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Villanova Professor Muses on Love; Interplay Between Religion and Science in Two Recent Books

Sister Ilia Delio

VILLANOVA, Pa.— Love makes the world go round—and makes us closer to God argues Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD, professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the Connelly Chair in Christian Theology in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her latest book, The Primacy of Love (Fortress Press, 2022), figures love as the central thread that binds humanity together and examines its role in light of our present age of anxiety, where reason is cherished above all else.  

Throughout The Primacy of Love, Sister Delio considers the centrality of love over reason, posing the metaphysical premises that humans are “born out of divine love, exist in love, and are oriented toward the fullness of love,” concluding that love is “an irresistible attraction that leads straight into the heart of God.”

“This is a remarkable resumé of a lifelong commitment to love as ‘the heart of the Christian story,’” writes reviewer John Saxbee of Church Times. “In places, it is more poetry than prose, with quotable insights guaranteed to find their way into many a sermon.”

Her second book, The Hours of the Universe: Reflections on God, Science and the Human Journey (Orbis Books, 2021) contemplates how new cosmological insights shape religion, namely how on-going scientific discoveries affect our understanding of the universe and God. Adroitly considering topics such as quantum mechanics, entanglement and chaos theory, Sister Delio argues for a new spiritual reality that is scientifically literate and rooted in contemporary cultural nuances in the book, writing: “The mysterious new universe calls for a renewed sense of divine mystery in the cosmos, a new religious myth, a new narrative that draws us into these cosmic waves that are, in some fundamental way, the source of our lives.”  

Sister Delio’s research focuses on historical and systematic theology, science and religion and constructive theology. She has authored more than 20 books including Care for Creation and The Emergent Christ, which have both won the Catholic Press Book Award, as well as Making All Things New: Catholicity, Cosmology and Consciousness, which was nominated for the 2018 Grawemeyer Award. She has earned two doctorate degrees, one in pharmacology from Rutgers University, the other in historical theology from Fordham University.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators, and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.