The goal of this collection is to show how faith and politics are not mutually exclusive

Profiles in Spirit presents life stories of political leaders as rich resources for restoring nobility to politics.

Fifty years ago, John F. Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage.  He looked for signs of "patience, restraint, compassion, wisdom, strength and courage" in eight United States Senators of the pastProfiles in Spirit shines a light on such attributes in today's United States Senators, suggesting spiritual qualities can be public virtues. 

Each Senator included in this collection has participated in this project by making time for lengthy, introspective interviews, sharing unpublished letters or reflections on their spiritual paths, opening homes and other sacred places to the authors, providing introductions to his or her spouses, parents, pastors, friends, and mentors.  

The revelatory portraits of these Senators offer glimpses of how inner lives shape ways of engaging in public life. These intimate narratives are ordinarily shared only in private settings, such as the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast.  

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"The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend."

Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday mornings members of the Senate gather
for a weekly prayer breakfast.

The format of the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast never varies: fill a plate from a simple buffet, sing a hymn, pray for each other’s concerns, and listen to a fellow Senator share deeply revealing aspects of his or her faith.

The meetings are not secret, but the content confidential. Democrats and Republicans come together with neither staff, reporters nor political agenda. Though they may differ in political perspective, religious commitment and personal background, the Senators come to see that they share a common humanity.

The intent of Profiles in Spirit is to shine a light on spiritual qualities of political leaders as a counter-narrative to the disillusionment and disrespect that dominates the political system.

In the same way that the prayer breakfast increases collegiality among Senators, we hope the public telling of their stories will contribute to a more positive tone in national politics.


Profiles in Spirit was created by Senator Chris A. Coons and Dr. Elizabeth L. McCloskey, who see intrinsic value in providing portraits of political leaders who possess spiritual depth and who call upon it to guide their work.


With Special Thanks to: