Anselma Dolcich-Ashley

Assistant Professor of the Practice


I joined the Notre Dame family as a grad student in 2003 after a career in campus ministry in Chicago and at Saint Mary's College, and several years as a full-time mom. In 2011 I received my Ph.D. in theology with a dissertation on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. After teaching as a post-doc and adjunct faculty member in the Theology Department here, I'm now excited to be working with Glynn honors students.

Like others at ND, I have multiple intellectual interests. I double-majored in bio and theo at Georgetown, taught high school biology for a while, and then moved over to campus ministry and academic theology. The two fields happily met again when I was teaching an undergraduate course on the theology of nature and the environment, and in current research into early Christian interpretations of the natural world.

People often ask about my first name. It's a feminine version of "Anselm," the great 11th-century bishop and theologian who coined the nugget definition of theology ('faith seeking understanding; reason illuminated by faith'). My parents are oblates (lay affiliates) of a Benedictine abbey, and decided to name their children after early Benedictine saints. But they found the female saints’ names rather hard going -- Scholastica, Ermenilda, Hildegarde, and so forth. A friend of theirs had taken the name "Anselma" when she became a cloistered nun, and as they liked the name, and knew that St Anselm was himself a Benedictine, it worked.

When I'm not on campus, I love to read, spend time with my family, go trail running with my dog, and wrestle my gardens into shape. In recent years I've fulfilled a lifelong love of horses by getting and training my own horse (an Arabian mare named Ellie).

A native of Washington, DC, I attended the same parish and parochial school (St Anthony's, in northeast DC) as did ND's President Emeritus Father Monk Malloy.