The World Religions & Spirituality Project


The World Religions & Spirituality Project


Project founder/director: David G. Bromley

Contributing author: Lydia Willsky-Ciollo


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Lydia Willsky-Ciollo is a contributing author, "Frances Willard."

Project description:

The World Religions & Spirituality Project (WRSP) was established in 2010 at Virginia Commonwealth University. The mission of the WRSP is to provide objective, reliable and comprehensive information about the world’s diverse array of religious and spiritual groups. The central feature of the WRSP website is, therefore, profiles of contemporary religious and spiritual movements, established world religions, and historical religious and spiritual movements. Wherever possible, profiles are prepared by scholars of record for the groups that they profile. Each profile includes a presentation of the group’s history, distinctive beliefs, rituals, organization and leadership, and issues/challenges. Particularly with respect to newer groups, reliable information often is less accessible, and this website offers comprehensive, balanced information for religion scholars, students, media representatives and those with a personal interest in understanding the diversity of religious and spiritual alternatives in the contemporary world. In addition to the group profiles, WRSP features an ARTICLES/PAPERS section, which contains scholarship that supplements and provides context for the profiles; an ARCHIVES section, which hosts historically important documents for some groups and provides links to other archival sites; the WRSP FORUM, which conducts interviews with individuals who offer important information and perspective on groups and issues relevant to the WRSP mission; WRSP VIDEO CONNECTIONS, which provides links to contextual video material that can be found online; and WRSP SPECIAL PROJECTS, which provide all of the WRSP components for specific topics or geographical regions. The World Religions and Spirituality Project draws its original inspiration and impetus from the New Religious Movements Homepage Project, which was founded in 1995 by Professor Jeffrey K. Hadden in conjunction with an undergraduate course on New Religious Movements. Under Professor Hadden’s leadership the Religious Movements Homepage grew into one of the largest sites of its kind in the world and became an important Internet resource for scholarship and teaching in the area of contemporary religious movements. Following Professor Hadden’s untimely death in 2003, Professor Douglas E. Cowan, Renison College of the University of Waterloo, assumed the position of Project Director to assure the website’s continuation. In 2010, Professor David G. Bromley, Virginia Commonwealth University, became Project Director and redirected and broadened the mission of what has now become the World Religions & Spirituality Project (WRSP). New components have been added to the original project, and authors now are recruited from scholars around the world who are authors of record on the groups they profile, and groups of scholars are assuming leadership roles in WRSP through the development or WRSP SPECIAL PROJECTS.

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Publication Information

Willsky-Ciollo, Lydia. “Frances Willard.” Women in World Religions Spirituality Project, founded by David G. Bromley, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2016.


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The World Religions & Spirituality Project