Lived Catholicism Online Conference Presenters 2021

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Scholars of Lived Catholicism cross disciplinary boundaries.

Meet our wonderful plenary speakers:

Claudia Alvarez is pursuing a Master’s in divinity at Boston University in the track Religion and Academy. Her fields of research are feminist, queer and mujerista teologies, focusing in LGBQT+ advocacy among Christian congregations and in Latin American women’s religious experiences of salvation and consiousness-awakening.

Richard Bernier: With a background of many years in campus ministry, the Canadian public service, and university administration, Richard Bernier is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Theological Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. His research and teaching focus particularly on philosophical theology and on Christian spirituality, especially in the Ignatian and Byzantine traditions.

Michel Chambon is a Theologian and a Cultural Anthropologist researching Chinese Christianity. As a Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore, he is coordinating the Initiative for the Study of Asian Catholics – ISAC – a new network fostering social scientific research on Catholics in contemporary Asia.

Jake Grefenstette is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. His research examines S.T. Coleridge’s legacy across 20th century interdisciplinary practices in theology and literature. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Jake has studied theology, philosophy, and literature at Notre Dame, UChicago, Oxford, Cambridge, and Beijing.

Dr. Claire Jenkins: She is a trans woman awarded a PhD from the University of Sheffield for her research into the effect of transitioning on the family members. She currently belongs to a working party who advise CCBEW about transgender issues. She leads research into transgender young people’s experiences in Catholic schools.

Florian Klug is a lecturer and researcher at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany. He has been a guest researcher in the United States, England, and Ireland. His research areas are ecclesiology, original sin, and the trajectories between Catholic theology and continental theology.

Anna Niedźwiedź, an associate professor at the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Her research focuses on lived religion, materiality, spatiality of religions and pilgrimages. Currently she works on the project WOMAC “Between Marginalisation and Empowerment: Women in African Catholicism (the case of Ghana)”.

Nev Reyes-Espiritu is a doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven, where she is a member of the Research Unit Pastoral and Empirical Theology. Nev’s current research focuses on the role of Christianity in transnational mothering through a qualitative-empirical study of the spirituality and family relations of overseas Philippines workers.

Peter McGrail is Professor of Liturgical Theology at Liverpool Hope University. He led the analysis of the responses to the Listening Phase of the recent Liverpool Archdiocesan Synod, and was a member of the writing group of the subsequent Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan.

Gregory A. Ryan is Assistant Professor (Research) in Ecclesiology at Durham University. His research interests include theological method, Receptive Ecumenism, Synodality, and Pope Francis. He contributes to several programmes for lay and ordained ministry, and was previously Director of Formation for the Diocese of Hallam.

Prof. Colt Anderson: Prof. Anderson’s research focuses on the intersection between three areas: the communication of the Gospel, how to reform the church, and the importance of an eschatological perspective for Christian life.

Bernardo Brown is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the International Christian University in Tokyo. His research focuses on Catholic communities in South Asia, and he is currently working on an ethnography of seminary training in Sri Lanka. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, he received hid Ph.D. from Cornell University before moving to Japan in 2017.

Damian Costello received his PhD in theological studies from the University of Dayton and is the author of Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicism. Costello serves the Director of Postgraduate Studies at NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community and is the American co-chair of the Indigenous Catholic Research Fellowship.

Allison Guerrette is a fourth year student at Duquesne University. She is studying Theology and Catholic Studies.

Dr Pat Jones recently completed a doctorate studying Catholic homelessness charities and is now a post-doctoral research associate in the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University. Previously she worked as deputy director of CAFOD and assistant general secretary to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Kathryn Lamontagne is a recent PhD graduate in British History from Boston University, where she is a lecturer at the College of General Studies, Division of Social Science. Due to Covid restrictions, she has been unable to return to the UK for her usual research and has, instead, transitioned into her current project which is derived from recently discovered archival materials in Massachusetts.

Anne Marie O’Riordan is a qualified Occupational Therapist and currently works as a Roman Catholic paediatric healthcare chaplain at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London. She is currently studying part-time for a PhD in practical theology, focusing on RC women chaplains’ understanding of self and God within ministry.

Terry Tastard is completing a book on the religious sisters who nursed with Nightingale in the Crimean War (Bloomsbury Academic, 2022). He is a priest of Westminster Diocese.

Raphael Yabut is a doctoral student of theology and education at Boston College, MA, USA. He also teaches part-time with the Ateneo de Manila Theology Department in the Philippines. His research interests include synodality, critical pedagogy, and postcolonial theologies.

