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Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD

Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology | Villanova University


Sister Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD, works to find a new unity and synthesis in science and religion.




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Areas of Expertise (7)

Theology Neuroscience Artificial Intelligence and Becoming Culture and Religion Catholicity Evolution and Culture Integration of Science and Religion


Science and religion are often thought of as mutually exclusive; however, with areas of expertise grounded in both spheres, Sr. Delio can explain how it is possible to find a new unity and synthesis in science and religion. She can address compelling topics like how technology has changed human consciousness; Spirit as a type of energy; the import of artificial intelligence on life as we know it; and the potential for achieving wholeness of being. Her work seeks to move beyond the dialogue of science and religion toward a mutually-enriched integration of these disciplines for wholeness of being.

Education (5)

Fordham University: PhD

Rutgers University: PhD

Fordham University: MA

Seton Hall University: MS

DeSales University: BS

Select Accomplishments (5)

2017 Madeleva Lecturer at St. Mary's College - Notre Dame (professional)


The invited speaker is recognized as a prominent woman theologian in the United States.

Honorary Degree, Doctor of Science, St. Francis University (professional)


Honorary Degree, St. Francis University.

Catholic Press Book Award 2014 (professional)

Conferred for The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution and the Power of Love. 3rd place: Faith and Science.

Silver Nautilus Book Award, 2014 (professional)

Conferred for The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution and the Power of Love.

Catholic Press Book Award 2012 (professional)

Conferred for The Emergent Christ: exploring the meaning of Catholic in an Evolutionary Universe. 3rd place: Faith and Science.

Affiliations (6)

  • American Academy of Religion (AAR)
  • American Teilhard Association
  • Catholic Theological Society of America
  • The Maryknoll Institute of Theology, Lecturer
  • Rohr Living School of Theology, Guest Speaker
  • Orbis Book Series: "Catholicity in an Evolving Universe," General Editor

Select Media Appearances (5)

Can the church keep up with artificial intelligence?

America Magazine  online


Some observers are concerned Catholic theology hasn’t caught up with modern advancements to participate productively in the AI debate. “Pope Francis is absolutely right in raising the bar of our attention to technology,” said Sister Ilia Delio, a Catholic nun and head of the science-and-theology focused Omega Center. But first, she said, the church has to adapt its theology “to meet the needs of a world in evolution.”
Delio, who teaches theology at Villanova University outside Philadelphia, said that in order to answer such questions, “we would need to understand who God is in a complex world.”

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How Your Smartphone May Be Making You Unhappy

U.S. News & World Report  online


Have you ever pulled out your smartphone to check an incoming text during a family dinner? Scrolled through your emails late at night while lying in bed next to your spouse? Interrupted a coffee date to see who's responded to your latest tweet or Instagram post?

This imbalance can have profound consequences for young people, says Sister Ilia Delio, who serves as the Josephine C. Connelly endowed chair in theology at Villanova University. Over-reliance on a smartphone can lead to "distraction, lack of attention, an increase in narcissism and ... an increase in loneliness," she says.

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AI and Humanity

Voice of America -- American Cafe  radio


Personal assistants and artificial intelligence are center stage at this year’s consumer electronics show in Las Vegas … Sister Ilia Delio is a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University in Philadelphia. She said that consumers need to be aware that too much reliance on our devices and artificial intelligence could change the way we react to other humans.

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Words of faith: Greatest superpower abides in us all

Desert Sun  online


More than that, the Christian gospel message is loud and clear, “Love is the answer.” Love is a more powerful tool than superpowers. I am reminded of a quote from Franciscan Sister Ilia Delio, “The nature of love is unity, evolution is the process toward greater unity; sin is the resistance to unity.”

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A cosmic feast: eight hours with Ilia Delio

National Catholic Reporter  online


Ten minutes into Franciscan Sr. Ilia Delio's talk at a contemporary spirituality retreat, I knew I was in trouble. How was I supposed to capture almost eight hours of brilliant insights in an 800-word blog?

The answer: I couldn't. So I just sat back and enjoyed a roller coaster ride through billions of years of cosmic evolution, with plunges into the history of science and philosophy and steep climbs into theology and mysticism.

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Select Academic Articles (5)

Is Natural Law “Unnatural?” Exploring God and Nature Through Teilhard’s Organic Theology Journal of Theology and Science


Teilhard de Chardin turns revelation and nature into a complementarity of wholeness, expanding religion so that it better reflects God’s revelation. Truth comes in two books: the book of nature and the book of scripture. In the tradition of Thomas Aquinas, the truths of natural reason are discovered by using the natural light of reason, that is, the capacity for intelligent thought that all human beings have by virtue of being human. Similarly, the truths beyond reason are outside the aptitude of the natural light of reason to discover or verify. They are available only through faith. What Teilhard teaches us is that the Book of Nature can no longer be separated from the Book of Scripture without denying God. The two together constitute an organic theology.

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From Aquinas to Teilhard: Divine Action and the Metaphysics of Love. The Heythrop Journal

Ilia Delio

Spring 2017

Transhumanism or Ultrahumanism? Teilhard de Chardin on Technology, Religion and Evolution Theology and Science 10.2

Ilia Delio

2012: 153 – 66

Eco-Christology: Living in Creation as the Body of Christ Human Development 33.1

Ilia Delio

Spring 2012: 3 – 9.

Theology, Metaphysics, and the Centrality of Christ Theological Studies


The article explores the relationship between theology and metaphysics in the light of Bonaventure's theology. His trinitarian theology grounded in self-communicative love and ontology of personhood renders new insight into his metaphysics of Christ the center. The emergence of creation ex amore through the centrality of the divine Word enables Bonaventure to recast metaphysics in terms of love. The import of his metaphysics of love grounded in the centrality of Christ is discussed in view of contemporary Christian life.

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