Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

Faculty & Staff

Michael Canaris, PhD

Title/s:  Associate Professor

Office #:  WTC-LT #640

Phone: 312.915.7485

Email: mcanaris@luc.edu

CV Link: Michael_M._Canaris_CV


Michael M. Canaris (PhD, Fordham, 2013) specializes in ecclesiology, Ignatian spirituality, and immigration studies.  He has studied and collaborated with such figures as Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Francis A. Sullivan, S.J., Elizabeth Johnson, Paul D. Murray, and Bradford Hinze.  He is the author or editor of four books, including Francis A. Sullivan, S.J. and Ecclesiological Hermeneutics: An Exercise in Faithful Creativity (Brill, 2016), Living Christian Joy Daily: Everyone’s Call – Essays From Rome (with Donna Orsuto, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2017), and The Survival of Dulles: Reflections on a Second Century of Influence (Fordham University Press, 2021), as well as a number of other scholarly and popular works, including penning an award-winning weekly column on ecclesial and social issues for the Catholic Star Herald newspaper in New Jersey for more than a decade.  He played an integral role in a substantial Ford Foundation grant exploring undocumented students across the network of American Jesuit Colleges and Universities, whose findings were presented in the United States Senate.  In addition to being nominated as the current national president of the AJCU Conference for Pastoral, Ministerial, and Theological Education, he serves on the University Dreamer Committee, the IPS Student Engagement Committee, and chairs the IPS Global Engagement Committee where he helps coordinate the Institute’s programs in the United Kingdom and Rome, after completing a pontifical degree in Italy, where he holds dual citizenship.


  • The University of Scranton, Scranton, PA: Dual BA, Theology and Philosophy, Concentration in Italian Studies
  • Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA: MA, Systematic Theology
  • Pontifical University of St. Thomas/Angelicum, Rome, Italy: STL, Ecumenism
  • Fordham University, New York, NY: PhD, Systematic Theology

Program Areas

  • Ecclesiology
  • Ignatian Spirituality
  • Ecumenism
  • Theology and Migration
  • Papacy

Professional & Community Affiliations

  • Catholic Theological Society of America
  • College Theology Society
  • American Academy of Religion
  • Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry
  • Karl Rahner Society
  • AJCU Conference on Pastoral, Ministerial, and Theological Education
  • Board of Directors, The Claret Center, Hyde Park, IL

Courses Taught

  • Church and Mission
  • Christian Doctrine
  • Theology and Migration
  • The Teaching and Learning Church (Hermeneutics)
  • Theology of Pope Francis
  • Social Context of Ministry
  • Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality
  • Introduction to Theology and Ministry

Selected Publications


  • The Legacy of Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J.: His Words and His Witness. Co-edited with Anne-Marie Kirmse, O.P. Fordham University Press, 2011.
  • Francis A. Sullivan, S.J. and Ecclesiological Hermeneutics: An Exercise in Faithful Creativity. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2016.
  • Living Christian Joy Daily: Everyone’s Call – Essays from Rome. Co-edited with Donna
    Orsuto, STD. Foreword by Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2017.
  • The Survival of Dulles: Reflections on a Second Century of Influence. Fordham University Press, 2021.
  • The Second Ignatius Speaks: Pedro Arrupe Reads the Signs and Sighs of Our Times (forthcoming 2025).



  • Replacing a Culture of Disposability with One of Disponibilidad: An Ecclesiological Proposal for a World in Peril. Ecclesiology, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Fall 2020): 338-360.
  • “Ready to Pardon (cf. Neh 9:17): An Ecclesial Analysis of the Death Penalty and Catholic Abolitionism,” Critical Theology, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Spring 2020): 9-15.
  • “‘Go Out to the Highways and Hedges’ (cf. Lk 14:23): Peripheral Ecclesiology, the Art of Accompaniment, and Street Homelessness,” Journal of Vincentian Social Action, Vol 4, No. 1 (May 2019): 34-45.
  • The Church as Migrant: A New Model for a Cross-ing People,” The Ecumenist, Vol. 55, No. 3 (Summer 2018): 16-21.
  • “Alma Mater, Mater Exulum: Jesuit Education and Immigration. A Moral Framework and its Historical Roots,” in In College and Undocumented: Students and Institutions in a Climate of National hostility. Terry-Ann Jones and Laura Nichols, eds. Fordham University Press, 2016.
  • “A Rahnerian Reading of Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church,” in Learning from All the Faithful: A Contemporary Theology of the Sensus Fidei. Bradford Hinze and Peter Phan, eds. Pickwick/Wipf & Stock, 2016.
  • Major contributor to the Immigrant Student National Position Paper (2013), an extensive research/policy paper conducted with sociology, law, and theology faculties at Fairfield, Loyola Chicago, and Santa Clara Universities supported by the Ford Foundation. With Richard Ryscavage, S.J., crafted the moral framework for analyzing qualitative and quantitative analysis of data on undocumented students through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching and Jesuit mission. Drafted the Presidential Statement signed by 25 Jesuit university presidents. Presented in the United States Senate, February 2013.

