Dr. Francesca Ciancimino Howell

Greetings and blessings! Thank you for visiting my site.  


My life has been extremely varied, as has my career. I have had the privilege of living and working in Europe, the UK and South America -- adding up to fifteen years or a bit more abroad. 

My professional path currently involves being an interfaith spiritual care counselor or "spiritual companion" -- sometimes known as a chaplain. I am also privileged to be a university lecturer and a writer. 


Many of the places and cultures I have been blessed to live in or visit often show their influence on me and in my work. Foreign language and cultures often play central roles in my mind and research; for example, I speak Italian and Spanish, and have strong proficiency in French.  (In my chaplaincy, often times I have ministered in Spanish as well as English on a daily basis.) I've dabbled in a few more, and always hope to learn another language. Perhaps an ancient one next time? 


The Parliament of World Religions, 2021

I will be presenting two papers on different topics: 

one will address current issues challenging chaplaincy and spiritual care, such as the need to evolve language awareness, along with other critical sensitivities; the other will present themes of pilgrimage and ritual as modalities to support and offer resilience in turbulent times. (The second will be co-presented.)



I have had the pleasure of presenting different aspects of my work at the American Academy of Religion on various occasions. For example the national conference in Denver, Nov. 2018 was a high point, as it showcased my Bloomsbury Academic book and Italian research of over a decade.  (Shown below)
At the AAR Regional meetings at
CU Boulder, 2017 I also presented a paper on my research on lived religion, community and place, which was very well received. It was a most inspiring conference with excellent disciplinary cross-fertilization.
The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture, together with the India-China Institute

"Mountains and Sacred Landscapes" Conference - The New School, 2017
This was a fascinating conference in NYC where I was delighted to present a paper on my work; it looked at themes of sustainability and resilience, through bonds with place and community, including the "other-than-human". I continue to use Italy as one lens, drawing from my work in Lombardy and Piedmont. 
The many panels were superb -- a brilliant conference.


Food, Festival and Religion: Materiality & Place in Italy

Food, Festival and Religion: Materiality and Place in Italy, Aug. 2018/Feb. 2020, published by Bloomsbury Academic.  Bloomsbury describes the series my book is part of thus:


"Books in the series are at the cutting edge of debates as well as developments in fields including religious studies, anthropology, museum studies, art history, and material culture studies."

Reviews & endorsements, as well as orders, are available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/food-festival-and-religion-9781350020870/

Festivals, rituals, foodways, feasting with one's community and other such shared experiences can help humans to deepen and manifest their bonds with place, home, community and the ineffable "other-than-human". Land, Nature, all that makes up what we call "the environment" are the other-than-human. Foodways maintain gastronomic traditions that relay and honor history, culture, memory and place. Dining together, eating local foods, sharing with others, all enhance our lives and our wellbeing. The Italians (as well as other Europeans) have maintained those traditions for millennia, and still have much to teach us all.