Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University English Professor tapped to speak at international conference

CONTACT: Troy Watkins,, 413.572.5523

Westfield—Mary Keator, Ph.D., assistant professor of English at Westfield State University, will serve as a keynote speaker for Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya (DSVV) University’s 3rd Annual National Holistic Literacy Conference, located in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India. In addition, she will be serving as one of the principal leaders for the University’s teacher training from mid-December 2019 to mid-January 2020.

During this conference, Dr. Keator will share her knowledge of literacy, close reading, her scholarship in lectio divina and contemplative reading and writing practices, and her continuous work for interfaith and inter-subjective dialogue.

Lectio divina, or “divine reading,” was the pedagogical method used within the monastic schools to teach deep reading, reflection and prayer. “The culminating experience of lectio divina was contemplatio, union with God’s love.” In 2018, Dr. Keator published her adaptation of this monastic pedagogical method for use in the secular classroom in her book Lectio Divina as Contemplative Pedagogies: Re-Appropriating Monastic Practice for the Humanities.  She also contributed a chapter titled “Lectio Divina and the Awakening of the Soul” for Dr. Maureen Hall’s book, The Whole Person.

“I am humbled and honored to be invited as a keynote speaker at the National Holistic Literary Conference and to co-lead the teacher training at DSVV,” said Dr. Keator. “Professionally, as a scholar-teacher of World Religion, World Literatures, Yoga, and a life-long practitioner of Eastern and Western contemplative practices, I have always felt a deep respect and affinity for the peoples and cultures within India. I whole-heartedly welcome this opportunity to listen, dialogue, collaborate, and grow with the teachers and students at DSVV.”

While attending the conference Dr. Keator and Dr. Hall, a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth professor, will co-lead multiple workshops on pedagogies, including her adapted lectio divina method. DSVV welcomes their interdisciplinary research along with the opportunity to learn other pedagogical approaches and methods to incorporate into their university.

Dr. Keator earned her Ph.D. in humanities from Salve Regina University, her M.A.A.T. and M.A.T. from Our Lady of the Elms College, and a B.A. from Emerson College. She has several articles published, including “Interfaith Dialogue: The Art of Listening” in the The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry.

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society. For more information about Westfield State University, visit,, or


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