Life and Education

  • Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Alexander grew up as part of a large extended family that had emigrated from Lebanon a generation previously. He grew up with the ancient traditions of Maronite Catholicism and was expected to become a priest, a family tradition since the year 1300. Alexander was led otherwise.

    He attended the University of Notre Dame and received a degree in Cultural Anthropology. Next came a Master's in Counseling Education, a Master's in Religious Education, a graduate certificate in Pastoral Psychotherapy, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. His training includes time in Switzerland with Jungian analyst, and founder of Sandplay Psychotherapy, Dora M. Kalff. Returning to the United States, years of retreat ministry, private practice, teaching, leading trainings and study continued to build on a life-long practice of prayer.

    Beginning in 2001, Alexander's professional life changed from being solely a speaker to also becoming an author. From his primary work as a psychologist, spiritual director, and liturgist, he has moved to being a widely sought teacher, trainer, and inspiring keynote speaker.

  • Alexander J. Shaia

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    "Sandplay in Spiritual Direction, Beyond Insight or Centering"

The (Re)Discovery

  • For thirty years, I had puzzled a deeper truth in Early Christianity's choice of precisely four gospel texts and their sequencing into a Three-Year Sunday Reading Cycle...

    • What lay behind those choices?
    • Were they the result of a believed oral tradition? - winners in a protracted theological tussle?
    • Or were the four clearly inspired?

    On a cold, clear, starry night in Northern New Mexico in November, 2000, an answer arrived that satisfied both my critical mind and longing heart.

    I reached for a legal pad and furiously wrote in a first attempt to describe the contour of this new landscape. The journey is universal, sequential, and cyclical. It is recognized by every major religious faith and school of psychology and forms the very heart of Christian belief and practice. I have named this journey, "Quadratos."

    At its most universal, the pattern of Quadratos is found in our experience of the four seasons and their cycle.

    Within Christianity, Quadratos provides a deeper understanding of Jesus the Christ and a new foundation for affirming early Christianity's choice of four gospels and the ancient - now restored - gospel reading sequence for Sunday worship.

    The four progressive paths of Quadratos correspond to the four gospels and the four great questions of the spiritual life. Each gospel's question and practice is revealed within a particular landscape and its human experience.

  • The Journey of Quadratos

    First Path: How do we face change?
    Climbing the Great Mountain of Matthew

    Second Path: How do we move through suffering?
    Crossing Mark's Stormy Sea

    Third Path: How do we receive joy?
    Resting in John's Glorious Garden

    Fourth Path: How do we mature in service?
    Walking Luke's Road of Riches