Christie de la Gandara

Dr. Christie de la Gándara is a visiting associate professor of practical theology and religious education and a Louisville Institute postdoctoral fellow.

Christie received her B.A. in English from the University of Florida. She then joined Teach for America.  Passionate about closing the achievement gap, she completed her first Master of Arts in Sociology & Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College.  While completing her Master’s degree, Christie worked as a literacy consultant for the NYC Department of Education. 

After nearly ten years in curriculum development and instruction design at several notable public high schools, Christie then pursued a Master’s in Theology at Boston College. Specializing in Hispanic Ministry, she wrote her thesis on the death-dealing effects of Marianismo. While completing her doctoral studies in Education & Theology, Dr. de la Gándara worked as a resident minister. Her dissertation, now being edited for publication, is a study of Cuban-American women’s spiritual ways of knowing and the praxis by which these women transmit their faith in the context of the home –the hub of a holistic and organic spirituality that nurtures and sustains the Latinx community. 

Christie’s current research continues to focus on the rich religious experiences of Latina Catholics and how they practice their faith creatively in the every day, usually at the margins of institutional expressions of Catholic life.  Her latest ethnographic study on the women devotees of the controversial Santa Muerte looks at public spaces where Latinas form spontaneous communities to pay homage to their Skinny Lady.  Moreover, Christie is currently coordinating a colloquium that brings together a continental network of Latina community organizers and Catholic theologians alongside members of the United Nations, the Vatican, and other global humanitarian organizations to discuss how the Catholic Church is being called to respond to the current femicide crisis in Latin America.