Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (MTh)




Martin Luther University College

First Advisor

Thomas O'Connor

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This paper addresses the research question of "What is a spiritual healing model in the context of grief for aging women experiencing loss of self?” In order to understand the premise for this study, concepts of: feminine symbolism, grief, aging women and spirituality are explored. A review of selected grief literature describes the grief process and emphasis of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Erich Lindemann, John Bowlby, and Phyllis Silverman. The psychological development of women outlined by Carol Gilligan and the Stone Centre are discussed in relation to women's voice, self and relationships. The grief of aging women reveals: the need to recreate the self; the multiplicity and rapidity of losses; gender differences; unique losses of women; and effects of grief on women. The spiritual and religious impact on aging women is discussed in relation to the religious oppression they may face, the recovery of loss of self and the value of “spirituality of relationship." The final chapter describes the seven phases of the spiritual healing model: brokenness, wrestling, surrendering/yielding, resting/waiting, hope, arise/new beginnings, and new life. Included are spiritual and theological implications for women, and vignettes of pastoral approaches. Maintaining and rebuilding the values of: being in relationship; connectedness; caring; expression of voice and being heard; values triad of love, serenity, and service, helps women transcend grief and find themselves.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season