Comments from Students:

It is always a joy to take a course from Dr. Canaris. He is passionate about his work. He is always, ALWAYS, invested in his students, their formation and their well-being.”

“Study abroad in Rome not only satisfied an academic requirement, Professor Canaris made the experience deeply spiritual and culturally enriching as well.”


“Profe Michael es un ser humano con un enorme corazón! Siempre está buscando como ofrecer lo mejor a sus estudiantes dentro y fuera del aula para ayudarlos a alcanzar sus objetivos. Michael es un ciudadano del mundo y siempre quiere explorar nuevas culturas y compartirlas con los que lo rodean!! Gracias por tanto Michael!!”

“I really liked this course and feel Michael is a great teacher. He is a really smart man and that was a great challenge for me in the class, as it inspired me to want to know more. Personally, this class provided underpinnings for my own ministry practice that made a difference in my engagement in the work of the semester. I was gaining as much in understanding my own faith practice as I was in learning the technical aspects of the class material.”

“Loyola made an excellent decision in granting Mike tenure!! His sheer joy and enthusiasm in presenting the material and in the process of teaching and learning is engaging and inspiring. He is a sensitive and humane instructional leader. I am always the better for being exposed to Mikes deep knowledge, inquiring mind and generous spirit.”

“The reading and workload is challenging, interesting, and inspiring. I feel one of the professor’s greatest strengths is his personalization of subject matter; by this I mean that he not only relates the material to the personal experience of himself and others, but he is also attentive to the interests of students and is concerned with making their personal experience more meaningful. He gets the highest compliment I can give a teacher: I always look forward to going to class!”

“Loyola is lucky to have Dr. Canaris on staff. He is incredibly bright and knowledgeable and has a special gift of packaging his knowledge in a way that's not only digestible, understandable and relevant, but interesting and enlightening!”

“Dr. Canaris is probably the best professor I've had at Loyola. His experience and insights add immeasurable value to the content of the class. The reflective assignments are helpful for me to apply it in the future.”

“Mike is one of the best, if not the best, professors I have ever had. I mainly took this course so I could be with him again and am only glad that I did. He imparts a tremendous amount of knowledge and in ways that make you think and be challenged yet I still have fun. I only regret not being able to take a course with him again. He’s also hilarious at times.”

“Remarkably good teacher! I found him so very engaging and his assignments stimulated my interest far beyond the classroom walls! I am definitely looking forward to, and will make a point of, taking more classes with him! One of the best!”

“Mike does an outstanding job of being enthusiastic and is well-versed in his field. He is approachable and greatly encourages student interaction. He is more than willing to be a sounding board, lend books and point students in the direction of their own interests. He has a great deal of information to offer and encourages students toward meeting the goals in the class.”

“This is the second class I took with this professor and I believe he is one of the best assets of the IPS. I would highly recommend taking his classes to anyone.”


“He’s brilliant: articulate and a good communicator.”


“Dr. Canaris seems to genuinely care about his students and to want us to grow and succeed.”


“Mike created a positive learning environment where all of us were given opportunities to express our diverse thoughts. He is encouraging to all the students. He has gift for recognizing in us our talents and encouraging us to share those talents.”

“IPS 402 with Michael Canaris was one of the best courses I’ve ever taken. I found this class very inspiring and informative. Michael’s methodology based on variety of well-balanced assignments, meaningful resources and topics was great! The lectures were very interesting as well, very often based on Michaels’ extensive, unique experience. I know I will be able to apply what I learned in the IPS 402 in my further studies, ministry, and life. Great educational experience!”