Professional Bio


  • Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2008
  • M.A., Saint Thomas Theological Seminary, 1994
  • Cert. Music Performance and Composition, Naropa University, 1989

Professional Organizations

  • Horizons: Journal of the College Theology Society: Editorial Board (2017 – 2020)
  • Catholic Theological Society of America
  • College Theology Society
  • International Thomas Merton Society (Board of Directors, 2011-2015)

Research & Scholarship


The Will to Wonder: Studies in Music, Art and Theology: Anselm Academic, forthcoming, 2018

At Play in Creation: Merton’s Awakening to the Feminine Divine. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2015

Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters Across the Color Line. Collegeville: Michael Glazier, 2013

Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton. Collegeville: Michael Glazier, 2009

Surviving the Search: Sexuality, Spirituality, and Love. Denver: Living the Good News, 1998

Confirmation: Anointed and Sealed with the Spirit: A Journal for Older Candidates. Denver: Living the Good News, 1998. Revised edition, The Gift of the Spirit. Silver Burdett, 2003.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles & Book Chapters

“Contemplation and the Suffering Earth: Thomas Merton, Pope Francis, and the Next Generation.” Under review.

“Making Sanctuary for the Divine: Exploring Melissa Raphael’s Holocaust Theology.” Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 12:1 (2017): 1-16.

“Theodicy and the Feminine Divine: Thomas Merton’s ‘Hagia Sophia’ in Dialogue with Western Theology.” Theological Studies 77:1 (Mar 2016): 48-76.

“God Accompanies Persons: Thomas Merton and Pope Francis on Gender and Sexual Diversity.” The Merton Annual 28 (2015): 71-87.

“Rumours of Glory: Walking in the Dark Half-Light of Faith.” The Merton Annual 27 (2014): 57-71.

“Hagia Sophia: The Birthing of Wisdom and Peace in the Life of Thomas Merton.” World Religious Cultures (Peking, 2014), a Chinese-language journal of humanities.

“`She Cannot Be a Prisoner’: The Lure of Wisdom as Bearer of Hope.” The Merton Annual 26 (2013): 54-73.

“Imagination and Difference: Beyond Essentialism in Church Teaching and Practice.” New Theology Review 26:1 (2013): 42-52. See

“Beauty Limned in Violence: Experimenting with Protest Music in the Ignatian Classroom.” In Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World: Justice in Jesuit Higher Education, ed. Mary Beth Combs and Patricia Ruggiano Schmidt. New York: Fordham University Press (2013), 15-29.

“Silences.” Worship 87:3 (May 2013).

“`The Street is for Celebration’: Racial Consciousness and the Eclipse of Childhood in America’s Cities.” The Merton Annual 25 (Louisville: Fons Vitae, 2012): 91-103.

“Wisdom, Our Sister: Thomas Merton’s Reception of Russian Sophiology.” Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 11:2 (Fall 2011): 177-99.

“Author’s Response.” Review Symposium on Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton by Christopher Pramuk. The Merton Annual 23 (2010): 274-85.

“Milosz and Merton: Poets of Hidden Victories.” Cross Currents 60 (Dec 2010): 487-94.

“Apocalypticism in a Catholic Key: Lessons from Thomas Merton.” Horizons 36:2 (2009): 235-64.

“`Strange Fruit’: Contemplating the Black Cross in America,” ARTS: The Arts in Theological and Religious Studies 20:1 (Spring 2009): 12-20.

“`Something Breaks Through a Little’: The Marriage of Zen and Sophia in the Life of Thomas Merton.” Buddhist-Christian Studies 28 (2008): 67-89.

“`They Know Him By His Voice’: Newman on the Imagination, Christology, and the Theology of Religions.” Heythrop Journal 48 (Jan 2007): 61-85.

“`Strange Fruit’: Black Suffering / White Revelation.” Theological Studies 67 (Jun 2006): 345-77. 

“Hagia Sophia: The Unknown and Unseen Christ of Thomas Merton.” Cistercian Studies Quarterly 41:2 (Spring 2006): 1-25.

“Living in the Master’s House: Race and Rhetoric in the Theology of M. Shawn Copeland.” Horizons 32:2 (Fall 2005) 295-331.

“How Long, O Lord? Interfaith Perspectives on Suffering, Protest, and Grace.” New Theology Review 17:4 (Nov 2004): 67-75.

“Returning the Mystery to God: The Theocentric Horizon of Roger Haight’s Christology.” New Theology Review 15:4 (Nov 2002): 50-66.

“Who Do People Say That I Am: A Discussion of Roger Haight’s Jesus Symbol of God.” Chicago Studies 41:1 (Spring 2002): 80-91.

Feature Essays

“A Father’s 9/11 Prayer: Hopes for Children in a World Marked by Violence.” America 215 (Sep 12, 2016): 27-28.

“Thomas Merton and the Future of Faith,” Marginalia: The Los Angeles Review of Books (Apr 23, 2016).

“Rediscovering Child Mind.” In We Are Already One: Thomas Merton’s Message of Hope (Fons Vitae, 2015): 261-62.

“The Public Private Life of Thomas Merton.” Sojourners 44:1 (Jan. 2015): 32-35.

“Where the Gospel Requires Us to Be.” The Merton Seasonal (Jan. 2015).

“To Live Fully: The Witness of Sr. Thea Bowman.” America (July 7, 2014): 25-26.

“Sacred Silence: Lessons from the High Desert Plains.” America 210 (Feb 17, 2014): 22-24.

