Villanova University to Present Civitas Dei Medal to Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ, PhD, Influential Feminist Theologian and Ecological Ethicist

Villanova University to Present Civitas Dei Medal to Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ, PhD, Influential Feminist Theologian and Ecological Ethicist

VILLANOVA, Pa. (February 14, 2024) Villanova University will award its Civitas Dei Medal to Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ, PhD, distinguished professor emerita of Theology at Fordham University and an influential voice in feminist theology and ecological ethics. Johnson will deliver the lecture, “Ask the Beasts, Ask the Galaxies” at the medal presentation on Thursday, February 22, at 4 p.m. With the Civitas Dei Medal, Villanova University honors Catholics who have made exemplary contributions to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness.

After earning her doctoral degree at the Catholic University of America, Johnson taught there for 10 years before moving to Fordham University, where she taught in both graduate and undergraduate programs. Johnson is the former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America as well as the former president of the American Theological Society. She was awarded Fordham University’s Teaching Award in 1998, the Professor of the Year Award in 2011 and has received 15 honorary doctorates, including one from Villanova University in 2005.

Johnson is deeply involved in the life of the church and has served as a theologian and consultant on numerous Catholic education boards and committees, including the U.S. Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue and the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Women in Church and Society. Systematic theology, ecological ethics tied to creation and the ongoing dialogue between science and religion are key focal points in Johnson’s research. Her investigations are framed within the context of feminist theology, exploring their connection to the human dignity of women.

An award-winning writer, Johnson is the author of She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse (1992), which won the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in Theology of God (2007), among others. Her most recent book will be released February 21 and is titled Come, Have Breakfast: Meditations on God and the Earth (2024).

The Civitas Dei Medal takes its name from the Latin title of St. Augustine’s City of God. In this seminal work, Augustine encouraged intellectual engagement between the Church and the world.

View the list of previous Civitas Dei Medal recipients.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit




About the Civitas Dei Medal