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School of Theology and Ministry

Susannah J. P. Petro

school of theology and ministry

Susanna Petro

Susannah J. P. Petro is a doctoral student at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry where she researches questions that lie at the intersection of ecclesiology, theodicy, and pastoral care, particularly in the context of family life. Her scholarship examines the disruption and suffering that traumatic experience causes families and the formation ministers and congregations require to support distressed families and foster their healing and hope. Interested in the practices of care that faith communities can develop and enact in response to chronic suffering, she has conducted recent research projects that explore their influence in the arenas of stillbirth and undergraduate loneliness and belonging. Her work has been published in The Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling. Susannah has extensive experience in parish ministry and has directed a parish marriage preparation program for 15 years. A native of Massachusetts, she is a married Catholic lay woman. Together with her husband, Susannah joyfully parents four children.


Curriculum Vitae


M. Div., Boston College (2015)
M.A., University of Chicago (1991)
B.A., Wellesley College (1990)


Practical theology
Theodicy, trauma, and loss
Pastoral care and counseling
Ministerial education and formation
Models of congregational caregiving
Interfaith collaboration


Director: Jane Regan


I was drawn to the PhD in Theology and Education by its distinctive shape. Our program’s commitment to students’ attaining and integrating competencies in theology, education, and social science offers an unparalleled preparation for careers as scholars and teachers in the interdisciplinary context that is contemporary, practical theology. Our unique orientation fosters dynamism, vibrancy, and great diversity in student research. Our small size, meanwhile, allows students and faculty to know one another well, both as researchers and as colleagues. Moreover, the strong commitments faculty make to mentoring students and the collegial tenor that characterizes academic relationships among students and faculty create a true experience of community within the program.