Francesca Ciancimino Howell, PhD

MA Ecopsychology, Master of Divinity
BS, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; MPhil, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; PhD, The Open University, Milton Keynes/London, UK
MA Ecopsychology, Master of Divinity
Deep Ecology in Context (BA), Geography, Pilgrimage & Sacred Landscape (BA), College Core Curriculum (BA), The New Science and its Cultural Applications (MA), Environmental Leadership Capstone (MA), Ritual Arts (MA)

Dr. Francesca Howell is an international educator, workshop leader, public speaker, and performer. She is also an interfaith chaplain, whose spiritual care experience spans decades in hospitals, shelters, hospice, memory care, and private homes. As an educator and teacher, Francesca has a long history of teaching in the university system and schools of all ages and levels of training from elementary schools to doctoral candidates or business people.

Having lived outside the United States for more than fifteen years, including Britain, Italy, Chile and Canada, cross-cultural work, international understanding, diversity, and multi-cultural or multi-faith explorations are passions for her. Languages are a passion of hers as well: her work often has involved using Spanish on a daily basis, in teaching, activism, or in spiritual care counseling; she is fluent in Italian, as well as conversant in French. Her background also includes international environmental campaigning, academic advising, student development, and nonprofit organizations.

Francesca holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Religious Studies from The Open University, where both her doctoral and postdoctoral research drew from environmental philosophy, anthropology, feminist studies, theology/thealogy and related fields. She is a member of The Association of Professional Chaplains, The Spiritual Care Association, The American Academy of Religion, and The Parliament of World Religions; she is also a Life member of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge. (As an actor Francesca has been a member of Actors Equity Association, as well as other unions.) A published author in the non-fiction field, Francesca is currently finishing a novel in the genre of women’s fiction. On the lighter side of her work, she has been a performer of stage and screen, across the world. For more information, on publications, spiritual care counseling, as well as more personal background, please visit:



  • Food, Festival and Religion: Materiality and place in Italy. London and NY: Bloomsbury Academic Publishing, July 2018; soft cover, Feb. 2020.
  • Making Magic with Gaia: Practices to heal ourselves and our planet. San Francisco and New York: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2002.
  • Italian edition: Gaia: Magia per il pianeta. Rome:Venexia, 2008, (Bestseller in Italy, 2008).

Contributed Book Chapters

  • “Eating Place in the Heterotopia: Food, Place Power and Materiality Among Contemporary Italian Pagans”, in Feasts of the Gods: Food and Drink in Contemporary Paganism. Simpson, S. ed. UK: Equinox Books, forthcoming March 2023
  • “Bellisama and Aradia: Paganism Re-emerges in Italy”, in Modern Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Europe: Colonial and Nationalist Impulses. Rountree, K. ed. NY and Oxford: Berghahn Publishers, May 2015.
  • “With rituals large and small we heal, we re-member”, in Ritual and Healing: Stories of ordinary and extraordinary transformation. Eulert, D. ed. Henderson, Nevada: Motivational Press, 2013.

Academic Journal Articles

  • “Heterotopia, Community and Sense of Place: Performing land and folding time in the Badalisc festival of Northern Italy”, Folklore. Vol. 124. Issue 1. April 2013.
  • “The Goddess Returns to Italy: Paganism and Wicca reborn as a new religious and social movement”, in The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies. Vol. 10.1. 2008.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.