James Henslin, B.A., B.D., M.A., Ph.D.
Founder of Pearl of the Sea Retreat
James Henslin, the Founder of Pearl of the Sea Retreat, was born in a rented room in a little town on the bitterly cold Canadian border in Minnesota. His mother hadn’t completed high school, and his father hadn’t even made it beyond the seventh grade.
Jim has been a dedicated worker since childhood. One of his colder memories goes back to age 10 or 11, when he froze his nose while delivering newspapers in his little northern village. He was elated at age 16 when his parents packed up the car and moved to sunny Southern California. During the summer following high school graduation, while working as a laborer on construction projects, Jim took a correspondence course in Greek from the University of California at Berkeley. After graduating from college in Indiana, he was awarded scholarships at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he earned his master’s and doctorate in sociology.
After winning a competitive postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health, Jim spent a year studying how people adjust to the suicide of a family member. Jim then joined the faculty at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, where he is Professor Emeritus of Sociology. Jim stopped teaching, but he never retired. He continues full-time sociological research and publishing.
Jim is immensely pleased that he was able to be instrumental in founding The Pearl. It is his hope that these efforts, moving from the academic theoretical to the practical, will transform lives by nurturing and restoring hope. He wants this to be an essential part of his legacy.