Susan Reynolds

Susan Reynolds

Assistant Professor of Catholic Studies


PhD, Boston College, 2018
MTS, Boston College, 2013
MEd, University of Notre Dame, 2011
BA, University of Notre Dame, 2009


(404) 727-7727


Dr. Susan Bigelow Reynolds is a Catholic theologian and ethnographer whose research examines the intersection of ecclesiology and lived Catholicism in contexts of diversity, marginality, and suffering. Her first monograph, People Get Ready: Ritual, Solidarity, and Lived Ecclesiology in Catholic Roxbury (Fordham University Press, 2023), draws on years of parish-based ethnographic research in Boston to examine the question of community in a racially and culturally diverse church, arguing for the retrieval of solidarity as an ecclesial virtue. Her work has also examined public ritual, urban Catholic practice, parish closures and congregational change, migration, motherhood and pregnancy loss, and the Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis.

Reynolds’ work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, volumes, and public-facing venues including American Catholic StudiesNew Theology ReviewExchangeAmerica, and The Atlantic. She is a contributing writer for Commonweal magazine and is a frequent contributor to national conversations on Catholicism and public life in the media, including National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour, NBC, and CNN.

Prior to theological studies, Reynolds taught middle school in Brownsville, Texas. She has more than a decade of experience in campus, parish, and liturgical music ministry. Reynolds is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America, where she helps to administer the Practical Theology session and serves on the Women’s Consultation in Constructive Theology Steering Committee, the College Theology Society, and the American Academy of Religion. She is a board member of the Aquinas Center of Theology and the Candler representative to the board of the Hispanic Summer Program.


People Get Ready: Ritual, Solidarity, and Lived Ecclesiology in Catholic Roxbury, New York: Fordham University Press, 2023


“‘I Will Surely Have You Deported:’ Undocumenting Clergy Sexual Abuse in Immigrant Communities,” Religion and American Culture 33, no. 2 (2023): 1-34.

Response to People Get Ready review symposium, American Catholic Studies 134, no. 2 (Summer 2023): 53-63, with essays by Eileen Markey, Maureen O’Connell, Brett C. Hoover, and Dennis Doyle.

“Water, Mud, Fire: Bringing Mass to Matamoros,” Commonweal 150, no. 8 (September 2023): 8-9.

“On Tradition and the Passion Play,” Commonweal, March 2023

“‘This is not nostalgia:’ Contesting the Politics of Sentimentality in Boston’s 2004 Parish Closure Protests,” U.S. Catholic Historian ​41, no. 1 (2023): 71-92.

“Selfhood and Its Limits,” contribution to Syndicate Network forum on Danielle Tumminio Hansen’s Conceiving Family. February 15, 2023.

“Solidarity as Slow Conversion,” Missiology 51, no. 1 (2023): 31–45.

“Book review: Anna Rowlands, Towards a Politics of Communion: Catholic Social Teaching in Dark Times in Scottish Journal of Theology (2023)

“Are We Protagonists Yet?” in Commonweal, 149, no. 11: 10-11, December 2022

“The Paradox of Public Scholarship” in Commonweal 149, no. 8: 9, September 2022

“Selva J. Raj, Solidarity and the Language of Ritual” in All the Ends of the Earth: Challenge and Celebration of Global Catholicism, Orbis, 2020

“Latino/a/x/o Christian Theologies” in The Oxford Handbook of Latino/a Christianities in the United States, Oxford University Press, 2020

“Beyond Unity In Diversity: Race, Culture, and Communion Ecclesiology in U.S. Catholicism,” American Catholic Studies, vol. 130, no. 4, 2019

“Fieldwork in Ecclesial Borderlands: Culture, Community, and Belonging in a Multiethnic Boston Parish,” Exchange, vol. 48, no. 3, July 19, 2019

“Vigil-Keeping,” in Of Womb and Tomb: Prayer in Time of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth, GIA, January 01, 2019

“The Integration of Hispanic Parishioners in U.S. Catholic parishes with Hispanic Ministry: Results from a National Survey,”  Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, vol. 46, no. 4, January 17, 2019

“Cultivating Young Hispanic Catholic Leaders,” Our Catholic Children: Ministry with Hispanic Youth and Young Adults/Nuestros jovenes catolicos: Pastoral Juvenil Hispana en los Estados Unidos, 2018

“Ministering With Authenticity,” C21 Resources: A Hope to Share: Young Adults and Our Church, 2018

Spanish to English Translation,”Medellín: A Spiritual Experience,” in The Grace of Medellín: History, Theology, and Legacy: Reflections on the Significance of Medellín for the Church in the United States, Convivium, 2018

“Catholic Liturgy and Prenatal Loss: Ritual, Ambiguity, and the Miscarrying Body,” in Liturgy + Power, Orbis, 2017

“From the Site of the Empty Tomb: Approaching the Hidden Grief of Pregnancy Loss.” New Theology Review, vol. 28, no. 2, 2016

“‘For there is still a vision:’ Metz’s Apocalyptic Eschatology and the Practice of Lament,” Lumen et Vita, vol. 5, no. 1, 2015

“‘I AM has sent me to you:’ How Thomas Aquinas’ understanding of the divine names illuminates the way in which he reconciles impassibility and compassion in God,” Lumen et Vita, vol. 3, no. 1, 2013

The Catherine Mowry LaCugna Award, Catholic Theological Society of America, 2023

Scholarly Writing and Publishing Fund Grant, Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, Emory University, 2019

Research Grant, Brewer Fund for Communities and Congregations Research, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, 2018

Doctoral Fellowship, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, 2013-2017

AmeriCorps Education Awards Program Educational Grant, 2011

Alliance for Catholic Education Teaching Fellowship, University of Notre Dame, 2009-2011

Lou Holtz Leadership Full Scholarship Award, University of Notre Dame, 2008

International Research Grant for research in Uganda, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame, 2008

Kellogg Institute for International Studies International Scholars Program, University of Notre Dame, 2006-2008

Introduction to Practical Theology

Catholicism in America: Migration, Transnationalism, and Devotion

Methods of Social and Congregational Analysis

In the media

October 9, 2023

Emory author hopes to inspire view of parishes as ‘schools of solidarity’

September 1, 2023

Bringing Mass to a Migrant Camp

July 24, 2023

'People Get Ready': Boston-area parish offers lessons for wider church

June 23, 2023

Review: An inner-city Boston parish’s lessons for building a vibrant church community

June 13, 2023

Theologian Roger Haight honored with CTSA's John Courtney Murray Award

April 27, 2023

Susan B. Reynolds Receives the Alumni Distinguished Service Award

April 6, 2023

Embodied Ritual and Radical Solidarity with Susan Bigelow Reynolds

March 15, 2023

On Tradition and the Passion Play

January 26, 2023

Unity, not Uniformity

January 20, 2022

Faulting of retired Pope Benedict's handling of abuse cases sparks sharp reactions

November 1, 2021

Going Gray

August 4, 2021

Loving Herself, Regardless

Decorative SVG Decorative SVG