is an Episcopal priest, writer, retreat leader, and climate activist. Born in 1951, she grew up at Harvard University, where her father, a professor of eighteenth-century English literature, was master of Quincy House, and her mother served as ombudsperson to the president of Radcliffe College and raised four children. Bullitt-Jonas began studying Russian language and literature in high school, and left for California to earn a B.A. with honors in Russian literature from Stanford University (1974). After working as a VISTA volunteer in downtown Philadelphia, she returned to Harvard in 1975 to enter a doctoral program in comparative literature.
The following years were marked by outward accomplishment and inward turmoil. Bullitt-Jonas completed the doctoral requirements, assisted in teaching college courses, won a fellowship, and published scholarly articles, but was secretly in the grip of an eating disorder. Holy Hunger tells the story of how she found herself in a crisis of desire, unable to manage the cravings that came to dominate her life, and what finally led her to face her addiction. Through the help of the Twelve Step program and a growing faith in God, Bullitt-Jonas began the costly process of learning to set aside her compulsive cravings and discover the source of her hunger.
Clarifying her fundamental commitments led to a new vocation. In 1984, Bullitt-Jonas received her Ph.D., and entered seminary. Four years later she graduated from Episcopal Divinity School (M.Div.), and was ordained in the Episcopal Church. Drawn to help others make their own connection to the liberating love of God, Bullitt-Jonas served for 15 years as a parish priest in the Boston area and in 2004 began serving as Priest Associate at Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst, Massachusetts. Since 1986 she has led retreats and conferences around the country for diocesan, clergy, and parish groups, as well as for religious communities, women’s groups, and young adults. From 1992-2005, she served as a Lecturer in Pastoral Theology at Episcopal Divinity School, where she taught courses on prayer, spiritual formation, addiction, and environmental ministry. Bullitt-Jonas is a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance program of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation (1988) and a member of Spiritual Directors International. For several years she served as a chaplain to the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops.
Six months after September 11, 2001, Bullitt-Jonas preached on Good Friday at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Boston about the meaning of the Crucifixion. Her best-selling second book, Christ’s Passion, Our Passions, is based on these seven meditations and explores spiritual issues that are stirred up in a time of turbulence and loss.
Over the last twenty-five years, Bullitt-Jonas has been increasingly drawn to an environmental ministry. Making peace with her body and recovering from food addiction has led her to a wider concern for the "body" of the Earth and the destructive effect of our society's consumerism and addiction to fossil fuels. In 2001 she was one of 22 members of the interfaith network Religious Witness for the Earth
who were arrested in Washington, D.C., during a prayer vigil to urge conservation and renewable energy and to protest oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In recent years many of her retreats, speaking engagements, and writing projects have focused on reclaiming the sacredness of God’s creation and placing care for the Earth at the center of our moral and spiritual concern. She is principal author of * "To Serve Christ in All Creation: A Pastoral Letter from the Episcopal Bishops of New England
" (2003) and a lead author of a pastoral letter on the environment released by Episcopal Bishops in the West Coast area of the U.S. (“A Call to Action from the House of Bishops of Province VIII
,” 2009). She is a member of the Leadership Council of Religious Witness for the Earth, an interfaith network dedicated to creating a society in which human beings live in loving, just relationships with each other and the whole Creation. She is active in supporting Bill McKibben’s 350.org
campaign to get our world leaders on course to stabilize the climate’s level of carbon dioxide at no more than 350 parts per million, and she was a lead contributor to the Interfaith Call for 350
. Bullitt-Jonas also serves on the steering committee of the Genesis Covenant
, an interfaith initiative through which the national leadership of faith groups across the country will commit to cutting in half the carbon footprint of their facilities within ten years. Bullitt-Jonas' third book has just been released: Joy of Heaven, To Earth Come Down
(Forward Movement, 2012), a collection of daily meditations for Advent and Christmas that explore God's presence in creation and the call to intentional, sustainable living in harmony with the natural world.
Bullitt-Jonas lives with her husband in Northampton, Massachusetts, and is working with him to help preserve open farmlands, fields, and woodlands in the Pioneer Valley.