.

In the Tender Fires' foreword, the authors address why the opinions of two celibates can be significant for a broader audience. In fact, they write from their experiences as therapists, rather than from a solely religious perspective. They say that "like our clients, our students, and our brothers and sisters everywhere, we have been compelled by our sexuality and challenged by its demands. We have been energized by it, struggled with it, and cried about it. In the end, we have come to recognize that human sexuality embraces everyone in its sacred mysteries. It is a love story that belongs to all of us."

In an interview published in National Catholic Reporter, Heagle said that "celibacy doesn't just mean not having sex; it's a different way of loving. It's not a higher level of loving, just a different one. Celibacy is something that one can devote one's life to for the sake of service, relationships, and community. Or one can be celibate for a time and then move on. On the other hand, the church needs to finally recognize the profound sacredness of marriage and covenantal partnerships."

Timmerman commented that Heagle and Ferder "want to make accessible 'a spiritual vision that guides our approach to relationships.' When they capture something like this connection between sexuality and fire, it can be exhilarating, a reminder of the best workshops one has ever taken (or given): 'When human persons love one another they are stepping into the energy field where little universes of fire are ignited, where chemistry occurs, where something within them will be set aflame.…In so doing they are truly communicating with the divine.'"



Best Sellers, July, 1976, Stephen J. Casey, review of Life to the Full, p. 132.

Library Journal, October 1, 2002, Graham Christian, review of Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality, p. 104.

National Catholic Reporter, August 30, 2002, Joan H. Timmerman, review of Tender Fires and "Energies of Attraction and Connection" (interview), p. 17.


Social Edge,http://www.thesocialedge.com/ (December, 2002), Gerry McCarthy, "The Social Edge Interview: Fran Ferder and John Heagle Speak about the Spiritual Promise of Sexuality."*

About this article

Heagle, John L.

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article