Kelly Johnson

Contact Information

Kelly Johnson

Associate Professor

  • Full-Time Faculty


After earning a B.A. in theology and an M.A. in liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame (1986, 1987), Kelly Johnson spent several years working with the Catholic Worker in Connecticut and the Peace People in Belfast, as well as teaching in Poland and Tennessee. While writing for her Ph.D. and teaching at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, she helped to start a Catholic Worker house of hospitality. Although teaching at UD now occupies the bulk of her time, Dr. Johnson continues to maintain ties to the Catholic Worker and to the Ekklesia Project, an ecumenical association of scholars, pastors, and lay people encouraging Christians to remember their vocation as a historical community whose primary allegiance is to the Body of Christ. Dr. Johnson is also active in the New Wineskins group of Catholic moral theologians.

Faculty Perspective

Given my history of combining activism and scholarship, I was attracted to UD by this community's deep commitment to practical engagement informed and fed by Catholic faith. My writing these days centers on questions of ecclesiology and economic ethics. In what ways, for example, does the Church function as an economic entity? How has it done so in the past? What are its economic practices and how do those inform the way Catholics think about economics? I've pursued these questions into studies of voluntary begging, offertory collections, and intercessory prayer, and I hope to continue mining Christian history and current practice for a deeper theological understanding of property and exchange.


  • Ph.D. Duke University, 2001

Research Interests

  • Economic ethics
  • History of voluntary poverty and Franciscanism
  • Liturgy and sacramental theology
  • Gender and virtue