About Dr. Grace Brame


Grace Adolphsen Brame, Ph.D., was known in multiple professions: as a professional dramatic mezzo-soprano in opera and concert; as a Goodwill Representative of the U.S. government through concerts over several years in the former Soviet Union, France and Switzerland; as adjunct professor of Integrated Theology and Spirituality at Villanova University and LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA; and as author of books, multiple journal articles and other writings integrating spirituality and theology. She was a professional choral conductor and youth advisor in Madison, Wisconsin and Wilmington, Delaware; a retreat leader in the US, Caribbean, Russia and Tanzania; and pastor of the former Trinity Lutheran Church in Wilmington, Delaware.

Dr. Brame held a degree in music from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and a master of sacred music degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  Her first career path included serving as a youth and music minister in a Lutheran church in Wisconsin, where she appeared as an operatic soloist. Additional opera roles followed with the Philadelphia Lyric Opera, Delaware Opera Society, Glimmerglass Opera, Dallas Opera and others.  In her early 50s she received a second master’s degree and Ph.D. in religion at Temple University in Philadelphia, concentrating on Theology, Spirituality and Comparative Religions. Dr. Brame’s Ph.D. dissertation focused on the integration of theology and spirituality in the work of Evelyn Underhill and the theology of grace and will.

Writing and study were important parts of her life. She was published in more than 40 journals including The Christian Century, The Lutheran, Worship, Sisters Today and Spirituality Today, and was author of several books.  She felt that all of it was accomplished by depending on receptive prayer (meditation) about which she wrote in her first two books. She felt that most people missed God’s side of prayer, which is God’s response. For her, that response was the experience of the presence of the Holy Spirit, its inspiration, healing and guidance that follow human supplication, thanksgiving, repentance and the offering of oneself to God.

Dr. Brame died in 2021 at age 91. One of her bequests was to support organizations involved in contemplative spirituality and the power of mystic spirituality in the development of Christian leaders. David Miller, one of Dr. Brame’s longtime collaborators on The Lutheran magazine and the person entrusted with finding a recipient for this bequest, researched possible organizations and chose Christos Center for Spiritual Formation to receive a legacy gift from the Dr. Grace Brame Trust. Several Christos programs are supported through funding from the estate of Dr. Grace Brame including Ignatian Retreat and the 2023 Lenten Retreat.  We are grateful for her support of our work and our ongoing mission.



“What I have been unable to accomplish in my mission I hope to see carried on further by the blessing of this fund …My view is that spirituality and true mysticism are very inadequately presented in most Christian seminaries. It is deeply important that this be addressed. True mysticism involves the relationship with God from natural human selfishness to selflessness, empowered by the Holy Spirit. God is Spirit (John 4:24).”

—– Dr. Grace Brame, in written instructions to the executor of the Dr. Grace Brame Trust


Books by Dr. Grace Brame:

  • Faith, the Yes of the Heart
  • The Ways of the Spirit 
  • Receptive Prayer: A Christian Approach to Meditation
  • The Cross: Payment or Gift? Rethinking the Death of Jesus
  • Receptive Prayer: Prayer Which Nourishes, Heals and Empowers
  • A Manual of Receptive Prayer: For Study, Practice and Retreats

Are you interested in leaving a legacy gift?  We welcome your generosity and passion that can help keep Christos a haven for Christian contemplative spirituality.  Contact Executive Director Heidi Lender, [email protected]