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Dr. Patricia O’Connell Killen

Gonzaga University
Professor of Religious Studies and Senior University Fellow
Dr. Patricia O’Connell Killen is Professor of Religious Studies and Senior University Fellow at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where she also served for seven years as academic vice president. Killen received her MA and PhD degrees from Stanford University. A historian and theologian, her scholarship focuses on Christianity in North America, especially on Catholicism and on religion and spirituality in the Pacific Northwest. She researches and writes about the intersection of social context, community, and spirituality, exploring how, in differing social contexts, communities “think” (or don’t think) with the wisdom of their religious heritage to address novel challenges and circumstances of their time.

Killen is the primary editor of Religion and Public Life in the Pacific Northwest: The None Zone (Alta Mira Press, 2004), and a contributor to Cascadia, the Elusive Utopia: Exploring Spirituality in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia (Ronsdale Press, 2009). Killen is co-editor, with Roberta Stringham Brown of The Selected Letters of A.M.A. Blanchet, Bishop of Walla Walla and Nesqualy, 1846-1879, (University of Washington Press, 2013). She also is the primary editor of The Future of Catholicism in America (Columbia University Press, 2019). Among other publications, Killen is an author of two award-winning books, Finding Our Voices: Women, Wisdom and Faith (1997) and, with John de Beer, The Art of Theological Reflection (1994), which recently appeared in a Korean translation. Killen’s current research includes working with colleagues at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, to explore “Spirituality, Secularization, and Civic Life” in British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington.

Among the recognition she has received for her work as a teacher and scholar, Killen is a recipient of the American Academy of Religion Teaching Excellence Award (2006), the Paul Bator Memorial Award from the Canadian Catholic Historical Society (2001), the Elizabeth Seton Medal from the College of Mt. St. Joseph (1999), and an Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Foundation Award for Outstanding Humanities Teachers (1991).