Leo Guardado, Salvadoran by birth, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology at Fordham University. His research is focused on the theological and embodied ecclesial responses to the transnational mechanisms of violence that continue to displace persons from Latin America and that persecute them within the US. Informed by Liberation Theology, the lived experience of Latina/o communities, and Gandhian nonviolence, Guardado seeks to reconcile the socially-transformative wisdom of these traditions. More particularly, Leo writes on the concept and practice of church sanctuary, its relation to the 1980s Sanctuary Movement, and the ecclesiological implications of a church of the poor and persecuted in the US. Methodologically, he engages ethnographic approaches with the craft of theology for it can serve as a means of accompanying communities while also generating scholarship. He has recently published “Nonviolence: The Witness of a Church of Mercy” in Expositions 13.2 (2019), and “Just peace, Just Sanctuary: Immigration and Ecclesial Nonviolence” in A Just Peace Ethic (Georgetown University Press, 2020). He is also working on his first monograph titled Church as Sanctuary, which provides a theological defense of sanctuary practices and argues that sanctuary is a nonviolent means for church communities to resist and interrupt the legalized violence of the state. Guardado received his B.A. from St. Mary’s College of California, and his M.T.S  and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame.

The following profile was current as of 2018, when he was part of the on-campus Kellogg community.

My name is Leo Guardado and I was born and grew up in El Salvador, but immigrated to California when I was about 10 years old. I am currently a Ph.D. student in the joint degree between the Theology Department and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. I received my Bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College of California (’04) and my Masters in Theological Studies from the University of Notre Dame (’08). My area of concentration is systematic theology, with Professor Cathy Hilkert as my advisor.  

The research questions that drive my inquiry deal with the reality and intensity of conflict and its relation and impact upon the task of theology. Particularly, how conflict forms, deforms, and transforms theological thought and prophetic witness. Within this broad concept I am interested in examining Archbishop Oscar Romero’s pastoral responses to conflict and what these say about his theological vision for a church in conflict. In addition, I am also interested in U.S. Latino engagements with Latin American Liberation Theology, with ecclesiological implications of immigrant communities, with violence at the U.S. Mexico border, and with the 1980s sanctuary movement. A dissertation topic is yet to be determined.  

The academic pursuits listed above are complemented by a love of gardening, cooking with many spices, baking crusty breads, and scavenging for unique items at great prices in used goods stores! 

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