The Guild for Spiritual Guidance


Ilia Delio, OSF is a Franciscan Sister of Washington, DC and American theologian specializing in the area of science and religion, with interests in evolution, physics and neuroscience and the import of these for theology. She was born in Newark, New Jersey and is the youngest of four children.


Ilia graduated with a B.S. in Biology from DeSales University and pursued a masters degree in Biology at Seton Hall University, followed by a doctorate in Pharmacology from Rutgers University–New Jersey Medical School. Her area of specialization was neurotoxicology, with an emphasis on neuromuscular disease and she wrote her dissertation on axonal dysfunction in an experimental model of Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) disease. She relinquished a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Alzheimer’s research to enter a Carmelite monastery. She later left the monastery and joined a Franciscan community. After entering the Franciscans, she returned to research and did a postdoctoral fellowship at Rutgers University, Neurotoxicology Laboratories where she became a Research Fellow. Her work at Rutgers included experimental drug treatment for diabetic neuropathy and assessment of sensory nerve damage due to methyl mercury intoxication.

While in formation with her Franciscan community, she was asked to study theology and was sent to Fordham University. She obtained a masters degree in Theology and a doctorate in historical theology, studying under Professor Ewert Cousins.

Following graduation from Fordham she taught in Science and Religion at Trinity College, Hartford, CT. For the next twelve years, she was Professor and Chair of Spirituality Studies at Washington Theological Union, where she taught courses in the History of Christianity, Franciscan theology, and Science and Religion. She then became a Senior Research Fellow at Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University concentrating in Science and Religion. When Woodstock closed in June, 2013, she was hired by Georgetown University as Director of Catholic Studies and Visiting Professor.

Ilia is an expert in Teilharian studies and is the author of fifteen books including Care for Creation (coauthored with Keith Warner and Pamela Woods) which won two Catholic Press Book Awards in 2009, first place for social concerns and second place in spirituality. Her book, The Emergent Christ, won a third place Catholic Press Book Award in 2011 for the area of Science and Religion. Her new books include The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution and the Power of Love (Orbis, 2013), and From Teilhard to Omega: Cocreating an Unfinished Universe (Orbis, 2014).

Visit Ilia's Books Page to see the complete list of her published titles, with links to order at