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Department of Theology and Religion

Current Postgraduate Students

Mrs Patricia Kelly

Contact Mrs Patricia Kelly


My research focuses on Jozef Cardijn (1882-1965), the founder of the Young Christian Workers, a movement for youth evangelisation , and on Marie-Dominique Chenu (1895-1990), the Dominican theologian, who made a significant contribution to the early YCW.  I ask whether Cardijn and Chenu - as theory and praxis - developed a ressourcement of a Catholic theology of work, and, as such, whether they offer solid foundations for taking such a theology further.  As a corollary of this, I also enquire whether a theology of work would offer a viable alternative to a 'theology of laity'.  I suggest that looking for a 'theology of laity' is the wrong approach to the ecclesiological question of functions within the Church, whereas a theology of work might make a significant contribution to what Congar referred to as a 'total ecclesiology', ignoring the lay-clerical dichotomy, and instead focusing on the call of all the baptized to be apostles. 

Chenu himself railed against the fact that there has long been a theology of war, business and history, but not of work.  Yet work is ever-more present in human life, be it work itself, the search for work, training and formation, adequate remuneration, decent and safe work, etc.  Work is the reality in which most peoples' lives are lived out, and a theology of work is necessary for the Church to offer an adequate response to these realities.  

Broader Research Interests

  • Ressourcement theology
  • Marie-Dominique Chenu
  • Jozef Cardijn
  • Theology of work
  • Alain of Lille
  • Early monasticism

Other information

I was the part-time student representative in the Department from 2009-11, and am happy to discuss by email the benefits and pitfalls of balancing part-time study and work with potential postgraduates. 

With Dr Sonya Sharma, I co-ordinate Café des Femmes, a forum for female postgraduates and staff to discuss and develop academic careers and research interests.

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