Maureen Day, PhD

Associate Professor of Religion and Society



Name: Maureen Day, PhD
Specializations: Catholicism, religion and public life, and family.
Phone: 619.574.5811


“Pope Francis, in integrating the Ignatian and Franciscan traditions, serves as an inspiration to me as I strive to do the same. Saints Francis and Ignatius cultivated spiritualties that brought intellectual, affective, and lived reality together. I teach my classes in a way that will not only hone this in yourself but also help you bring this holistic outlook to the people in your ministerial vocation.”


Maureen Day is the Associate Professor of Religion and Society and a Research Fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture as well as the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California. With training in theology and the social sciences, her teaching and research areas include Catholicism, family, young adults, social ethics, pastoral practice, and religion in American civic life.


She is an award-winning author, with her writings on American Catholic life appearing in both Catholic and academic publications, including Catholicism at a Crossroads: The Present and Future of America’s Largest Church (NYU Press 2025), Cultural Catholics: Who They Are, How to Respond (Liturgical Press 2024), Catholic Activism Today: Individual Transformation and the Struggle for Social Justice (NYU Press 2020) and Young Adult American Catholics: Explaining Vocation in Their Own Words (Paulist Press 2018).

Some of her recent projects include two national studies (survey followed by in-depth interviews) of Catholic campus ministers for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, a study of American abortion attitudes, an exploration of Hispanic Catholic stewardship, an examination of Catholic sisters’ ministry efforts on the US-MX border, and distilling the experiences of race and ethnicity among Catholic youth and young adults as articulated throughout the USCCB’s Journeying Together process. She is currently working with the Catholic University of America to author two chapters—on burnout and support—among Catholic priests using data from the National Study of Catholic Priests.


To read more about her most current work, you may visit her website here.



  • Ph.D. Graduate Theological Union
  • MA Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley/GTU
  • BA California State University, Chico


Maureen Day delights in being in the classroom with her students at FST. She strongly emphasizes building an experience of community and support in her classroom, believing that mutual appreciation and care is the first step in authentic learning and formation. She promotes critical thinking, and her students learn to listen deeply to the perspectives of others. Her courses often incorporate both sacred and sociological texts that give a central place to those on the margins. In short, she invites her students to think and feel with the heart and mind of Christ. She incorporates her teaching and research in a variety of courses, including:


Religion and Social Transformation: How does one go about changing the world? What difference do religious ideas and values make in a society that often seems resistant to them? How does one move beyond an ideal (and/or idealistic) vision to create a new social reality that fosters human flourishing? These are the sorts of questions that animate this class. In responding, we will investigate the efficacy of religious ideas and constituencies concerning understanding and challenging institutional power, engendering civic discourse and engagement, contributing to social movement activism, and so forth.


Ministering to American Catholics: This course will examine the Catholic landscape to understand better the contemporary pastoral needs within the Catholic Church in the U.S. Questions this class will explore include: Why are young adults leaving the Church? How can I integrate different ethnic groups in a parish while still preserving the differences they bring? What are the best practices when addressing political issues within a parish? By incorporating insights from sociologists and theologians, students will better minister to a variety of populations and learn theory to apply to groups not covered within the class.


Intercultural Ministry: This seminar, required for M.Div. students, will cover major cultural issues in ministry and offer concepts and practices to facilitate more sensitive ministry for these contexts. The course consists of lectures on pastoral ministry, discussion, field placements, and group theological reflection exercises.


Spirituality of Ministry: This ministry seminar, required for M.Div. students, will include lectures on pastoral ministry, time in field placements, and group theological reflection exercises. Special attention will be given to the spirituality of ministry.


Fundamental Moral Theology: This course outlines the basic structure and method of Roman Catholic moral theology, emphasizing the Franciscan moral vision. Using common readings, discussions, and lectures, it introduces basic concepts of moral theology and moral methods from a Franciscan perspective.


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