Elizabeth O’Donnell Gandolfo

Earley Assistant Professor of Catholic and Latin American Studies

B.A.,Saint Joseph’s University; M.T.S., University of Notre Dame; Ph.D., Emory University

Gandolfo’s research interests include feminist and Latin American liberation theologies, Catholic theology, and systematic theology. Her first book, The Power and Vulnerability of Love: A Theological Anthropology (Fortress, 2015), draws on women’s experiences of maternity and natality to construct a theology of suffering and redemption that is anchored in the reality of human vulnerability. She is currently involved with several projects, including a co-edited volume on motherhood as spiritual practice and source for theology, and a book on the practical and theological lessons that North American Christians might learn from the ecclesial base communities of El Salvador.

Religious Affiliation

Roman Catholic

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Theology
  • Latin American Liberation Theology


  • The Power and Vulnerability of Love: A Theological Anthropology, Fortress Press, 2015.

Select Journal Articles, Book Chapters, Book Reviews

  • “Motherhood and the (In)vulnerability of the Imago Dei: Being Human in the Mystical-Political Cloud of Impossibility,” in Jenny Daggers and Grace Ji-Sun Kim, eds., Christian Doctrines for Global Gender Justice. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • Review of Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love by Elizabeth A. Johnson. Interpretation 69/2 (2015).
  • Review of Ethics: A Liberative Approach by Miguel A. De La Torre. Horizons 42/1 (2015).
  • “A Truly Human Incarnation: Recovering a Place for Nativity in Contemporary Christology,” Theology Today 70/4 (2014).
  • Review of Blessed Are The Consumers: Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint by Sallie McFague. Interpretation 68/3 (2014).
  • “Mary Kept These Things, Pondering Them in Her Heart: Breastfeeding as Contemplative Practice and Source for Theology,” Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 13/2 (2013). **N.B.: This article was awarded “Best Article Published in Theology in 2013” by the College Theology Society, June 2014.
  • “Remembering the Massacre at El Mozote: A Case for the Dangerous Memory of Suffering as Christian Formation in Hope,” International Journal of Practical Theology 17/2 (2013).
  • Motherhood, Violence, and Peacemaking: A Practical-Theological Lesson From Liberia,” in Margaret R. Pfeil and Tobias L. Winright, eds., Violence, Transformation and the Sacred: They Shall be Called Children of God. Orbis Books, 2012.
  • “Women and Martyrdom: Feminist Liberation Theology in Dialogue with a Latin American Paradigm,” in Horizons 34/1 (2007).

Select Academic Lectures

  • “To Feel with the Suffering of Christ: San Romero and the Sensus Fidelium,” Catholic Theological Society of America Annual Convention, Selected Session on “The Sensus Fidelium and the Crucified Peoples,” June 2015.
  • “Human Vulnerability and the Negatively Known Humanum: A Challenge to the Theological Anthropology of Edward Schillebeeckx,” SECSOR, Constructive Theologies Section, March 2015.
  • “Encountering God ‘Where the Wild Things Are’: Towards an Eco-Spirituality of Parenting,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Christian Spirituality Group, November 2013.
  • “The Natal Body of Christ: Recovering a Place for Nativity in Christology,” Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion Regional Meeting, Christology Session of the Constructive Theologies Section, March 2013.
  • “Sorrowful Mothers or Iron Ladies? Liberian Women Peacemakers Subvert the Myth of Maternal Peacefulness,” College Theology Society, Annual Convention, June 2011.
  • “The Dangerous Memory of El Mozote: A Practical Theological Defense of Hope in the Memory of Suffering,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Practical Theology Group, Session on “Rupture, Lament, Suffering and Practical Theology,” November 2010.
  • Acompañando la Vida: The Integration of Catholic Social Teaching and Community-based Education in the Ecclesial Base Communities of El Salvador,” Center for Social Concerns, “From Evangelization to Discipleship” Conference, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, June 2007.
  • “A Feminist Approach to the Theme of Martyrdom in Latin American Liberation Theology,” Latin American Studies Association Annual Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 2006.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Academy of Religion
  • College Theology Society
  • Catholic Theological Society of America