University of Calgary

Carolyn Muessig

  • Professor
  • Chair of Christian Thought

Office Hours



My first degree was an A.A. in Humanities, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Johnstown, New York (1980). I did a BA in History, SUNY Buffalo (1984), followed by an MA, Centre for Medieval Studies (1986), University of Toronto, and then a MSL, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto (1991), and a PhD, Institut d’études médiévales, Université de Montréal (1994). For 25 years I taught in the Department of Religion and Theology, University of Bristol, UK where I was Head of Department from 2007-2010 and then again from 2016-2019. I served as Director of the University of Bristol's Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (2011-2014) and as co-director of the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bristol (2013-2018). For seventeen years I was the co-editor [with Veronica O'Mara] of the journal Medieval Sermon Studies. Since 2001 I have been series co-editor [with George Ferzoco] of Medieval Religion and Culture, Routledge ( From 2011-2017 I was the Medieval and Reformation (700-1600) Section Editor for the Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, De Gruyter, Berlin, Germany ( In 2018 I was co-curator of the first public exhibition to be held in Downside Abbey church, Stratton-on-the-Fosse, UK: Voices from the Cloister: Medieval Treasures at Downside Abbey ( Since July 2020 I hold the Chair of Christian Thought, Classics and Religion, University of Calgary.



I have written on the history of stigmata, medieval preaching, Jacques de Vitry, Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena and female educators in the Middle Ages. I am presently working on a project that investigates female preachers and their sermons in late medieval and early modern Europe.


Research Interests:

Medieval religious culture

Female spirituality 

Preaching and sermons 

Devotion and liturgy

Miracles (e.g., stigmata)

Monastic and mendicant education 

Heresy and reform 

Sanctity (e.g., Catherine of Siena, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi)


Graduate Supervision

I have supervised over four dozen PhD and MA students working in the following areas: Beguine spirituality, early Franciscans, Dominicans, Catherine of Siena, Bernard of Clairvaux, Theresa of Avila, gender and sin, gender and identity, hagiography, Julian of Norwich, Marian iconography, religious poetry, preaching history, prayer and liturgy. Two of my students won the University of Bristol Outstanding Dissertation Prize in the Faculty of Arts: Eliana Corbari, PhD, “Dominican Preachers and popular devotion in late medieval Italy”(Awarded 2009). Jennie Sanderson, Mlitt/PhD, “Sin and gender in late medieval theological sources” (Awarded 2010). If you are a perspective postgraduate student wishing to do a degree in the Department of Classics and Religion, University of Calgary, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss possible research topics (


Undergraduate teaching:

I am currently teaching courses that consider conflicted depictions of medieval saints (i.e. Thomas Becket, Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena and Joan of Arc) in the Middle Ages as well as the present day (Rels 484-01; Rels601-01; Rels 701-01). See the “Currently Teaching” section for more information.


Selected Publications:


The Stigmata in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Oxford University Press, 2020).


A Companion to Catherine of Siena. Brill’s Companion to the Christian Tradition 32. (Leiden: Brill, 2012).  Co-edited with George Ferzoco and Beverly Mayne Kienzle.


Expositiones euangeliorum Sanctae Hildegardis. In Hildegardis Bingensis Opera Minora. Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina — Continuatio Mediaevalis, 226 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007). [Critical edition of Hildegard of Bingen’s Latinsermons, co-edited with Beverly Mayne Kienzle.]


Envisaging Heaven in the Middle Ages, edited by Carolyn Muessig (London: Routledge, 2007). Co-edited with Ad Putter.


Medieval Monastic Education (London/New York: Leicester University Press, 2001). Co-edited with George Ferzoco.


The Faces of Women in the Sermons of Jacques de Vitry: Selected Sermons in Translation with Text and Commentary (Toronto: Peregrina Press, 1999).


Medieval Monastic Preaching, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 90  (Leiden: Brill, 1998). Ed. Carolyn Muessig.



“Préface.” In Lecture du Livre de St Matthieu par St Thomas d'Aquin. Translated from Latin into French by Jacques Ménard, Dominique Pillet, Marie-Hélène Deloffre (La Caverne du Pèlerin, 2020), pp. 8–18.


“The New World of Dominican Observant Preaching: The Sermons of Tommasina

            Fieschi (c. 1448–1534).” In Timothy Johnson, ed. Preaching of New Worlds: Sermons as Mirrors of Realms Near and Far (Routledge, London, 2018), pp. 120–134.


