NEW YORK (July 27, 2004)—The Catholic Theological Society of America recently awarded its highest honor to Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University. The John Courtney Murray Award for Distinguished Achievement in Theology honors individuals for their lifetime achievement in the field.

Johnson has spent more than 20 years studying Mary, mother of Jesus, and in her critically acclaimed book, Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints (Continuum, 2003), she introduced a more complete picture of Mary as a champion of the oppressed. This groundbreaking portrayal sparked theological debate and discussion nationwide, and the book has garnered a number of awards.

Earlier this summer, the  College Theology Society presented Johnson with its 2004 Book Award, and the Catholic Press Association named Truly Our Sister the second best theology book of 2003. In addition, Johnson received the Jerome Award from the Catholic Library Association, given annually to a writer who has made an outstanding contribution to excellence in scholarship.

Johnson’s latest work, Dangerous Memories: A Mosaic of Mary in Scripture (Continuum, 2004), takes a key chapter from Truly Our Sister and draws together the 13 appearances of Mary in the gospels to give a clear picture of Mary as “a woman of history, graced by the Spirit…our companion in struggle, truly our sister in the communion of saints.

Johnson’s previous works include Friends of God and Prophets (Continuum, 1998), Women, Earth and Creator Spirit (Paulist, 1993)and She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse (Crossroad, 1992). She’s also a prolific author of scholarly articles and lectures around the world on theological issues.