Explore the Meaning of Faith!

Religious Studies explores the “big questions” at the heart of our existence, questions about human meaning in relation to a transcendent reality, that lead to reflection upon divine revelation and open the door to a deeper relationship with God. As a Catholic institution of higher learning, Madonna University affirms the spiritual dimension of the human person. Intellectual inquiry into the religious meaning of life is essential to full human development. Reflecting Madonna’s identity as a Catholic University in the Franciscan tradition, the Religious Studies program fosters an understanding of the religious and moral dimensions of human experience by examining religious sources, traditions, beliefs and practices.

Special attention is given to Franciscan, Christian-humanistic values, with awareness of other faith traditions and a concern for social justice, in preparation for teaching, pastoral ministry, and graduate studies. The Archdiocese of Detroit encourages Catholic students who feel called to Religion teaching or to parish ministry to pursue a degree in Religious Studies. Students may pursue either a major or a minor in this field, and may find it valuable to combine this with another major or minor. The reasonable number of required credits leaves room for such additional credentials, enhancing qualifications for future professional opportunities. 


Student Success

Natalia Cappella Headshot

Natalia Cappella

"I am very grateful for my time at Madonna University. By majoring in Religious Studies, I was blessed with the opportunity to learn about the Catholic faith from intelligent and talented faculty. As a graduate student pursuing my masters degree in theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, I have found that my undergraduate studies provided me with a strong foundation to support further scholarship and academic inquiry. My theology classes at Madonna encouraged me to explore the richness of the Christian tradition, while also motivating me to seek and live a life of intimacy with Jesus." 

Student Success

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Katelyn Dekoski

A Nolan Award recipient, Katelyn graduated in 2014. She has not allowed a disability to prevent her from living out her vocation to ministry. She is involved in Alpha and in hospice spiritual care, and hopes to help revitalize several of her parish’s programs, especially RCIA.

“My education has given me a great working knowledge of theology and of the different spiritual traditions in the world, a great help when one is meeting with a dying patient of another faith/religion. Knowing theology has helped me be able to share its meaning with others and help them in their own journey of trying to understand. I enjoyed my classes most that challenged my thinking and opened my mind to new ideas.”

Student Success

Michael Tibbits Headshot

Michael C. Tibbits

Since graduating from Madonna in 2016, Michael has been enrolled at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, from which he will graduate in May 2019. "After graduation I plan on entering the Marine Corps and working as a Staff Judge Advocate officer. The courses I took at Madonna have prepared me for the abstract thinking that is required in law school. The type of readings I engaged in made the transition to law school reading much easier. And the type of philosophical and logical thinking required mirrors the philosophical and logical analysis needed to be successful in law school. Law school professors love to talk about how law school teaches you how to think. I believe that the Religious Studies program began ‘teaching me how to think’ before entering law school. The program in its entirety has helped me immensely throughout my law school career.”

Faculty Bios

Jane E. LinahanAssociate Professor and Director

Ph.D., Marquette University

M.A., University of Detroit

M.A., University of Pittsburgh

B.F.A., University of Detroit



Jane E. Linahan

Dr. Linahan joined the Madonna family in 2013 and serves as the Director of the Religious Studies and Philosophy Programs and of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry Program. Prior to coming to Madonna, she was a visiting associate professor at Saint Bonaventure University in Western New York for five years. For seven years prior to that, she was a member of the faculty of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee, where she served as the Interim Academic Dean for one year. She completed her Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Marquette University, with a concentration in Systematic Theology and secondary emphases in Biblical and Historical Theology.

Her theological interests are in the areas of Christology, Trinitarian theology, theology of the Holy Spirit, Christian Anthropology, Creation, early Franciscan theology (particularly Bonaventure), and questions regarding the relation of God to the created order. Her doctoral dissertation dealt with several of these areas through the lens of a theology of kenosis (the divine self-emptying), which she has continued to explore in subsequent articles.

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Rev. Charles M. MorrisAssistant Professor

M.U.P., Wayne State University

M.Div., St. John Provincial Seminary

M.A., University of Michigan

B.A., Oakland University


734-432-5562, 2416

Rev. Charles M. Morris

Rev. Morris has been a full time faculty member of Madonna University in the Religious Studies and Philosophy Programs and the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry Program since 2013. Prior to his full time status Rev. Morris served as adjunct faculty at Madonna from 2010 to 2012. Rev. Morris is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Rev. Morris' research interests include: environmental justice, sustainability education and comparative healing modalities. Rev. Morris' awards include: Michigan Green Leader, Green Burial Council Leadership Award and the 2006 Rolling Stone Magazine Honor Roll.

Rev. Morris has taught over 16 different courses at Madonna. Among his favorite courses are: sustainability, environmental ethics, Western Religion and Sacraments.

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