Sister J. Sheila Galligan, IHM, S.T.D.

Sister John Sheila Galligan, IHM, S.T.D.
Professor of Theology
Faculty Center 34
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1985 Angelicum, Rome; S.T.L., S.T.D., Theology

1980 St. Charles Seminary, Overbrook, PA; M.A., Religious Studies

1972 Immaculata College; B.A., Theology

Teaching Philosophy: 

I believe that “theology plays a particularly important role in the search for a synthesis of knowledge as well as in the dialogue between faith and reason” (John Paul II, Ex Corde #19).  Thus the study of theology affords students opportunities to engage in faithful, critical and spiritual reflection upon the rich Catholic intellectual tradition as well as upon the way in which that tradition has concretely engaged in explicit and/or implicit conversation with the broader culture throughout history.  Through theology’s harmonious union of faith and reason, human knowledge and experience come to be informed by true wisdom.

My hope is that students will acquire the knowledge, skills, and habits of virtue that will make it possible for each of them to know their own dignity (created in God’s image); appreciate that same dignity in others, and therefore put their unique gifts at the service of all people.  Thus they will set themselves freely and confidently on the path to true happiness in this life and in the life to come.  And that, after all, is the ultimate purpose of a fully integrated education.


Sister J. Sheila Galligan, IHM, has been a professor in the Department of Theology at Immaculata University since 1990.  She teaches many of the elective/special topics courses. She has delved deeply into the lives and literary legacies of C.S. Lewis and John Paul II.   Sister Sheila is actively engaged in promoting respect for human life.

Other teaching experience:

  • Pontifical College Josephinum, Summer 1998:  Deadly Sins and Saving Virtues
  • St Charles Seminary, Summer 2002: Mary: Doctrine and Devotion
  • St Charles Seminary, Spring 2000-2012: Mary: Doctrine and Devotion (Diaconate Program)


  • Ad-hoc committee to oversee the use of the Catechism (NCCB), Archbishop Buechlein
  • Villanova Consortium for Mission Effectiveness
  • Pennsylvania Natural Family Planning Network (PNFPN) Board Member
  • Catholic Library World: 55 Book Reviews (1996-2006) 
  • Generation Life
  • Immaculata University “Macs Respect Life” Club Moderator
Courses Taught: 

THE 109   Introduction to Theology

THE 112   St. Francis

THE 212   Insights and Images: Mary Rediscovered

THE 225   John Paul II: A Remarkable Life

THE 230   Embodying Forgiveness

THE 321   Old Testament Themes

THE 335   Christian Faith in Action (accelerated) 

Research Interests: 

Sister Sheila is currently exploring questions and issues linked with the topic of forgiveness.  She was able to attend the first World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in Rome (April 2-6, 2008).  Her primary interest is focused on the theological (biblical/spiritual) aspects of forgiveness.  She is also interested in delving more deeply into the contemporary behavioral research on the means, processes and effects of forgiveness.  The goal of her research is to understand the interpersonal, intra-personal and group processes that lead to effective Christian forgiveness.


American Theological Inquiry (online journal), Robert Coles; Seeing the Secular in Light of the Sacred, July 2009.

Review for Religious

  • “Mary: A Mosaic of Joy,” January-February 1984
  • “A Word about Praising,” January-February l988
  • “Prayer: All My Comfort,” November-December 1994
  • “Bride of Christ: Ecclesial Identity,” September-October 2000

 Spirituality Today


  • “And the Mother of Jesus was There,” December 1993.
  • “In the Footsteps of the Poor and Humble Christ,” August 1996.
  • “A Word of Encouragement,” Jan-Feb 2008.
  • “Colossians: Prayer,” April 2008.

The Living Light                

  • “The Courage to Care,” Summer 1995.

The Catholic Answer

  • “Role Clarity and Women Religious,” September-October 2001.
  • “When Truth Stumbles in the Public Square,” January-February 2002.
  • “Religious Life: Reclaiming Role Clarity,” September-October 2001.
  • “Please Pass the Salt,” January-February 2003.


March 31, 2011, Villanova University: John Paul II Legacy Lecture, “Mercy without Measure: The Witness of JP II.”

September 23, 2011, “Offer Forgiveness: Receive Peace,” Arise Conference, Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN.

October 13, 2011, Keynote: “God’s Most Wanted: Young Adult Pro-Lifers,” St. Charles Seminary.

October 31, 2011, “The Wow and Woe of Psalms,” Sts. Philip and James Faculty Retreat.

December 1, 2011, “Waiting with Mary in Advent,” Walking with Purpose, St. Isaac.

February 25, 2012, “Bearers of the Fire,” Sts. Simon and Jude, West Chester, PA.

March 7, 2012, “Spiritual Cardiology: Psalm 51,” St. Elizabeth, Exton, PA.

March 10, 2012, “Mary: Mother of the Eucharist,” Archdiocesan Catechetical Conference.

March 31, 2012, “Forgiveness: The Best Revenge,” St. Joseph, Downingtown, PA.

April 14, 2012, “Forgiveness: Bridge to Wholeness,” Villa Maria Spirituality Center, Immaculata, PA.

April 17, 2012, “Mercy without Measure,” Our Lady of Good Counsel, Southampton, PA.

April 24, 2012, “Premeditated Mercy,” Presbyterians USA Conference, Media, PA.     

May 5, 2012, “At the School of Mary: Woman of the Eucharist,” Corpus Christi, Lansdale, PA.

May 9, 2012, “C.S. Lewis and Forgiveness,” New York C.S. Lewis Society, New York City, NY.

January 7, 2014, "St. Francis: Mentor and Model," St. Joseph's Church, Downingtown, PA.

April 28, 2014, "St. John Paul II: The Measure of Mercy," Theology on Tap Northeast, Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

April 30, 2014, "Mary: A Mosaic of Joy," St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Hockessin, DE.

Conferences attended:

April 2 – 6, 2008, World Apostolic Congress on Mercy, Rome, Italy.

May 17 – 20    2011, Mariological Society of America Conference, Scottsdale, AZ.

June 9 – 11, 2011, University Faculty for Life Conference, Notre Dame, IN.

Jan 30, 2011, Philip Jenkins, Ph.D., “The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity,”

GST Lecture Series, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook, PA. 

June 1 – 3, 2012, University Faculty for Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

Professional Memberships: 

University Faculty for Life

Fellowship of Catholic Scholars  

Mariological Society of America (Dayton University, Ohio)

Generation Life:  Advisor  


“Slow-Paced We Come: Conversion in the Writings of  C.S. Lewis”

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