Professor of Theological Studies Cecilia González-Andrieu was recently recognized with the Ann O’Hara Graff Memorial Award for her work, which beautifully weaves together faith, scholarship, and advocacy for women and people on the peripheries. The award honors the late Ann O’Hara Graff, a theologian, educator, and writer, and is presented annually by the Catholic Theological Society of America.
González-Andrieu has taught in LMU’s Theological Studies Department for 16 years. She is a leading scholar of theological aesthetics, which she proposes as a way to bring communities together, respect and celebrate otherness, and elevate the theological insights of the marginalized. She earned her doctorate in art and religion and systematic theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and her master’s in theology and bachelor’s degree in film & television and Spanish from LMU.
It was at LMU where González-Andrieu found her voice as a Latina Catholic. “At LMU, I was being called to think critically about the world, to discover the gifts God had placed in me, and to collaborate with professors, mentors, campus ministers, and many new friends in building a much more beautiful world,” said González-Andrieu. “To return to LMU as a professor means that every day I can engage with the possibility that God is doing something new in the life of a student and to be there as a companion to them in that process.”
As an educator and mentor, González-Andrieu encourages resilience in her students, fosters a sense of belonging in her classroom, and creates pathways for all students to flourish, especially undocumented ones. She co-founded the Social Justice Scholars program and was integral in establishing the Dream Center at LMU.
Her dedication to teaching and advocacy extends beyond the Bluff as a contributing writer for America Magazine and frequent speaker on topics related to political theology, Latinx theologies, women’s issues, and theological aesthetics. In 2019, González-Andrieu gave a keynote, “#MineToo: Why Robust Women’s Voices are Indispensable to the Church,” at the Women of the Church Conference. After her talk, a young woman named Casey Stanton stood up with tears in her eyes and shared with González-Andrieu and the audience that, for the first time, she felt truly seen and truly valued for who she is and what she wants to contribute to the Church.
Fast forward a few years, and Stanton is co-directing, with LMU alumna Ellie Hidalgo, an international project called Discerning Deacons which is empowering Catholic women all over the world to take their place as leaders in their Catholic communities and also calling on the Church to restore the diaconate of women. The women both recently met with Pope Francis.
“God is doing something very new in history right now, and women are being called to be the protagonists,” said González-Andrieu, an advisor to Discerning Deacons.
González-Andrieu is the author of “Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty,” co-editor of “Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis,” and a contributor to “Go Into the Streets: The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis.” She was recently elected vice president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the US, is a member of the board of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America, and is a supporter of the work of Catholic Women Preach.