Bartosz Arkuszewski is a Ph.D. student at the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Jagiellonian University in Krakow. His research interests focus on miraculousness, healing and material religion in the Roman-Catholic Church in Poland.

Luke J. Buhagiar is Chief Research Officer at DISCERN ( He holds a PhD in social psychology (University of Malta), and has published on intergroup relations, argumentation and philosophical psychology. He is interested in the negotiation of plural religious identities, and the often hidden and liminal varieties of religious experience.

Matthias Dickert studied English and Theology at Marburg University ( Germany) with one exchange year in Durham ( Ushaw College). He did his PhD on Muslim writing in English speaking literature and most of his publications are on that topic and Islam as a religion. In 2017 he was awarded an honorary professorship. At the moment he is a member of the Marburger Center for Canadian Studies and cooperates with the diocese of Fulda ( Germany) on Islam .

Professor Daryl Higgins is the Director of the Institute of Child Protection Studies at Australian Catholic University. His research focuses on public health approaches to protecting children, and child-safe organisational strategies. A registered psychologist, Prof Higgins has been researching child abuse impacts and prevention, family violence and family functioning for over 25 years.

Jeff Shawn Jose is a PhD student at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. His current research is in political philosophy focusing on the theme, “Religion and Radical Pluralism: A Critical Analysis of Rawls’s Public Reason and Gandhi’s Stance.” He is the author of the book “National Identity Cards and Human Dignity: A Theological Critique of Aadhaar.” His research interests include the interaction of Catholicism and Secular Modernity.

Lisa Lickona, S.T.L., is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Saint Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Rochester, New York. She engages faith in life in the experiences of the saints and the embodied encounter of man and woman. She co-edited The Relevance of the Stars by Lorenzo Albacete.

Sarah-Jane Page is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Aston University, Birmingham, UK. Her research focuses on the relationship between religion, gender and sexuality. Her most recent research has examined the role of religion in anti-abortion activism, and Catholic clergy and parishioner attitudes to abortion. She recently submitted her fourth monograph (co-written with Pam Lowe), Anti-abortion Activism in the UK, to Emerald Publishing.

Dr. Varela Rios is Assistant Professor of Theology at Villanova University. His research concentrates on theology and lived religion in Latinx material culture, especially through devotional objects such as Bibles, artworks, and buildings, and how their shared materialities mediate individual and communal flourishing.

Isaak Deman is a doctoral researcher under a joint-PhD project between KU Leuven and Australian Catholic University. His research focuses on the Catholic vision on education and formation before, during and after Vatican II. More specifically, he investigates the redaction and reception history of the conciliar document Gravissimum Educationis (1965).

Luis Bastidas Meneses is a doctoral candidate and lecturer at the Chair of Sociology of Religion and Culture at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. His research focuses on the influence of the devotion to the dead in the interpretation of everyday life in a context of extreme violence in Colombia, specifically in the Magdalena Medio region. Implementing visual analysis as a methodological research tool, he collaborates in a visual sociology research project on the demobilization experience of FARC-EC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo) combatants after the peace process signed in 2016.

Dr Fiona Dineen is a Lecturer in Religious Education at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Eline Huygens is a doctoral researcher at Ghent University. In her PhD, she investigates how religious beliefs and teachings shape the experiences and practices of Roman Catholic women with respect to intimate relationships and sexuality. Furthermore, she is book review editor of the journal Religion and Gender.

Peter Kevern is Professor of Values in Health and Social Care at Staffordshire University. His research centres on the role of religious organisations in delivering social policy outcomes, in particular in relation to ageing in the community. He is an Associate Member of the Las Casas Institute, Oxford.

Evyn McGraw is pursuing an MLitt in Theology and the Arts at the University of St Andrews. Her current research interests are in mythopoetic literature, feminist theology, and the sacramental aesthetics of writers like Dante and Flannery O’Connor. She is also a practicing artist and novelist.

Rev. Matthew Pulis is a Maltese Catholic priest. He graduated with an MSc Informatics from the University of Malta and with an MA in Digital Theology from the University of Durham. He is currently working on a doctoral dissertation studying the interface of Maltese Generation Z, gaming, and faith.

Christopher Lamb is the Vatican Correspondent for The Tablet, author of The Outsider: Pope Francis and His Battle to Reform the Church and is pursuing doctoral research in synodality at the University of Durham.

Tiffany Hunsinger has worked in various ministry roles. She is currently working on her PhD in Theology at UD and works as an Intro to Religion Instructor and Graduate Assistant. Her research interests include the intersection of Evangelical Catholicism and Political Theology including aspects such as feminism and purity culture.

%d bloggers like this: