What is this?

Hello, friends.  My name is Susan Windley-Daoust, and I have written a book currently called The Theology of the Body, Extended: the spiritual signs of childbirth, impairment, and dying.  I am a Catholic theologian who teaches theology at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, and this book is the result of many things: most proximately a sabbatical year funded by my university and the Louisville Institute, which awards grants to people doing research for both the Church and academy.  Less proximately, this has been a work years in the making, through doctoral work in theological anthropology and phenomenology, practice in spiritual direction, being a wife and mother of five, being involved in the work of hospitality through the Catholic worker, listening to students who come from very different place than I do, and overcoming my own hesitations to focus on this particular work of Bl. John Paul II.

The book takes seriously John Paul II's assertion that the fundamental reality of human existence is that it is a co-existence, and that  "the body, in fact, and only the body, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it" (TOB 19:4).  Taking the insights of the Theology of the Body literature,  I am applying them to three other "primal signs": giving birth, living with impairment, and dying.  These lived experiences, despite cultural challenges, point to the human call toward union with God.  They are not just events to soldier through, but a real place where God speaks to us through the experience.

The joy in learning new things is only exceeded by the joy in sharing what one has learned.  And then the joy is multiplied by people with different insights offering alternate challenges to the material.  I am creating this website in that spirit: sharing some of what I have learned to others through book clips, and keeping many people who are interested in what is happening on the publication front.  Right now, the book is being considered by a publisher.  You could help this book see publication by expressing your willingness to be contacted via email when the book is available for purchase.  I promise not to spam you or sell your addresses.  Regardless of your willingness to be on an email list, I am happy you are here.

Some may be here because of articles I wrote on childbirth in America and Sojourners.  You are welcome.  Some are old hands at The Theology of the Body literature.  You are welcome.  Some are invested in the Theology of Disability discussions within the academy.  You are welcome.  Some have heard me speak on dying as sign--you are welcome too.  Even (especially?) the readers from my humor blog, The Ironic Catholic, are welcome!  I hope you enjoy the site and leave a comment or two.  Let's have a conversation!  I love talking about this.  But I try to be a good listener too.

God's peace and all good to you,
Susan Windley-Daoust


  1. I found you by chance... if there is such a thing. I look forward to perusing your site for new knowledge, inspiration and deeper understanding. It is a ponderous thing, how God prunes us so lovingly, in our 'brokenness'.

  2. Indeed it is, Cat. Thanks for visiting!