miguel-romero.jpgCandler’s Aquinas Center of Theology will welcome Miguel J. Romero, assistant professor of religious and theological studies at Rhode Island’s Salve Regina University, to give this year’s Nancy Eiesland Endowment Lecture. Romero will present “Learning to See: Disability, Friendship, and the Christian Life” on April 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 102 of Candler’s Rita Anne Rollins Building. The event is free and open to the public.

In a story-filled presentation, Romero will weave together theology, narrative, and practical wisdom for Christians who want to begin the journey of thinking theologically about disability. For followers of Jesus, the first steps involve thoughtful engagement, personal encounter, and faithful friendship. Drawing upon the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, Romero will present a way of seeing and moving through the world that reflects the truth of our vulnerable and dependent nature.

Romero received his MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary and his ThM and ThD from Duke Divinity School. From 2012 to 2016, he was a postdoctoral research fellow and theology instructor at the University of Notre Dame. The author of multiple journal articles, his research interests include moral theology, Catholic social teaching, philosophical and theological accounts of disability and mental illness, and the theology of Thomas Aquinas.

Named for late Candler professor Nancy Eiesland, the Eiesland Lecture focuses on issues in religion and disability studies. Eiesland died in 2009, after serving on Candler’s faculty for 15 years. The event is in partnership with L’Arche Atlanta, with additional funding provided by the Dr. Nancy L. Eiesland Endowment for Disability Studies, which supports scholarly activities to encourage and promote interdisciplinary scholarship in disability studies, including lectures or conferences at Emory University.

Eiesland came to Candler in 1988 as a master of divinity student. Her master’s thesis evolved into the 1994 book, The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability. Shaped by Eiesland’s childhood experience of undergoing numerous surgeries for a congenital bone defect, the book is considered to be the foundational text in disability studies. Following completion of her doctorate in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion, Eiesland joined Candler’s faculty. In addition to her pioneering work on disability, which included consulting with the United Nations on its Convention on the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, Eiesland was known for her work in sociology and congregational studies. In 2000, she published A Particular Place, which examined urban patterns affecting churches.