Regular Faculty

Sr. Marianne Farina, CSC

DSPT Professor - Sr. Marianne Farina, CSC

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Theology

Office Location: East 205
Phone: 510-883-2081
Office Hours: Thursdays, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, and by appointment



AAS, Art History, Rockland County Community College; BFA, Graphic Arts and Communication, Parsons School of Design/New School for Social Research University; MA, Pastoral Theology, Santa Clara University; PhD, Theological Ethics, Boston College.


The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. - Gaudium et spes. 1

Marianne Farina, CSC, PhD is a religious sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Indiana. She is an assistant professor at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California. Sister Marianne teaches courses that focus on subjects such as Social Ethics, Virtue, Sexual Ethics, Philosophical Ethics, Islamic Philosophy, Human Rights, Faith Formation, and Muslim-Christian Dialogue. She received a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology from Santa Clara University and a PhD in Theological Ethics from Boston College. Sister Marianne worked for 11 years in Bangladesh as a teacher, pastoral assistant and school supervisor. While in Bangladesh she ministered with Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Tribal families and communities. With more than 25 years of experience in education and pastoral ministry, Sister Marianne has worked in education and social development projects that promote social justice and interfaith dialogue. Over the last three years, she has traveled in Africa and Indonesia as a delegate and teacher covering topics such as "Religion and Democracy," "Methods for Cross-Cultural Understanding," "Interfaith Dialogue," and "Human Rights."

Sr. Marianne inspires students to engage in theological/philosophical study and discourse on the critical topics facing today's global communities. She guides them to find resources for further explorations and to develop the skills necessary to share knowledge with others. Her teaching style includes lectures and seminar discussion.

Courses Taught:

Research Interests:

Sr. Marianne's current research focuses on the Church's social justice teaching, comparative religions, interfaith dialogue and philosophical studies in Islam. In these projects she brings Aquinas' virtue theory into dialogue with other religious and philosophical traditions. Her recent writings have covered topics such as: Virtue Theories of Thomas Aquinas and Hamid al-Ghazali; Challenges of Muslim-Christian Dialogue; Faith in Human Rights; Identity and Exclusion: Totalizing Texts in Interreligious Dialogue. Sister Marianne also offers a number of workshops for local communities that include teacher trainings for religious education; cross-cultural communication; methods of interfaith dialogue. As the coordinator of the Interfaith Coalition for Human Rights she organizes programs for human rights education and advocacy.

Interfaith Coalition for Human Rights / Faith in Human Rights Symposium

Faith in Human Rights
Sr. Marianne Farina is also a member of the Diocese of Oakland's Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs She wrote and designed a program for parishes to learn about the world’s religions and the Church’s dialogue ministry. To learn more about the program, read Sr. Marianne's article in the Catholic Voice

Selected Publications:

Articles and Chapters

  • "Teaching Comparative Theological Ethics." Listening: Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture (forthcoming).
  • "Muslim and Christian Principles of Debate: Renewing Discourse in the Public Square." In Engaging the Other: Public Policy and the Clash of Ignorance, edited by Karim H. Karim and Mahmoud Eid. University of Ottawa Press (forthcoming).
  • "Religious Festivals" and "Thomas Aquinas." In Dictionary of Christian-Muslim Relations, edited by Rashied Omar and Scott Alexander. Oxford University Press (forthcoming).
  • "Theological Ethics of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali." In Al-Ghazali in the Mirror of Islamic Studies, edited by Jorgen Ballus. Germany: University of Osnabruck Press, 2012.
  • "Pursuing Meaning and Method for a Living Faith: Ethical-Religious Challenges," Studies in Interreligious Dialogue 21 (Fall 2011): 79-95.
  • "Human Rights Discourse Across Religious Traditions," Listening: Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture, 45, 3 (Fall 2010): 146-165.
  • "Faith in Human Rights" pdf Ad Gentes - Spring 2009 (Berkeley, CA: Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology).
  • "Faith in Human Rights?"  Koinonia Magazine, Paulist Press (Winter 2009).
  • "In the Pursuit of Love," Journal of Interreligious Dialogue, (July 2009): 33-40.
  • "Theology of Religion after Knitter and Hick: beyond the paradigm - a response to Terry Muck." Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 61 (January 2007): 24-27.
  • "God's Presence and the Moral Life: Shared Resources from the Writings of Thomas Aquinas and Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali." Jarboeek, Thomas Instituut te Utretcht, Annual Publication (2005).
  • "Moral Goodness and Friendship with God: The Moral Teachings of Thomas Aquinas and Hamid al-Ghazali." PhD Dissertation, Boston College, 2004.
  • Developing National Catechetical Plans. Jessore, Bangladesh: National Center for Catechetical and Social Development, 2003.
Book Reviews
  • Wael B. Hallaq. What is Sharia?: An Introduction. Ethiopian Journal of Religious Studies, Fall 2011.
  • Aaron Stalnaker. Overcoming our evil. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2006. Journal of the Society for Christian Ethics 30, no. 2 (Fall-Winter 2010): 215-216.
  • Roland E. Miller. Muslims and The Gospel: A Reflection on Christian Sharing. Minneapolis: Lutheran Univ. Press, 2005. Mission Studies: Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies Magazine 24, no. 2 (February 2007): 341-342.
Other Publications and Events
Presentations and Panels
    • "Religious Norms in the Public Sphere," University of California, Berkeley, May 5-6, 2011 (Panelist).
    • "Islamophobia Production and Redefining Global Security in 21st Century,” University of California, Berkeley, April 2011 (Panelist).
    • "Interfaith Dialogue: Networking and Social Transformation," Center for Women's InterCultural Leadership,” Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame Indiana, September 30-October 2, 2010 (Presentation).
    • "Thinking about Human Rights: An Interfaith Dialogue," Ohio Dominican University, Columbus, OH, September 10-11, 2010 (Presentation).
    • Women's Spirituality: Plenary II, Earl Lecture Series 2010, Pacific School of Religion, January 26, 2010 (Presentation).
Short Essays and Reflections