Departmental & Sponsored Events

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Inside Story

A transdisciplinary Conference on Mind, Matter, Meaning & Mysticism November 9 -10, 2018 - Registration is now closed

Thomas on the Trinity

Thomas on the Trinity

July 30 - August 02, 2018

Film Fest

Worlds of (Un)Belief

What does film have to do with theology? How do films draw on and transform religious traditions? Can we find the spiritual in the cinema? Through films and lectures, this student-friendly Villanova Film Festival will explore some of the worlds of belief and unbelief thatfilms challenge us with. All are welcome!

click to view to recording

On Tuesday November 28th, Villanova faculty participated in a discussion in Bartley Hall Rm 1011. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Land O’ Lakes statement, there was a panel presentation and discussion on “Catholic Higher Education in the 21st Century: Prospects and Problems” moderated by Timothy Brunk, PhD; Fr Allan Fitzgerald, OSA, PhD; Barbara Wall, PhD; Timothy Hanchin, PhD; and Gerald Beyer, PhD, will present papers from the recent conference on Catholic education 50 years after Land O’Lakes at Saint Louis University. Dr. Massimo Faggioli will share his paper from the commemorative conference at Boston College.

Click here to view a recording of the panel discussion.

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On Friday, November 3, we invites our undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty to a meet and greet in the TRS lounge where we had snacks. Students were able to meet and learn more about their peers and faculty in the department! Events like these encourage community and affiliation throughout all levels of study here in the department! This event was sponsored by the Undergraduate Program.

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On Friday, November 3, the GTSC (Graduate Theology Student Council) sponsored two panels titled "Life Beyond the Master's." The first session "Going Down the Rabbit Hole" was facilitiated by Dr. Timothy Brunk and Dr. Kevin Hughes about searching for programs and beginning the application process for PhD programs. It was a great opportunity to seek information from faculty about PhD programs including our here at Villanova. The second session "Employment Options Outside the Academy," was a panel that included alumns Jeff Mayer and Michelle Sherman who spoke to like after a Villanova Master's in Theology. Following them was a panel on featuring Dr. Calderon and Dr. Timothy Hanchin who spoke about various jobs featuring ministry.

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Dr. Mary Boys led a conversation on pedagogies for diversity and inclusion with TRS faculty and doctoral students on Friday, October 27th. This workshop was the third in a series of “Collaborative Apprenticeship Sessions” funded by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. The participants considered the story of the faith of the Canaanite woman (Matt 15:21-28)  through a Lectio Divina approach. Parker Palmer’s “Teaching with Heart and Soul” presented fertile ground to reflect upon Villanova’s distinctive Catholic and Augustinian contribution to education. Navigating conversations on diversity and inclusion requires “inner work.” The participants also discussed the formidable cultural challenges to realizing education with heart and soul. Dr. Boys is the Skinner & McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological Theological Seminary in New York. She also serves as Union’s Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Dean. 

For the Fall 2017 Graduate Colloquium, Prof. Dr. Susan Ross (Loyola University Chicago) joined our graduate students to teach two seminars. The first was on Beauty and Theology, focusing on a discussion of the intersection between art/aesthetics/beauty and theology. The questions raised during the seminar had to do with how art and beauty incline the heart to the divine, to the good, and at the same time, how material reality is ambiguously both a place of encounter with the divine and an obstacle to that same encounter. The second seminar, Raining on a Bridal Shower, explored  the history of the use of the spousal metaphor in magisterial writing, its relationship to feminism and feminist theology’s response, and how this model of relationship has wide effects beyond marriage. The day concluded with a reception for Dr. Ross with the members of the department.

