Patrick O’Brien Professor of Theology
Professor Jensen joined Notre Dame’s faculty from Vanderbilt University, where she was the Luce Chancellor’s Professor of the History of Christian Art and Worship. An expert on the theological significance and liturgical functions of early Christian art and architecture, her research focuses on the religious visual culture of the Greco-Roman world. Professor Jensen’s recent books include Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of its Practices and Belief (Eerdmans, 2014, with J. Patout Burns), and Baptismal Imagery in Early Christianity (Baker Academic Press, 2012), and she currently has a book in press with Harvard University Press titled The Cross: History, Art, and Controversy. She has been published widely by the top journals in her field and has received numerous awards and grants for her work, including a National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Grant, a Henry Luce III Fellowship, and a theological research grant from the Lilly Endowment. Professor Jensen has served as the President of the North American Patristics Society and the Society for the Arts in Visual and Religious Studies, and is currently Vice President of the International Catacomb Society.
Prior to Vanderbilt, Professor Jensen was a faculty member at the Andover Newton Theological School, where she was also jointly appointed with the Boston College Theological Faculty. She received her Ph.D., MPhil, and MA from Columbia University/Union Theological Seminary, and spent two years at the Parsons School of Design studying fine arts and illustration.
Established in 2013, the Patrick O’Brien Professorship was created with funds from the previously-named Crowley-O’Brien Professorship, which is one of the University’s oldest chairs, established in 1975 through a joint gift from the O’Brien Corporation and its president, the late Jerome J. Crowley (’31). Jerry was a Trustee of Saint Mary’s College and, later, a Trustee and Fellow of Notre Dame. He and his wife, Rosaleen, were the parents of 10 children, including two Notre Dame graduates.