Religion and Theology
Affiliate: Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Areas of expertise: early franciscan thought and practice; spirituality and ecology; medieval and early modern mystical theologies; christology and theologies of the paschal mystery; the divine ideas; negative theology; mother teresa; bonaventure; issues around suffering; embodiment and death
Location: ACU Melbourne Campus
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8048-9242
Rachel's research explores how Western mystical texts (especially premodern texts) can help modern people think about the relationship between spirituality and suffering. Her first monograph, Bonaventure, the Body and the Aesthetics of Salvation (2020), used Bonaventure's theological aesthetics and anthropology to address pressing anxieties around experiences of bodily diminishment, while her current book project seeks to contextualize Mother Teresa's relationship with suffering against the backdrop of Western mysticism. During the Covid pandemic, Rachel started exploring how landscapes (e.g. deserts, gardens, forests, mountains, seas) function in premodern itineraries of the soul, and her next project will use this literature to develop contemplative practices aimed at healing the self's relationship with threatened ecosystems, especially here in Australia. She is an INFTA-certified forest therapy guide, and leads walks in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges, partnering with Forest Therapy Victoria and MGA Counselling Services.
Rachel has been a visiting lecturer at Newman University in the United Kingdom and Walla Walla University in the United States. She has worked as a pastor and chaplain/spiritual care practitioner in the United States, and as a researcher and fundraiser for humanitarian organizations in India, Serbia, and Zimbabwe. Born in Canada, she holds degrees from Walla Walla University (BA, Theology), Heythrop College (MA, Christian Spirituality, University of London), and Durham University (PhD, Theology).
- 2020 Bonaventure, the Body, and the Aesthetics of Salvation. (Cambridge University Press)
- 2019 Suffering and the Christian Life, co-edited with Karen Kilby (T&T Clark)
- (2019) "Poverty and Interiority Mother Teresa," Theological Studies 80.4, 967-985.
- (2023) "Formed by Jesus' Thirst: Mother Teresa' Reception and Interpretation of John 19:28." Theological Interpretation of Scripture for Spiritual Formation. John Frederick and Ryan A. Brandt (eds), (Brill).
- (2019) "Stop Kissing Me: Reading Mother Teresa with Bonaventure's Help." Suffering and the Christian Life. Karen Kilby and Rachel Davies (eds), (T&T Clark).