“‘Can’t take my eyes off of you’: mutual gazing between the divine and humanity in late medieval preaching.” In Herbert Kessler and Richard Newhauser, eds. Science, Ethics, and the Transformations of Art. (Toronto: PIMS 2018), pp. 17–33.


“Medieval reportationes: Hearing and listening to sermons.” In Gabriel Aubert, Amy Heneveld, and Cinthia Véronique Meli, eds, L’éloquence de la chaire entre écriture et oralité (XIIIe–XVIIIe siècles). Actes du colloque international de Genève, 11–12 septembre 2014, Colloques, congrès et conférences sur le classicisme, 20 (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2018), pp. 77–90.


“Medieval Preaching.” In A Handbook for Catholic Preaching, ed. E. Foley (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2016), pp. 62–72.


“Pedagogical Ideals of Late Medieval Dominican and Franciscan Observant Nuns.” In Peter Gemeinhardt and Tobias Georges, eds. Theologie und im Mittelalter. Archa Verbi: Yearbook for the Study of Medieval Theology 13 (Munster: Aschendorff, 2015), pp. 129–149.


“Bernardino da Siena and Observant Preaching as a Vehicle for Religious Transformation.” In James Mixson and Bert Roest, eds. Observant Reform in the Later Middle Ages and Beyond, Brill’s Companions to the Christian Tradition, 59 (Leiden: Brill, 2015), pp. 185–203.


“Roberto Caracciolo’s Sermon on the Miracle of the Stigmatization of Francis of Assisi.” Anuario de Estudios Medievales 42 (2012) 77–93.


“Preaching the Beatitudes in the Late Middle Ages: Some Mendicant Examples.”

            Studies in Christian Ethics 22.2 (2009) 133–147.


“Sermon, Preacher and Society in the Middle Ages.” Journal of Medieval History 28 (2002) 73–91.


“Les Sermons de Jacques de Vitry sur les cathares.” In La prédication en Pays d’Oc (xiie–début xve siècle). Cahiers de Fanjeaux 32 (1997) 69–83.

Upcoming Events





Hosted by the Calgary Institute for the Humanities, University of Calgary

9, 10 & 12 NOVEMBER 2020


Catherine of Siena (1347–1380) and Teresa of Avila (1515–1582), in addition to their fame as mystics, have long been celebrated as great theologians. This symposium will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1970 declaration of these two as Doctors of the Church.

As the first-ever women to hold this title, we will explore how their theological writings have been regarded, how contemporary religious thought and practice are shaped by them, and how future scholarship may choose to examine their legacy.


Monday 9 November 2020

9–11 a.m. Mountain Standard Time (GMT -7)



The development of the theological reputation of Catherine and Teresa


Chair: Dr Robert Kralj (University of Salamanca)


George Ferzoco (University of Bristol and University of Calgary)

The Significance of Doctorization


Prof. Maiju Lehmijoki-Gardner (Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, USA)

Catherine of Siena and Her Doctorization


Prof. Peter Tyler (St Mary’s University, London, UK)

Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Soul


Tuesday 10 November 2020

9–11 a.m. Mountain Standard Time (GMT -7)



Devotional perspectives regarding the lives and teachings of Catherine and Teresa, as seen by Dominican and Carmelite professors


Chair: Prof. Carolyn Muessig (University of Calgary)


In dialogue:


Prof. Bernard Hodel OP, Université de Fribourg (Switzerland)


Prof. Iain Scott Matthew OCD, Pontificia Facoltà Teologica Teresianum (Rome)





Future studies on Catherine and Teresa


Chair: Prof. Carolyn Muessig (University of Calgary)


Harri Hudspith, PhD candidate (University of Bristol)

Getting into Her ‘Habit’ / Practice-to-Practice: An Emulative Exploration of Teresian Language


Dr Clara Stella (Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oslo)

The Necessity of Reforming the Church: Reconstructing the Spiritual Legacy of Catherine of Siena in Sixteenth-Century Italy


Click here to register.


Sponsored by the Department of Classics and Religion, University of Calgary


Organized by Dr Robert Kralj (University of Salamanca) &

Professor Carolyn Muessig, Chair of Christian Thought, Department of Classics and Religion, (University of Calgary).


To download poster go to:

and look under conference presentations.

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