Ella Johnson

Associate Professor

Dr. Johnson teaches undergraduate courses in Christian systematic theology and some upper level courses in the areas of her speciality such as ecclesiology, sacraments, and spirituality.

She also teaches graduate students in the MPTh program who are preparing for permanent diaconate or lay ecclesial ministry.

Download CV (pdf)

Education and Training

  • PhD, University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, Systematic Theology
  • STL, Regis College, University of Toronto, Theology
  • MA, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, Ohio, Theology
  • BS, University of Illinois, Human Development and Family Studies

I am constantly thinking about how to employ new teaching tactics in the classroom to make learning exciting. I also love to connect course material to everyday life–especially social justice and anti-racism concerns.

Dr. Johnson, on what makes her an interesting teacher


Dr. Johnson's research focuses on recovering the theological insights of medieval women mystics for constructive theology today.

She recently published a book on the eucharistic theology and theological anthropology of Gertrude the Great of Helfta.


This is my Body: Eucharistic Theology and Anthropology in the Writings of Gertrude the Great of Helfta. Cistercian Studies Series 280. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2020.

"Critical Reflection Ensuing from Traumatic Events and Ideology Critique," Trauma-Informed Pedagogies in the Religious Studies Classroom. Spotlight on Teaching series. Ed. Jessica Tinklenberg. Religious Studies News (March 2021): 61-67.

"Bodily Language in the Spiritual Exercises of Gertrud the Great of Helfta," Magistra 14, no. 1 (2008): 79-107.

"Metaphors for Metamorphosis: Mary Daly meets Gertrud the Great of Helfta," Magistra 15, no. 1 (2009): 3-31.

"Hindu and Christian Religious Women Recovered--Agency and Power as Resistance?" Journal of Hindu Studies 3, no. 3 (2010): 273-278.

"Reproducing Motherhood: Images of Mary and Maternity in the Writings of Gertrud the Great of Helfta" Magistra 18, no. 1 (2012): 3-23.

"To Taste (Sapere) Wisdom (Sapientia): Eucharistic Devotion in the Writings of Gertrude of Helfta," Viator 44, no. 2 (2013): 175-199.

"Liturgical Opportunities for ‘Deep Crying unto Deep': The Rhetorical Function of Now/Then Dualities in Gertrud of Helfta," Medieval Mystical Theology 24, no. 1 (2015): 45-58.

"Teaching (Re-)Humanization: Using Film in Anti-Racist Education" ARTS: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies 26.2 (2015): 31.

"Establishing Community in Hybrid Format Courses," Teaching Tactic in Teaching Theology and Religion 8.3 (2015): 233.

"Eucharistic Theology and Anthropology in Gertrude of Helfta and William of Saint-Thierry: On the Sense of Taste," Magistra 27, no. 1 (2021): 79-93.

Book Chapters:
"‘In mei memoriam facietis': Remembering Ritual and Refiguring ‘Woman' in Gertrud the Great of Helfta's Spiritualia Exercitia." pp. 165-186. In Inventing Identities: Re-examining the Use of Memory, Imitation, and Imagination in the Texts of Medieval Religious Women. Edited by Bradley Herzog and Margaret Cotter-Lynch. Palgrave Macmillan: Hampshire, 2012.

"The Nightingale of Christ's Redemption Song: Mechthild of Hackeborn's Musical Apostolate." pp. 181-196. In Music, Justice and Theology. Edited by Michael O'Connor et al. Lanham: Maryland: Lexington Books, 2017.

"Mediating between Humanity and Divinity: Priestly Identity, Eucharistic Theology, and Aemulatio in the Writings of Gertrude the Great of Helfta." pp. 119-135. Gestures of Grace: Essays in Honour of Robert Sweetman. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2023.

More About Dr. Johnson

Courses Taught

THEO 100 Just Theology
THEO 120 Introduction to Chrisitian Faith
THEO 306/WGS 310 Medieval Women Mystics
THEO 322 Church Meaning and Mission
THEO 325 Models of God
THEO 499 Senior Seminar
NSS 101 New Student Seminar

MPTH 523A Liturgy and Spiritual Theology
MPTH 527A Sacraments I (Baptism/Confirmation)
MPTH 527B Sacraments I (Eucharist)
MPTH 549 Ecclesiology and Vatican II


General Education, Director
Ambrosians Working for Social Justice, Board Member


Ella Johnson

Christ the King Chapel, Lower Level 111
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

Master of Pastoral Theology

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.