Meet Our Committee Members

The Centre for Marian Studies management committee is made up of six Trustees and six management consultants.

Dr. Sarah Jane Boss - Founder, Secretary & Librarian

Sarah Jane Boss is one of the founders of the Centre for Marian Studies. She teaches the Mariology course at St Mary’s College, Oscott. She is also the author of numerous publications in Marian studies, including Empress and Handmaid (Cassell, 2000), Mary (Continuum, 2004) and, as editor and contributor, Mary: The Complete Resource (Continuum and OUP, 2007).

Dr. Catherine O'Brien - Director, Chair of Trustees & Membership Secretary

Catherine O’Brien is Director of the Centre for Marian Studies. She was a Senior Lecturer in  Film Studies and French at Kingston University London and has published widely on intersections between film and theology, including a book on Mary in film entitled The Celluloid Madonna (Wallflower Press, 2011) and a monograph entitled Martin Scorsese’s Divine Comedy: movies and religion (Bloomsbury, 2018).

Dr. Eileen Rubery - Trustee

After gaining an MA with Distinction at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2004, Eileen’s research focused on the links between the Papacy in Rome, Byzantine Constantinople and the S. Maria Antiqua complex in the Roman Forum between 500 and 1200 AD. In December 2013 she organised an International conference on S. Maria Antiqua at the British School in Rome; proceedings of conference are in preparation. She lectures widely, including at the Courtauld Institute and the Victoria and Albert Museum and is a founder member of the Governing Body of the London School of Mosaic.

Dr. Andrew Louth - Trustee

Andrew Louth is Professor Emeritus of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, University of Durham, and was Visiting Professor of Eastern Orthodox Theology in the Faculty of Theology attached to the Amsterdam Centre of Eastern Orthodox Theology (ACEOT), Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 2010–14. His research has mostly been in patristics, with monographs on Dionysios the Areopagite (1989), Maximos the Confessor (1996), and John Damascene (2002). His most recent books are Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology (2013) and Modern Orthodox Thinkers: from the Philokalia to the Present (2015). He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2010, and is an archpriest of the Diocese of Sourozh (Moscow Patriarchate).

Rev'd Canon Paul Williams - Trustee

The Rev’d Canon Paul Williams is Vicar of Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire, England. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the Ecclesiastical History Society. Paul is also a member of the Mariological Society of America. He has published in the area of the Virgin Mary and Anglicanism and is currently pursuing a course of research under the auspices of the Archbishop’s Examination in Theology, Lambeth Palace. Paul is married to Catherine, also a priest, and has two children.

Dr. Melanie Landman - Trustee & Publication Editor

Dr Melanie Landman began her academic career studying Social Policy at Goldsmiths, University of London. After graduation, she worked for several years in the health charity sector before undertaking an MA in Gender, Culture and Society at Birkbeck, University of London. She continued her postgraduate research at the University of Roehampton and completed her PhD, entitled An Investigation into the Phenomenon of the Black Madonna, in 2012. She has maintained her association with Roehampton as a visiting lecturer and through the Centre for Marian Studies. Her ongoing research interests include pilgrimage studies and lived/vernacular religion.

Mike Russell - Trustee

Michael (Mike) Russell did his first degree in Politics at the University of Leicester and continued there for his teacher training before returning to his home town of Oldham to begin his career. In the late 1990s he attended his first Centre for Marian Studies conference at Ushaw and has been associated with the Centre since then. He studied under Sarah Boss for the Master’s degree in Marian Studies and was awarded that in 2004. Since then he has been awarded an M. Sc. in Educational Research from the University of Manchester for his work into School Appeals Panels. He is currently working as an independent scholar on aspects of Marian studies in the North-West of England.

Dr. Chris Maunder - Treasurer

Chris Maunder is a senior lecturer in Theology & Religious Studies at York St John University, and has served there as Head of Department, Head of B.A., and Head of M.A. He is the editor of Origins of the Cult of the Virgin Mary (Continuum, 2008) and has written several articles on Mary in the New Testament and Marian apparitions as well as a monograph: Our Lady of the Nations: Apparitions of Mary in 20th-Century Catholic Europe (OUP, 2016). He was asked in the mid-1990s to edit a new volume of Henry Bettenson’s collection, Documents of the Christian Church (OUP, 1999, 2011). He is married to Natalie.

Fr. Kevin Alban, O. Carm.

Kevin Alban studied history at Oxford and theology in Rome and London. He holds a doctorate in Church History. He is a member of the Carmelite Order and has served as General Secretary and General Bursar. He is currently Prior Provincial of the British Province. He teaches Mariology in London and Church History in Oxford.

Natalie Maunder - Website Administrator & Social Network Co-ordinator

Natalie Maunder is a tutor for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies Online which is based at Liverpool Hope University. She has an MA in Theology and Public Life, she is also a trustee of the fifteenth century Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag, Knaresborough. Natalie is married to Chris Maunder. 

Dr. Jacob Phillips - Conference Officer

Dr Jacob Phillips is currently Director of the Institute of Theology at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, where is also a lecturer in theology. His Ph.D focused on human subjectivity in the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and his current research embraces a diverse range of sub-disciplinary areas, mostly within systematic and philosophical theology. He is particularly concerned with issues of human self-understanding, subjectivity, and obedience, and enjoys opportunities to explore these themes through Mariology. Recent publications include the monographs Mary, Star of Evangelisation: Tilling the Soil and Sowing the Seed (Paulist Press 2018), and Human Subjectivity in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Integrating Simplicity and Wisdom (T&T Clark Studies in Systematic Theology, 2019). 

Karen O'Donnell

Dr Karen O'Donnell is a feminist, ecumenical, practical theologian whose interdisciplinary interests span theology, spirituality, and pedagogy. She completed her PhD at the University of Exeter in 2016 and was a Research Fellow in Digital Pedagogy at St John’s College, University of Durham. She is currently the Coordinator of the Centre for Contemporary Spirituality at Sarum College in Salisbury, where she is the Director of the MA in Christian Spirituality. Her recent publications include a book entitled Broken Bodies: The Eucharist, Mary, and the Body in Trauma Theology(SCM Press 2018), and she has also published research on the Virgin Mary in both art and music. 

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