Staff Directory

Assoc. Prof. Maeve Louise Heaney Name: Assoc. Prof. Maeve Louise Heaney
Director, Xavier Centre of Theology
+617 3623 7262
Organisational Area
Faculty of Theology & Philosophy
National School of Theology
St. Paul's Theological College(Bldg.213 - 1100 Nudgee Road, Banyo QLD 4014)-Level 1-Room1.03
Biographical Information


Dr. Maeve Louise Heaney VDMF is the Director of the Xavier Centre for Theological Formation at Australian Catholic University, and a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy. Born in Dublin, Ireland, she is a consecrated missionary of a Catholic Institute for consecrated life, the Verbum Dei Community. She completed her Bachelors in theology at the Instituto Teológico San Pablo Apóstol, in Madrid, affiliated to the Pontifical Urbanian University, and her licentiate and doctorate at the Pontifical Gregorian University, in Rome. During that time, she taught both at the Gregorian and at the Rome Base of the Catholic University of Dallas. She was Bannan Fellow 2011-2012 at Santa Clara University, California, teaching at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. As a musician and composer, she interweaves the fields of theological aesthetics, spirituality and the arts.


Selected Publications

Music as Theology: What Music Says about the Word. Princeton Theological Monograph Series of Pickwick Publications, Oregon, 2012.

"A Hermeneutical Exploration of The Revelatory Text of John 4:1-42, In Performative Key". Theological Studies (forthcoming June 2020).

"Women's Leadership in the Church: A Question of Imagination" in Sandie Cornish and Andrea Dean (ed.), in Still Listening to the Spirit: Woman and Man Twenty Years Later (Office for Social Justice of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference: Sydney, 2019).

"New Styles" in Carlos Alberto Moreira Azevedo, Richard Rouse (ed.) Chiesa e compositori Parole e Suoni (Rome: Aracne editrice, 2019).

"The Power of Attraction: Beauty's Apology". Intercom. A Catholic Pastoral and Liturgical Resource, Ireland, July 2018.

"Music's Multilayered Subversion of the Word. Literature and Theology (2017) 31 (2): 200-214. Written in collaboration with Dr Roger Hillman.

"From the Particular to the Universal: Musings of a Woman Theologian". In Catholic Women Speak Network (ed.).  Shared Visions: Women Responding to God's Call (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, July 2018).

"Mercy, Music, and the Prophetic Voice of Theology: Jon Sobrino&rsquos Extra Pauperes Nulla Salus&rdquo, in O'Connor, Michael, Hyun-Ah Kim, and Christina Labriola. Music, Theology, and Justice (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2017).

"Music in Contemporary Culture: Some implications for our celebration of the Eucharist". The Summit Vol. 43, No. 4, (November 2016).

"Music and Theological Method: A Lonerganian Perspective. Theological Studies (September 2016).

"When the Studio Becomes the Study: Conflicting Patterns of Consciousness". ARTS: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2, (July 2016).

"The Cosmic Song of &lsquoLaudato Si&rsquo. Theological and Liturgical Implications". Liturgy News 2015 45 (3), September, 2015.

"Can Music Mirror God? A Theological-Hermeneutical Exploration of Music in the Light of Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel" in Religions 2014, 5(2), 361-384, published on April 1, 2014 doi: 10.3390/rel5020361.

"Musical Space: Living &lsquoIn-between the Artistic and Christian Callings". In Secular Music and Sacred Theology, ed. Tom BeaudoinCollegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2013.

"Music as Locus Theologicus: an Expression of Harmonic Grace." In The Acta of the International Eucharistic Congress 2012 Theology Symposium: The Ecclesiology of Communion Fifty Years after the Opening of Vatican II. Dublin: Veritas, 2013.

Nel Frattempo, CD of 10 original compositions. Merlino Edizioni Musicali, 2012.

"The Eloquence of Music in Contemporary Culture.&rdquo In Theology, Volume 114 Issue 3, May 2011.



Theological Aesthetics Music as Theology Musical Semioticcs Autoethnography and Musical Composition Theopoetics Fundamental Theology Systematic Theology Preaching Theological Formation for Ministry 


Theological Aesthetics, Fundamental Theology, Spirituality, Music in Theological Aesthetics (Hans Urs von Balthasar; Jeremy Begbie; Willem Marie Speelman; Richard Viladesau). Method in Theological Thought [Bernard Lonergan]. Ascension Theology [Oliver Davies and Transformation Theology]. Culture in/and theological thought (Karl Rahner; Michael Paul Gallagher – PierAngelo Sequeri). Theology of Faith (John Henry Newman; PierAngelo Sequeri).


Pastoral Experience and Work

Dr Heaney has extensive experience in theological formation for ministry, in terms of ongoing roles and conference speaking: 

2018- 2021                Member of Archdiocese of Brisbane&rsquos Plenary Council Task-Force.

2018-                         Member of Australian Catholic Bishops&rsquo Conference (ACBC) taskforce for writing of National Ratio for Priestly Formation.

2018 -2019                Member of taskforce for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference&rsquos Office for Clergy Life and Ministry to draft a document on Guidelines for the Selection, Discernment and Induction of Missionary and Overseas Priests in Australia.

2017-                         Member of Formation Faculty, Holy Spirit Provincial Seminary, Queensland.

2016-2020                 Member of the Marist Association &ldquoMembership and Formation Committee"

Examples of Speaking Commitments: 

6 Aug 2019                     Panel presentation on &ldquoMissiology and the Sense of Mission Among Missionary Priests and Religious&rdquo at the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office&rsquos Sixth National Conference on Missionary Clergy and Religious in Australia: Challenges and Opportunities.

21 June 2019                 15th Annual St Thomas More Lecture Talk on &ldquoWomen&rsquos Leadership In The Future Of The Church: Naming The Nameless&rdquo at Mercure Hotel, Canberra.

20 June 2019                 Workshop on &ldquoFinding and Experiencing God through the Arts&rdquo at Catholic Education Canberra, Leadership Centre.

15 May 2019                 Workshop on &ldquoFor Just Such a Time as This&rdquo: Theological Formation for a Future Still Unknown&rdquo at Mission: One Heart, Many Voices, Catholic Mission Australia&rsquos annual conference.

14 Sep 2018                   Keynote presentation: &ldquoNew Styles&rdquo at Church and Composers. Words and Sounds, a conference organised by Cardinal Ravasi and the Pontifical Council for Culture from September 13-15, 2018, in Rome and Assisi.

20 Jul 2018                     Keynote presentation: &ldquoBeauty&rsquos Freedom and the Importance of Questioning. From Whence the Creative Leaders of the Future?&rdquo and Masterclass: &ldquoThe In-Between Space of Creative Leadership and Style&rdquo at Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy, the Melbourne Catholic Education annual conference on Religious Education.

16-19 Jul 2018              &ldquoRemaining Informed, Relevant and Faithful as a Minister of the Word in Contemporary Culture&rdquo, a workshop on Intellectual Formation for the ministry of Preaching in the biennial Archdiocesan conference for Clergy, Leura.

Professional Memberships
  • President of the Australian Catholic Theological Association (ACTA)
  • The Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies (SARTS),
  • The European Society of Catholic Theology (ESCT),
  • The Catholic Theological Association of America,
  • The American Academy of Religion (AAR),
  • MusicTheology: an international network for those working in the research of both areas spearheaded by Durham University. 

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