St. Mary's Seminary & University

Rev. Dennis J. Billy, C.SS.R.

Robert F. Leavitt Distinguished Service Professor of Theology
Professor of Moral Theology and Spirituality

A.B., Dartmouth College
M.R.E., M. Div., Mt. St. Alphonsus Seminary
Th.D., Harvard University, Divinity School
M.A., The University of Toronto
M.M.R.Sc., Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
S.T.D., Pontifical University of St. Thomas
D.Min., Graduate Theological Foundation

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Fr. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R. serves as Professor and holder of The Robert F. Leavitt Distinguished Service Chair in Theology at St. Mary’s. From 1988 to 2008 he taught at the Alphonsian Academy of Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University and is now a Professor Emeritus of that institution. From 2008 to 2016 he was scholar-in-residence, professor, and holder of the John Cardinal Krol Chair of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He also serves as Fellow and Karl Rahner Professor of Catholic Studies at the Graduate Theological Foundation in Sarasota, Florida.

Fr. Billy is an American Redemptorist of the Baltimore Province. He comes from Staten Island, New York, and was educated there through high school in local Catholic schools. He holds an A.B. in English from Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire) and studied for the priesthood in the Redemptorist seminary system. After his priestly training, he went on to earn a Th.D. in Church History from Harvard Divinity School, an M.A. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto, an M.M.R.Sc. in Moral Theology from the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven in Belgium, an S.T.D. in Spirituality from The Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum, Rome), and a D.Min. in Spiritual Direction from the Graduate Theological Foundation. 

Father Billy has authored more than 50 books and published over 400 articles in a variety of scholarly and popular journals. He is also very active in retreat work and in the ministry of spiritual direction. Fr. Billy is an advisor to the Board of Directors at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua, NY. In 2017, he was awarded a three-year grant by the Templeton World Charity Foundation to develop a program on the topic “Spiritual Direction and the Moral Life.”

Selected Courses Taught

  • Catholic Social Ethics
  • Medical Ethics
  • Marriage, Sexuality, and Celibacy
  • Spiritual Direction and the Moral Life

Service to the Church

  • Advisor to the Board of Directors a tNotre Dame Retreat House, Canandaigua, New York
  • Spiritual director
  • Clergy workshops
  • Priests retreats
  • Sisters retreats

Selected Publications

  • The Wonder of the Eucharist: More Voices from the Twentieth Century (En Route 2022)
  • The Blessings of Beatitudes. (En Route, 2022)
  • No Longer I: Sharing Christ’s Gospel Narrative (En Route, 2022)
  • His Divine Presence (En Route, 2022)
  • The Meaning of the Eucharist: Voices from the Twentieth Century (En Route, 2019)
  • Jesus and the Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell (Wipf and Stock, 2019)
  • Finding Our Way to God: Spiritual Direction and the Moral Life. (Liguori, 2018)
  • Going Beyond the Wound: A Spirituality for Men (New City, 2018)
  • Jesus, the New Adam: Humanity’s Steadfast Hope (Wipf and Stock, 2017)
  • Meeting Jesus on the Road to Emmaus: An Invitation to Friendship, Eucharist and Christian Community (Twenty-Third, 2017)
  • Follow Him and Reclaim the World (Liguori, 2016)
  • Mary in 3-D: Icon of Discipleship, Doctrine, and Devotion (New City, 2015)
  • The Mystery of the Eucharist: Voices from the Saints and Mystics (New City, 2014)
  • The Cloud of Unknowing (Liguori, 2014)
  • Tending the Mustard Seed: Living the Faith in Today’s World (New City, 2013)
  • The “Our Father:” A Prayer’s Power to Touch Hearts (Liguori, 2012)
  • Living in the Gap: Religious Life and the Call to Communion. (New City, 2d ed., 2014)
  • Contemplative Ethics: An Introduction (Paulist, 2011)
  • The Beauty of the Eucharist: Voices from the Church Fathers (New City, 2010)

Online Resources

Recommended Reading

  • Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life
  • Alphonsus de Liguori, The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ
  • John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua
  • C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
  • Thomas Merton, Seven Storey Mountain

A Favorite Quotation

The paradise of God is the heart of man.
— St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Way to Converse Always and Familiarly with God