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Expert in Catholic and feminist theology coming to CSB and SJU next week

A prominent theologian and author of a recent book published by Liturgical Press will speak on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 29-30, at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Jessica Coblentz, Ph.D., an assistant professor of religious studies and theology at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, will preach the Midday Prayer at the Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary, is the featured speaker at the first Theology on Tap event of the fall semester and will engage faculty at the annual Koch Luncheon.

Coblentz, whose book Dust in the Blood: A Theology of Life with Depression was published this year, is a regular contributor for Give Us This Day. On Thursday, Sept. 29, she will present the Midday Prayer at 11:30 a.m. at the chapel in Emmaus Hall and follow that with a podcast-style conversation about depression and discipleship – the intersection of mental health and faith – at 8 p.m. at Br. Willie’s Pub. Both events at Saint John’s are open to the public. For the latter, Coblentz will be joined by Dr. Mike Ewing of the CSB and SJU Well-Being Center, Bernie Donlon, M.T.S. candidate at Saint John’s School of Theology, and Evan Mattson ’24 for questions and conversation. On Friday, Sept. 30, Coblentz will present at a Koch Luncheon at the College of Saint Benedict. The Koch Luncheon is a round-table discussion opportunity for faculty and staff to deepen their understanding of the rich Catholic intellectual and cultural tradition.

Coblentz’s writing has been featured in popular venues such as the National Catholic Reporter and U.S. Catholic magazine. Before working as a theologian, she served for several years in Roman Catholic national and diocesan religious education, parish young adult ministry and college campus ministry. She earned her Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston College. Her appearances are co-sponsored by CSB and SJU Campus Ministry, Liturgical Press, Collegeville Institute, SOT, the theology department at the CSB and SJU, the CSB and SJU Well-Being Center and the College of Saint Benedict Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture.

“There’s a web of connections that are an example of how Saint John’s is a hub for good theological thought and discussion,” said Margaret Nuzzolese Conway, executive director of SJU Campus Ministry. “Jessica’s topic is relevant to students’ struggles and questions of God, and she also teaches at an all-women’s institution, so she is used to approaching her teaching in the context of a gendered institution. Her research is incredibly relevant, timely, and prophetic.

“She is a skilled preacher and we’re grateful for the opportunity for her to share at the reflection next week. She is receiving national and international acclaim for Dust in the Blood, and her compassionate, intentional demeanor really speaks to young people’s struggles and hopes – both about God and depression. She was a scholar at the Collegeville Institute in 2016-17 and finished her dissertation right here on campus. She was very connected to the community, inspired by the Benedictine ethos and culture and built great relationships. Her work is ground-breaking, so for our community to have the chance to hear from her and meet her is a wonderful opportunity.”

For more information, email [email protected].


Jessica Coblentz