Jessica Coblentz


Professional Overview: 

I am delighted to have joined the Saint Mary’s faculty in fall 2017. From 2017-2019, I concurrently hold a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Louisville Institute, where I participate in the organization’s Vocation of the Theological Educator initiative.

A concern for Christianity's complicated relationship to suffering drives my theological teaching and research. My current book project develops a theology of suffering and salvation grounded in contemporary experiences of chronic and recurring depression. This research is an outgrowth of my dissertation research, which was supported by a Dissertation Fellowship from the Louisville Institute and by the Collegeville Institute, where I served as a Scholar in Residence and Kilian McDonnell Fellow in Faith and Culture from 2016-2017. 

U.S. liberation theologies, especially feminist and antiracist theologies, have been avenues for thinking critically and constructively about Christianity’s complicity in human suffering. These theologies feature prominently in my teaching and research.

My courses in systematic theology introduce students to the breadth of the Christian tradition and reflect my commitments to interdisciplinarity and social justice. As an instructor, I rely on active-learning techniques to create a classroom where students not only learn about theology but also hone their theological thinking skills. I believe that all students have the potential to make significant theological contributions, and I encourage them to apply their perspectives and skills to issues on campus and in our broader world.

School of Liberal Arts » Theology and Religious Studies
SMC Email Address: 


Ph.D., Theology, Boston College (2017)

M.T.S., Theology, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University (2011)

B.A., Religious Studies and Women's & Gender Studies, Santa Clara University (2008)

Courses Taught

  • The Bible & Its Interpretation
  • Theology & The World of the Mind
  • Feminist Theologies
  • The Theology of Karl Rahner


Selected presentations

  • “Persistent Depression, Diminished Freedom, and Non-liberative Grace,” Paper for Catholic Theological Society of America Annual Convention, Selected Session (June 2018), forthcoming

  • “The Revolution Continues: Daly’s The Church and the Second Sex in 1968, 1975, and Today” College Theology Society Annual Convention; Feminisms, Gender, and Theology Section (June 2018), forthcoming

  • “Comedy, Tragedy—or Glory? Another Christian Story of Suffering and Salvation,” Paper for “Suffering, Diminishment, and the Christian Life,” Durham University (January 2018).

  • “A Better Map of Soteriology: A Response to William Loewe’s Lex Crucis: Soteriology and the Stages of Meaning,” Paper for College Theology Society Annual Convention, Systematic Theology Section (June 2017)

  • “Forgetting and Repeating the Problems of ‘Theology in the Americas,’” Paper for College Theology Society Annual Convention, Mysticism & Politics Section (June 2017)

  • “Holy Fasting in a Culture of Body Hatred?” Paper for College Theology Society Annual Convention, Feminisms, Gender, and Theology Section (June 2016)

  • “Ghosts in the Office: Practical, Ecclesiological, and Soteriological Implications of Stereotype Threat among Women in Catholic Theology,” Paper for Still Guests in Our Own House? Women and the Church Since Vatican II Conference, Loyola University Chicago (November 2015)

  • “Sisters in the Wilderness: Toward a Theological Reflection on Depression with Delores Williams,” Paper for College Theology Society Annual Convention, Anthropology, Psychology, and Religion Section (June 2015)

  • “Why Stories Matter: Interrupting the Political Grammar of Feminist and Other Contemporary Theologies,” Paper for College Theology Society Annual Convention, Contemporary Theologies Section (June 2013)


Peer-Reviewed Essays

  • “Forgetting and Repeating the Theological Racism at ‘Theology in the Americas.’” Peer-reviewed chapter in American Catholicism in the 21st Century: Crossroads, Crisis, or Renewal?, ed. by Benjamin Peters and Nicholas Rademacher (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018), forthcoming.
  • “Is Student Mental Health a Matter of Mission?” Peer-reviewed essay co-authored with Christopher Staysniak in Journal of Catholic Higher Education (Summer 2017),
  • “Ghosts in the Office: The Ecclesiological and Soteriological Implications of Stereotype Threat among Women in Catholic Theology.” Peer-reviewed article in Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion (Spring 2017): 127-136.
  • “Sisters in the Wilderness: Toward A Theology of Depression with Delores Williams.” Peer-reviewed chapter in An Unexpected Wilderness: Seeking God on a Changing Planet, ed. Colleen Carpenter (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016), 193-203.

Book Chapters:

  • “The First Ten Years: Becoming a Woman Theologian,” Chapter in Shared Visions, Different Voices, Many Vocations, ed. by Tina Beattie and Diana Culbertson, O.P. (New York, NY: Paulist Press, 2018), forthcoming.
  • “To Share A Meal With Jesus.” Chapter in From the Pews in the Back: Young Women and Catholicism, eds. Kate Dugan and Jen Owens (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009), 115-122.

Book reviews

  • Book Review, The Challenge of Evil: Grace and the Problem of Suffering by William Greenway for Horizons, forthcoming.
  • Review of Bible through the Lens of Trauma edited by Elizabeth Boase and Christopher Frechette in Horizons (Winter 2017), forthcoming.
  • Review of Bipolar Faith: A Black Women’s Journey with Depression and Faith by Monica Coleman in Horizons (June 2017), 257-258.
  • Review of Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering by Makoto Fujimura in Catholic Library World (September 2016), 53.
  • Review of Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas in Catholic Library World (December 2015), 119.
  • Review of Jesus and Salvation: Soundings in the Christian Tradition and Contemporary Theology by Robin Ryan in Catholic Library World (September 2015), 41.
  • Review of Empowering Memory and Movement: Thinking and Working Across Borders by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, in Catholic Library World (March 2015), 184.
  • Review of Joan Chittister: Essential Writings by Joan Chittister, selected by Mary Lou Kownacki and Mary Hembrow Synder, in Catholic Library World (March 2015), 188.

Selected writings for a popular audience

  • “Can We Say ‘Yes’ to This?” GIA Quarterly (2018).
  • “Encountering the Truth,” Give Us This Day (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, October 14, 2017).
  • “What Will Change Us?” Give Us This Day (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, March 16, 2017).
  • “Work and Prayer, Prayer and Work,” Give Us This Day (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, January 11, 2017).
  • “Come to Me, Continuously,” Give Us This Day (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, August 13, 2016).
  • “The Redemptive and Demonic in Big-time Sports: An Interview with Marcia W. Mount Shoop,” The Other Journal (May 5, 2016), Online:
  • “Unless Someone Instructs Us,” Give Us This Day (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, April 2016).
  • “Challenge for Easter People,” Catechetical Leader Magazine, 21:2 (March/April 2011).