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On Oct. 24-25th  Fr. Joseph Bracken, SJ, professor emeritus from Xavier University and a renowned process theologian, gave two lectures at Villanova University.  His first talk focused on his book The World in the Trinity.   Based on the insights of Alfred North Whitehead, Fr. Bracken has developed a new metaphysics of interrelated systems that is consonant with modern science and with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.  The graduate students had an opportunity to interact with Fr. Bracken through questions and dialogue and to sort out some of the challenges of Trinitarian theology in view of quantum physics and evolution.   In his second talk, Fr. Bracken took up the question of divine action in a scientific world.  Here he explored different models of divine action before offering his own insights based on his systems metaphysics.  He then developed his metaphysics as a basis of divine-created interrelatedness.  His humble and unassuming manner made for engaging conversation and hopefully gave the students much to ponder.  

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On Friday, November 20 an interdisciplinary group of scholars gathered at Villanova University to consider new approaches to the concept of dignity. Sponsored by the Villanova Political Theology Project, a joint venture of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of Mission and Ministry, this gathering took as its starting point the centrality of dignity in both Catholic and secular liberal conversations about ethics. But what can we learn about dignity when we start by listening to the voices of people with disabilities, or those in colonial contexts, or low-wage workers? How can the Catholic and secular liberal conversations be put in conversation with the way dignity is used to refer to the Supreme Leader in North Korea, or as a claim made by AIDS activists? Eleven distinguished scholars of anthropology, political theory, religious studies, theology, and literature participated, including Janet Jakobsen, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Columbia University, Professor Angie Heo from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and Professor Karma Chavez, a specialist in Latino/Latina studies from University of Texas.


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The Department of Theology & Religious Studies cordially invited faculty, staff and students to the Dies Academicus, thesis presentations of graduate students. Please see the photo for the students presenting and their papers.

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The Graduate Theology Student Council is proud to announce the Gloria Domini Graduate Student Conference. The conference took place on Friday, April 7th from 2:00-4:30PM in Falvey 205. Faculty, staff and students listeners to presenters including Elisha Chi, Andre Price, Tania Capone, and Thomas Koen.

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On March 24, Mission & Ministry hosted a conversation on the role of sports in human flourishing. Villanova theology professor Tim Hanchin moderated a panel with Edward Hastings, Cesar Torres and Nicole LaVoi about the philosophical and spiritual dimensions of sport.

Sponsored by The Systematics Faculty of the Department of Theology & Religious Studies, members of department presented lectures at the "Faith & Culture Pop-Up Lectures" during the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters.

On Tuesday, April 6th at 4:30pm, Dr. Ilia Delio, OSF presented "Doing Theology in an Unfinished Universe."

On Tuesday, March 27th at 4:30pm, Dr. Timothy Hanchin presented "Redemptive Reading and/as Theological Education in the Academy Today."

On Tuesday, February 14th at 5pm, Dr. Rachel Smith presented "Producing the Body of God: Conversion in the 'Jewish Dossier' of a Medieval Domincian"


Friday, March, 17th, 9am-12pm. Dr. Mark Schwehn, author of Exiles from Eden: Religion and the Academic Vocation in America, will lead our doctoral students and faculty in dialogue on the vocation of theological education in the academy today. He is the former dean of Christ’s College, the Honors College at Valparaiso University, in addition to serving as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Professor Schwehn has been a transformative leader in mission-based higher education for the past three decades.

On February 4, 2017, Dr. Vincent Lloyd hosted a workshop facilitiated by Dr. Linn Tonstad, assistant professor of Systematic theology at Yale Divinity School. Dr. Tonstad, who works at the intersection of feminist and queer theory and constructive theology, is the author of "God and Difference: The Trinity, Sexuality, and the Transofrmation of Finitude." Dr. Lloyd welcomed facultys and students alike to this conversation which included a pre-circulating paper.

During the Spring 2017 semester, faculty and graduate students joined Dr. Vincent Lloyd for the three part workshop in the Critical Race Theory workshop series.It focused on bringing together faculty and graduate students across the College interested in issues of race and difference, seeking to build a sense of intellectual community.

