Father Adrian van Kaam, CSSp, PhD
Father Adrian van Kaam, CSSp, PhD, (1920-2007), the originator of formation science and its underlying formation anthropology, was born April 19, 1920 in The Hague, Netherlands. At the age of twelve, he went to the junior seminary of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Weert, did his novitiate in Gennep, and professed his vows on August 29, 1940 at the senior seminary in Gemert. Prior to his ordination on July 21, 1946, he endured the infamous Hunger Winter of 1944-1945, where many of his ideas came to birth. In 1954 after ministering in Holland for eight years at the seminary as a teacher of philosophical anthropology, and in the Dutch Life Schools of Formation for Young Adults as a colleague of their foundress, Dr. Maria Schouwenaars, he came to the United States where he was appointed to direct the Department of Psychology at Duquesne University. He taught there for nine years, receiving the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. During this period of teaching and research Father attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland where he received his doctorate in psychology, writing his dissertation on "The Experience of Really Feeling Understood by a Person." Shortly thereafter he became an American citizen.
From 1954 to 1963, he taught his original approach to psychology as a human science. In 1963 he founded the graduate-level Institute of Man, renamed in 1979, the Institute of Formative Spirituality (IFS), where he taught as a professor in this field until its closing in 1993. In 1979 he co-founded with Dr. Susan Muto the Epiphany Association which serves as a resource center dedicated to post-graduate study in the classical and contemporary field of formative spirituality. During this period of creative writing and instruction, Father received an honorary Doctor of Christian Letters from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. The author of numerous books on spiritual formation, an inspiration to many, a renowned speaker, a prolific poet, Father Adrian’s work enjoys worldwide recognition. From 1979 onward, he served as senior researcher and chaplain-in-residence of the Epiphany Academy of Formative Spirituality.
In 2004 Father retired to Libermann Hall, Bethel Park. From 2005 until his death in 2007, he lived serenely under the skilled care of the Little Sister of the Poor on the North Side of Pittsburgh.
View Father Adrian's Chronology.
Click PDF below to read Father Adrian's Obituary from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.