“The Weary World Rejoices: Rekindling the Spirit of the Nativity.” America 205 (Dec 19, 2011): 12-16.

“A Dream of Life: Revisiting Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The Rising.’” America online (Sep 12, 2011).

“A Hidden Sorrow: Praying Through Reproductive Loss.” America 204 (April 11, 2011): 19-21.

“Sexuality, Spirituality, and the Song of Songs.” America 193 (Oct 31, 2005): 8-12.

“O Happy Day! Imagining a Church Beyond the Color Line.” America 189 (Aug 18, 2003): 8-10.

“The Song of Faith: Hearing Music Again with Thomas Merton.” America 188 (Apr 8, 2002): 8-11.

“Christ and the Birds of Appetite: Breathing Life into the Body of Faith.” The Merton Seasonal 29:4 (2004): 11-17.


A Grammar of Justice: The Legacy of Ignacio Ellacuria, ed. J. Matthew Ashley, Kevin F. Burke, SJ, Rudolfo Cardenal, SJ. Theological Studies 76:4 (Dec 2015): 885-86.

Thomas Merton: Essential Writings, ed. Patrick F. O’Connell. The Merton Annual 27 (2015): 215-20.

Saints As They Really Are: Voices of Holiness for Our Time, by Michael Plekon. The Living Church 247:9 (Oct. 2013).

Christian Spirituality for Seekers: Reflections on the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, by Roger Haight. America 207 (Nov 12, 2012): 28-29.

A Silent Action: Engagements with Thomas Merton,
by Rowan Williams. The Living Church (July 15, 2012): 21-24.

Disruptive Grace: Reflections on God, Scripture, and the Church, by Walter Brueggemann. Horizons (2012).

The Voice of the Stranger,
by James Conner, David Scott, and Bonnie Thurston. The Merton Annual 23 (2010): 303-06.

Survival or Prophecy? The Correspondence of Jean Leclercq and Thomas Merton, ed. Patrick Hart. Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 9:2 (Fall 2009): 251-53.

Newman’s Approach to Knowledge, by Laurence Richardson. Heythrop Journal 50:3 (May 2009): 530-31.

Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton, dir. by Morgan Atkinson. Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 8:1 (2008): 99-102.

Signs of Peace: The Interfaith Letters of Thomas Merton, by William Apel. The Merton Seasonal 32:1 (2007): 28-31.

Shorter Meditations: Pastoral

“Faithful Citizenship,” Give Us This Day (July 2016).

“Broken and Lifted Up,” Give Us This Day (August 2015).

“The Inheritances of a Generous God.” Give Us This Day (June 2015).

“Something More.” Give Us This Day (Dec 2013).

“Quid Pro Quo.” Give Us This Day (Nov 2013).

“Whole Holy Family.” In Mickey McGrath, Go to Joseph (World Library Publications, 2013).

“Dreaming of Jesus.” Give Us This Day (April 2013).

“My House Divided.” Give Us This Day (Jan 2013).

“Solidarity, Spirit, and Surrender.” Give Us This Day (Dec 2011).

“The Gifts and the Giver.” Give Us This Day (Nov 2011).

“Expectation.” Give Us This Day (Aug 2011).

“History and the Crucifixion.” Commonweal (May 8, 2009).

Dozens of essays published for Leaven: An Independent Catholic Voice in the Rocky Mountain Region; and The Highlander, Regis University campus newspaper (1993-2003).

Conference, Retreat and Keynote Presentations

Please see CV at

Awards & Recognition


  • The Monika K. Hellwig Award for Teaching Excellence, College Theology Society, 2016
  • Roger A. Fortin Award for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship in the Humanities, Xavier University, 2016
  • Bishop Fenwick Teacher of the Year Award, Awarded by Alpha Sigma Nu, Xavier University, 2015
  • University of Notre Dame, Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award, 2005  

  • Publishing

  • College Theology Society, Best Article in Theology, 2016
  • Catholic Press Association, Second Place Book Award, Spirituality, At Play in Creation, 2016
  • Ohioana Library Association, Recognition for Literary and Artistic Achievement, At Play in Creation, 2016
  • The Associated Church Press, Honorable Mention, 2016, Biographical Profile Essay, Sojourners.
  • Ohioana Book Award for Nonfiction, Finalist, 2015: Hope Sings, So Beautiful
  • Catholic Press Association, Third Place Book Award, Catholic Social Teaching, 2013: Hope Sings, So Beautiful
  • Catholic Press Association, First Place Award, Best Essay in National Magazine, 2012
  • International Thomas Merton Society, Thomas Merton Award, 2011: Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton 
  • Catholic Press Association, First Place Award, Best Essay in Theology, 2010 
  • Catholic Theological Society of America, Catherine Mowry LaCugna Best Essay Award, 2009

  • Research/Academic/Fellowships

  • Beckman Award for Ignatian Research, Xavier University, Department of Theology, 2015
  • Eigel Center Faculty Fellowship, Project Hope: Engaging Poverty in Cincinnati, Xavier University, 2013-14
  • Faculty Research Development Leave, Xavier University, Spring 2012 
  • Summer Research Fellowship, Xavier University, 2009
  • Jerusalem Fellowship in Interfaith Studies, Hebrew University, Israel & University of Denver, 1998-2000
  • Gaines Fellowship in the Humanities, University of Kentucky, 1985-87
  • Phi Beta Kappa, University of Kentucky, 1987