Dr. Vincent Lloyd hosted three workshops, each bringing two visitors to campus to facilitate further discussion on “Race, Religion, and Culture” (Jan. 27), “Race, Islam, and Politics” (Feb. 3), and “Race, Difference, and Theory” (Mar. 17). The six visitors are distinguished or emerging leaders in their fields, including John L. Jackson, Dean of the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, Iyko Day, Chair of Critical Social Thought at Mt. Holyoke College, and faculty from Rutgers, Pittsburgh, George Washington, and Franklin & Marshall.

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On Saturday December 3, 2016, the GTSC invited us to the Corr Chapel for the Advent Retreat. Students, faculty and family, participated in the visio divina, Christmas Trivia, and Taize Prayer.

The Advent Retreat had plenty of silence, but silence in a good sense. Each Activity was a true reflection of God's presense.

The GTSC would like to thank all attendees for coming and sharing the afternoon with us and they look forward to your participation at events in 2017! 

Sponsored by The Systematics Faculty of the Department of Theology & Religious Studies, members of department presented lectures at the "Faith & Culture Pop-Up Lectures" during the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters.


On Tuesday, November 29th Dr. Massimo Faggioli presented "A Faith for Two Cities: Catholicism and Citizenship in the 21st Century"

On Tuesday, October 25th, Dr. Kerry San Chirico presented "The Grace of God and the Challenges of Indian Catholic Identity."

On Tuesday, September 20th, Fr. Francis Caponi presented "After the fire a sound of sheer silence" (1 Kings 19:12): Does Anyone go to Hell since Vatican II.


Friday November 18th: 1-4:00pm

This last Friday was the GTSC’s annual graduate student conference, Portio Creaturae Tuae (Part of Your Creation). We gathered in Falvey Library, attendees ranging from graduate students and faculty members to outside visitors. After kicking things off just after 1pm with PhD student Mat Verghese presenting on Angela of Foligno the event ran flawlessly, shifting seamlessly between presentations, questions, and responses. At the conclusion of the event, there was a potluck with the graduate student.

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On Tuesday, December 6, 2016, we hosted an informal workshop with Dr. Menachem Lorberbaum. He shared his paper, "Rethinking the Medieval Theological Turn," with faculty and graduate students from the Department of Theology and Religious Studies as well as other departments and groups on campus.

Dr. Menachem Lorberbaum is Professor of Jewish Philosophy at Tel Aviv University and, this year, a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. 


On October 27 and 28, 2016, Villanova University held a conference entitled "Kierkegaard, Augustine, and the Catholic Tradition." It was hosted by Jack Doody of the Villanova Center for Liberal Education and Christopher Barnett of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. The aim of the conference was to put the thought of Søren Kierkegaard in conversation with the Catholic intellectual tradition; paper topics included comparisons of Kierkegaard's theological anthropology to that of Augustine of Hippo, as well as wider ecclesiological and philosophical considerations. Invited speakers included Lee Barrett (Lancaster Theological Seminary), John D. Caputo (Villanova University), Cyril O'Regan (University of Notre Dame), and George Pattison (University of Glasgow).

Jean Pierre Ruiz

On Wednesday November 9, TRS faculty and our inaugural cohort of PhD students gathered together to discuss the crucial role of mentorship in doctoral studies. Dr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz (St. John’s University, NY) invited us to critically reflect on on our past experiences and future imaginings of academic apprenticeship. We highlighted the fundamental yet often neglected role of the personal and intersubjective in the formation of scholars. Further questions for consideration: Which models of mentoring best serve doctoral students and the future of higher education? What types of practices and structures encourage mentoring relationships to flourish within the academy? How can mutuality and hierarchy inform one another within academic apprenticeship? This conversation was the first in a series of three Collaborative Apprenticeship Sessions (CAS) funded by a grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. These conversations will shape the integrated Theological Education Formation Program of our PhD in Theology


On Thursday November 20th, Villanova University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences officially welcomed the inaugural class of its new doctoral program in Theology

Click this link to read more!