Earley Associate Professor of Catholic and Latin American Studies
Dr. Gandolfo is a constructive theologian rooted in the Catholic tradition whose teaching and research place Christian theology in conversation with human responses to vulnerability, suffering, violence, and oppression, especially in contexts of social injustice and ecological degradation. Dr. Gandolfo is the author, co-author, or co-editor of multiple articles, book chapters, and books. Her first book, The Power and Vulnerability of Love: A Theological Anthropology (Fortress, 2015), draws on women’s diverse experiences of maternity and natality to construct a feminist theology of suffering and redemption that is anchored in the reality of human vulnerability. She is also co-editor of Parenting as Spiritual Practice and Source for Theology: Mothering Matters (Palgrave, 2017), which brings together theological reflections on mothering by an intergenerational, interracial, and intercultural group of women scholars in theology, bible, and ethics. In recent years, Dr. Gandolfo has turned to decolonial studies as a critical dialogue partner for Christian theology. Her co-authored book Re-membering the Reign of God: The Decolonial Witness of El Salvador’s Church of the Poor (Lexington, 2022) therefore places the decolonial praxis of the ecclesial base communities of El Salvador in critical conversation with the continued coloniality of Roman Catholic ecclesiology and eschatology. In her most recent book, Ecomartyrdom in the Americas: Living and Dying for Our Common Home (Orbis, 2023), Dr. Gandolfo highlights the ongoing murder of land and environmental defenders, particularly in Latin America, and theologically engages their witness in light of recent developments in Catholic social thought and liberation theology. In addition to research and writing, Dr. Gandolfo finds deep fulfillment in teaching theology at Wake Forest School of Divinity, and great joy (and challenge) in the adventures of her other full-time job—raising four school-aged children.
BA, Saint Joseph’s University; MTS, University of Notre Dame; PhD, Emory University
- Introduction to Christian Theology
- Latin American Liberation Theologies
- Christian Responses to Immigration
- Contemporary Christologies
- Whiteness and Christian Theology
- Contemporary Eco-theologies: Reimagining and Reembodying God, Humanity, and Creation
- Dangerous Memories: Theologies and Practices of Remembering Suffering
- Religion and Environmental Justice in Latin America
- Mary, Saints, and Martyrs in Latinx Catholicism: The Politics of Holiness
- Introduction to Latin American Christian Traditions (undergraduate)
- The Power and Vulnerability of Love: A Theological Anthropology. Fortress
- Parenting as Spiritual Practice and Source for Theology: Mothering Matters, co-edited with Claire Bischoff and Annie Hardison-Moody. Palgrave Macmillan,
- Re-membering the Reign of God: The Decolonial Witness of El Salvador’s
Church of the Poor, co-authored with Laurel Marshall Potter. Lexington
- Ecomartyrdom in the Americas: Living and Dying for Our Common Home.
Orbis Books, 2023.
- “Redeeming the Commons of Creation: Towards an Interreligious, Decolonial, and Ecofeminist Theology of the Kin-dom of God,” in Critical Theology Vol 5, No. 2 (Winter 2023).
- “Dismantling the Colonial Trifecta of Environmental Collapse: An Ecotheological Reflection on the Intersections of Racism, Patriarchy, and Capitalism,” in Sharon Bong, al., eds., Concilium: International Journal of Theology, special issue Racism: Women’s Intercultural Perspectives (April 2023).
- “Cuando el pobre crea en el pobre: Decolonial epistemology in the ecclesial base communities of El Salvador,” in Raimundo Barreto and Roberto Sirvent, eds., Decolonial Christianities: Latinx and Latin American Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).
- “Medellín and the Problem of Whiteness: An Ambiguous Legacy,” in O. Ernesto Valiente, et. al, eds., Medellín: The Grace of Medellín: Reflections on the Significance of Medellín for the Church in the United States (Convivium Press, 2018).
- “Encountering God and Being Human ‘Where the Wild Things Are’: Maternal Experiences as an Eco-feminist Source for Theological Anthropology,” in Louvain Studies, special issue Relation, Vulnerability, and Love: Theological Anthropology in the 21st Century, Volume 41, Issue 3 (2018).
- “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). Reprinted in Claire Bischoff, Elizabeth O’Donnell Gandolfo, and Annie Hardison-Moody, eds., Parenting as Spiritual Practice and Source for Theology: Mothering Matters (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).
- “A Truly Human Incarnation: Recovering a Place for Nativity in Contemporary Christology,” Theology Today 70/4 (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).
- “‘No one takes my life, I give it freely’: Reimagining Human Freedom in Light of Ecomartyrdom,” Catholic Theological Society of America, Theological Anthropology Topic Session, June 2023.
- “El ecomartirio en las Américas: desafío ecológico, feminista, anti-racista, e interreligioso para la teología de la liberación,” Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana Cátedra de Teología, April 2023.
- “Redeeming the Commons of Creation: Towards an Interreligious, Decolonial, and Ecofeminist Theology of the Kin-dom of God,” Catholic Theological Society of America, Creation/Eschatology Topic Session, June 2022.
- “Eco-martyrs in the Americas: Witnesses to the Human Vocation of Integral Ecology,” College Theology Society; Theology, Ecology, and Natural Science Section; June 2021.
- “Un Pueblo Solidario: San Romero, Ecclesial Base Communities, and the Solidarity of the People of God,” Hesburgh Center for International Studies, University of Notre Dame, Invited Virtual Presentation, February 2021 (original March 2020 conference date cancelled due to COVID-19).
- “El Pueblo Es Mi Profeta: Monseñor Romero’s Theology of the People of God,” Catholic Theological Society of America, Theological Witness of Oscar Romero Interest Group, June 2019.
- “The Praxis of Decolonial Ecclesiology in the Base Communities of El Salvador,” College Theology Society, Ecclesiology Section, accepted for presentation in June 2018.
- “Christology, White Guilt, and White Privilege,” Catholic Theological Society of America Annual Convention, Christ Session, accepted for presentation in June 2018.
- “San Romero, Risen in the Salvadoran People and Canonized by the Salvadoran People: A Case Study in the Tension between Popular and Ecclesiastical Sainthood,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Roman Catholic Studies Group, November 2016.
- “Encountering God and Being Human ‘Where the Wild Things Are’: Maternal Experiences in Dialogue with Ecofeminist Theological Anthropology,” invited keynote address at the international conference “Relation, Vulnerability, and Love: Theological Anthropology in the 21st Century” (final conference of the Anthropos Group), Leuven, Belgium, September 2016.
- “Laudato Si’ and Catholic Social Teaching: The Roots of a Revolutionary Document,” presentation for Wake Forest University School of Divinity’s Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative’s panel event, “Laudato Si’ (Praised Be!): The Impact of Pope Francis’ Encyclical and Reflections on Our Common Home,” Wake Forest University, October 2015 and Wake Forest University Charlotte Center, February 2016.
- Women’s Lounge New Book Panel Presentation on The Power and Vulnerability of Love: A Theological Anthropology. American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Women’s Lounge, November 2015.
- “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.
- American Academy of Religion
- Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion
- College Theology Society
- Catholic Theological Society of America
Office: Divinity and Religious Studies Building 113
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