Havens, Teresina R. (Teresina Rowell)

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Professor, comparative religion; Founder, Temeros (woodland spiritual retreat, Shutesbury, Mass.).

From the description of Papers 1891-1994. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 46326992

Teresina Rowell Havens, undated

Teresina Rowell was born January 13, 1909, the daughter of Wilfrid Asa Rowell, a Congregational minister, and Teresina Peck Rowell (Smith 1894). Following her graduation from Smith College in 1929, Rowell went to Europe. She traveled during the summer and then studied comparative religion at the University of London. She returned to the United States in 1931 and began study at Yale under a fellowship awarded by the National Council of Religion in Higher Education. She received a Ph.D. in comparative religion from Yale in 1933. Between 1933 and 1936 Rowell taught Sociology of Religion at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota. In 1936 she visited Japan to investigate the relationship between Buddhism and the Imperial (Shinto) Cult. While there, she encountered the Itto-En sect, a group of Buddhist Christians who were practicing voluntary poverty. She gave up her traveling money to the founder of the order and became an apostle and missionary. She returned to the U.S. in 1937. In 1940 she became a Quaker after working as summer staff at the Quaker retreat and study center at Pendle Hill, Wallingford, Pennsylvania. Influenced by socialist Quakers and the journal of the Quaker, John Woolman, she lived with coal-miners' families in eastern Ohio in the late-1930s. In August 1942, with three other Pendle Hill students, she moved to the black ghetto of Chester, Pennsylvania, and set up a work and prayer commune where she did volunteer housework and other manual labor for families. In 1945, Joseph Durald Havens joined the commune and he and Teresina were married in January 1947. A daughter, Lucia, was born in 1947 and a son, Wilfrid Thwing, in 1951. She was also a staff member at Pendle Hill from 1942 to 1948.

Throughout the years Teresina Havens taught religion at various colleges and universities including Beloit College (1938); Smith College (1939-42); University of Southern California (1950-51); Wilmington College (Ohio) (1954-56) and Springfield College (Massachusetts) (1968-70). She also taught philosophy at Westfield State College (Massachusetts) (1966-67). In the 1970s she taught courses at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in their semi-autonomous experimental Project 10, which was a series of seminars, workshops, and tutorials meant to explore different ways of learning.

In 1972 the Havens set out on a five-month odyssey across the United States, visiting a number of spiritual communities. Returning to the east they purchased land in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, where they created a spiritual retreat and conference center. They named the place Temenos, a Greek word for the sacred enclosed place surrounding a temple or altar. It was incorporated in 1981 under an advisory group with the Havens as founders and program directors. They retired and moved to Oregon in 1989 where Teresina died February 14,1992.

From the guide to the Teresina R. Havens Papers MS 211., 1891-1994, (Sophia Smith Collection)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Teresina R. Havens Papers MS 211., 1891-1994 Sophia Smith Collection
creatorOf Havens, Teresina R. (Teresina Rowell). Papers 1891-1994. Smith College, Neilson Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Rowell, Teresina Peck, 1872-1945 person
associatedWith Society of Friends corporateBody
associatedWith Society of Friends. United States. corporateBody
associatedWith Temenos (Shutesbury, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Unification Church corporateBody
associatedWith University of Massachusetts (Amherst, Mass.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
College teachers
New Age movement
New Age movement
Social work education
Social workers
Women college teachers
Women social scientists
World War, 1939-1945


Active 1891

Active 1994

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