History of Imago Dei
Since the beginning of the new millennium, a study group program for Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, called A New Language, has been growing rapidly in the United States, Canada, and worldwide.
A New Language originated under the umbrella of Women Affirming Life, Inc., based in the Archdiocese of Boston (dissolved in 2008). With their generous support, the Theology of the Body project expanded, with groups operating or in formation nationally and in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
To provide a new vehicle to continue the study group program, volunteers in Washington DC formed a new non-profit corporation called Imago Dei, Inc. The mission of Imago Dei is to evangelize society on the Catholic meaning of sexuality and marriage drawing on Scriptures and Catholic Tradition, with particular emphasis on the human person as made in the Image of God. The specific means of carrying out this mission is through the study guide A New Language, based on the book Crossing the Threshold of Love by Dr. Mary Shivanandan, professor-emerita at the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America.
Led by trained facilitators, the 24-session A New Language uses a participatory format that allows study group members to explore and understand the pope’s teaching in the context of their own experiences. This group experience has a transforming effect, drawing all to a deeper understanding and practice of their faith. Participants appreciate more deeply their masculinity and femininity and vocation in life. They hear the call to communion with others and with the Holy Trinity in the married, single, and consecrated states.
This project has grown quickly. A New Language is already in use in more than 25 U.S. dioceses and several other countries. As participants have noted, A New Language is a wonderful way to gain “a new understanding of myself, men, and women and how we were meant to be before the Fall,” and to discover “a new appreciation of Saint John Paul II’s teachings.” We recognize that this growth is spurred by the hunnger for orthodox teaching and the spiritual nourishment people find in Saint John Paul II’s teaching.
Imago Dei is excited to continue this essential work of evangelization. A New Language has proven to be an effective way to spread a message that is much needed in our world: the sacred nature of marriage and sexuality and the dignity of each man and woman, gifts of God and gifts to one another.
Our mission is to evangelize society on the Catholic meaning of sexuality and marriage, drawing on Scriptures and Catholic Tradition, with particular emphasis on the human person as made in the Image of God (Imago Dei). Our mission is carried out through the specific means of A New Language: A Study Guide on John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, presented in small study groups. Our mission, supported by prayer and witness, is carried out under the mantle and guidance of our Blessed Mother, who perfectly lived the loving gift of body leading to the fruitfulness of the Incarnation, and the patronage of Saint John Paul II.
Approved by unanimous vote of the Board of Directors, April 21, 2009, and amended June 20, 2011.