Dr. Christie BillupsDr. Christie Billups
Assistant Professor
Director of Pastoral Ministry
Coordinator of Service Learning
Coordinator of Prison Ministry Leadership Curriculum

2007 D.Min., Catholic Theological Union
2001 M.A.P.S., Catholic Theological Union
1990 M.A.T., National Louis University
1982 B.A., St. Michael's College

Christie Billups, MAPS, D.Min., (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Theology, Chair of the Department, Co-Founder of Peace and Justice Studies, and Co-Founder and Director of the Br. Jeffrey Gros, FSC Institute for Dialogue, Justice and Social Action at Lewis University. Christie has served in a variety of ministerial settings: jails and prisons with incarcerated youth and adults, parishes and schools as youth and campus minister, and teacher at the middle, high school and college levels. She advocates for the use of restorative justice, and practices deep listening to the stories of people impacted by mass incarceration. First trained in Circle Keeping in 2008 she uses circles extensively in her classes as well as on campus and with community members.

Publications include:
New Theology Review. “Ministry with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Questioning Youth.” February 2009.
National Catholic Reporter. “New Evangelization and True Evangelization.” February 2012.

Topics on which Dr. Billups has presented and/or blogged:
Restorative Justice, Prison Ministry, Service Learning, Interfaith Dialogue among Abrahamic Traditions, The Creed, Beloved Community, and Dismantling Racism.

Dr. Dominic ColonnaDominic Colonna
Professor (Theology) and Faculty Mission Liaison

1998 Ph.D. (Systematic Theology), Fordham University
1989 M.Div., Yale University
1983 B.A. (Music), Connecticut College

Areas of Research Interest: Theological Aesthetics, Moral Theology, Catholic and Lasallian Mission

Dominic Colonna has been teaching at Lewis University since 1999. Dr. Colonna attempts to teach critical thinking skills in the classroom by having students read and respond to primary source materials including art. Art, he believes, calls one to make the same kind of personal responses that one makes in one’s spiritual life and, often, it engages students more effectively than traditional texts. Dr. Colonna has been taking students annually since 2001 to Italy to study theology by experiencing the art and architecture of Rome, Assisi, Florence, and Ravenna.

Dr. Colonna teaches Search for Faith and Christian Action and Values each semester.  Each year, he teaches the upper-level course History of Christian Thought in addition to the class in Italy, Christian Faith and the Arts.

Dr. Maryellen Davis Collett

Dr. Maryellen Davis Collett
Associate Professor

2007 Ph.D. University of North Carolina
2001 M.A., University of North Carolina
1998 B.A., Williams College

Maryellen Davis Collett is an associate professor in the Department of Theology at Lewis University. Dr. Collett has been teaching at Lewis since 2005.  She received her Ph.D. (2007) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) in the Religious Studies program (Religion in North America and Religion and Culture), with a dissertation titled Mary as Media Icon: The Madonna in Twentieth-Century American Catholic Devotional Cultures. Dr. Collett also received a M.A. degree from UNC-Chapel Hill (2001) for which she wrote a thesis entitled “Popery” or Patriotism?: Constructions of Catholic Identity in Antebellum Fiction. Her B.A. in Religion is from Williams College in Massachusetts (1998). She has presented frequently on the complex intersections of religion and popular culture. She is author of “Mary as Media Icon: Gender and Militancy in Twentieth-Century U.S. Roman Catholic Devotional Media” in Lynn Schofield Clark, ed. Religion, Media, and the Marketplace (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2007) and “Lewis University as Sacred Space” in Celebrating 75 Years: Lewis University 1932-2007 (Wassberg, Schackmuth, Davis, & Cremin, 2006), and is currently writing a book with her colleague, Karen Trimble Alliaume, on theology and religion in works of speculative fiction (including science fiction, fantasy, and horror).  Interdisciplinary work in religious studies, and particularly in the area of religion and popular culture, has been her career-long passion. Dr. Collett’s expertise also extend to philosophy of religion and U.S. Catholic history.  Her frequently taught courses include Search for Faith, American Catholic Experiences, Christian Ethics, Religion and Popular Culture, and Mary and the Miraculous in the Catholic Tradition.  She is excited to be helping launch the Department’s new major concentration in religious studies by adding the new course, Methods in Religious Studies, into her teaching rotation.

Dr. Clare Komoroske RothschildDr. Clare K. Rothschild
Professor (Scripture Studies)

2003 Ph.D., University of Chicago Divinity School
1992 M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School
1986 B.A., University of California, Berkeley

Clare K. Rothschild is Professor of Scripture Studies at Lewis University and Professor Extraordinary, Department Ancient Studies at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). Her main research interests are Luke-Acts, the Muratorian Fragment, and the Apostolic Fathers. Clare spent a year as Humboldt Fellow in Munich researching her book, Hebrews as Pseudepigraphon, on the Pauline attribution of this early Christian text. Her current research focuses on the Epistle of Barnabas, on which she is preparing a commentary for the Hermeneia series. She serves as General Editor of Early Christianity as well as the SBL series, Writings from the Greco-Roman World. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga and playing the cello in various small orchestras and ensembles. (website: link

Dr. Elizabeth SartellDr. Elizabeth Sartell
Assistant Professor

2021 Ph.D., University of Chicago Divinity School (Islamic Studies)
2013 M.A., University of Chicago Divinity School
2008 B.S., University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

Dr. Elizabeth Sartell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology, specializing in the area of Islamic Studies and comparative Abrahamic traditions.  Her current research centers on medieval Islamic and Jewish theories on the origins of the universe and on the crossovers of philosophy and mysticism within these varied approaches. In particular, she focuses on the intricate mystical theory of Ibn al-ʿArabī (d. 1240 CE) about the role of the Arabic alphabet and God’s speech in the creation of the universe.  Her project seeks to place Ibn al-ʿArabī’s thought within the larger mystical discourse between medieval Muslim and Jewish texts, highlighting the relevance of minority texts and voices to studies of dominant cultures.  Her other projects focus on inclusive pedagogy and culturally responsive teaching practices.

Dr. Sartell has published articles, presented talks, and led workshops in the fields of Islamic medical ethics; science, magic, and religion in the Islamicate world; Islamic mysticism and mystical philosophy; Islamic and Jewish lettrism; and inclusive pedagogy in the humanities and in the study of religion.

At Lewis, Dr. Sartell teaches Search for Faith, World Religions, Introduction to Islam, Islam in America, and other courses that engage with religious studies, comparative studies, origin stories, Islamic studies and/or Jewish studies.

Father Daniel Torson, CPPSFather Daniel Torson, CPPS
Assistant Professor

2001 Doctor of Ministry, Pacific School of Religion of the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA
1995 Master of Arts in Liturgical Studies, St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN
1990 Master of Divinity, St. John's University, Collegeville, MN
1979 Bachelor of Music Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a specialization in classical saxophone.

Father Daniel Torson is an Assistant Professor of Theology with specialties in Catholic Studies (including Liturgy and Sacraments), Christian Ethics, and Pastoral Ministry.  He is a member of the religious community, the Society of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province. In addition to his degrees, Fr. Torson has completed advanced studies in Christian Ethics from Loyola University Chicago with research interests in Virtue and Narrative Ethics. Father Torson’s pastoral experience includes chaplaincy at four universities and is a weekly presider for weekend Masses at parishes in the area.  Fr. Torson is a former member of the Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band, the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command Band (Omaha, NE), and is an avid sports fan of both college and professional athletics.

Karen Trimble AlliaumeKaren Trimble Alliaume

1999 Ph.D., Duke University
1994 Graduate Certificate, Duke University
1987 B.A., Loyola College- Baltimore

Karen Trimble Alliaume received her doctorate in theology and ethics from Duke University in 1999, where she pursued feminist and other liberation theologies of the United States and the developing world; systematic and constructive Christian theology; Catholic moral theology and Christian ethics; and interdisciplinary work in literature, feminist theory, and women's studies.

Her book co-authored with Dr. Maryellen Davis Collett,  Reimagining the Boundaries of Religion and Popular Culture: Implicit Theology, Secular Spirituality, and Speculative Fiction, is currently under contract with the Cultural Studies division of Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield). This project reimagines the charged boundaries of religion and popular culture from two complementary and convergent disciplinary directions, implicit theology (Trimble Alliaume) and secular spirituality (Collett), productively integrating insights gleaned from these oft-siloed approaches.  Speculative fictions prompt emotionally charged experiences among readers and viewers, as they navigate presumed polarities of religion and popular culture, further complicated by overlapping oppositions such as faith and reason or self and other. In an era shaped by increasing levels of religious non-affiliation and social polarization, our work explores ideas and practices that empower practitioners to meet universal, yet deeply personal, human needs and yearnings by engaging with popular culture.

Her essay “(Theology of the) Body Language: Christopher West as Harlequin 2.0,” was published in Sex, Gender, and Christianity, edited by Priscilla Pope-Levison and John R. Levison (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2012), while another essay, “Disturbingly Catholic: Thinking the Inordinate Body” was published in Susan M. St. Ville and Ellen Armour, eds., Bodily Citations: Religion and Judith Butler (New York:Columbia University Press, 2006).

At Lewis, she has taught numerous courses including Women and Religion, Religion and Literature: Science Fiction, and  Marriage, Relationships and Sexuality in Christian Tradition.

Emeritus Faculty

Br. Raymond McManamanBrother Raymond McManaman
Professor Emeritus

1981 S.T.D., San Francisco Theological Seminary
1977 D.Min., Aquinas Institute of Theology
1972 M.A., Seattle University
1956 M.A., St. Mary’s College- Winona, MN
1951 B.A., St. Mary’s College- Winona, MN

Brother Raymond McManaman has taught at Lewis University for 38 years. He is a former Dean of Students and a former Chair of the Theology (then Religious Studies) Department. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the University, Project of the Joliet Diocese; a member of the Academic Formation Committee of the Diaconate Program of the Joliet Diocese; and a faculty member of the Diaconate Program.

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