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Department ofReligious Studies


Teresia Hinga

Teresia Hinga

In Memoriam: Teresia Mbari Hinga

Teresia Hinga (January 25, 1955 - March 31, 2023) was a dedicated professor of religion and a welcoming friend, mentor, and colleague who taught at Santa Clara University for nearly 20 years.

Teresia Mbari Hinga
January 25, 1955-March 31, 2023

Teresia Mbari Hinga, Ph.D., bowed to a protracted battle with cancer on March 31, 2023, in Chicago Illinois, surrounded by her family and friends. She was born January 25, 1955, as the youngest of seven children to her late parents Agnes Wairimu and Ernest Hinga in the village of Ndumberi, Kiambu in British-occupied Kenya. She was a loving mother, grandmother, and godmother who protected her children and helped them flourish with her grand sense of humor, love of song, and faith in God. As a single mother who balanced her professional life with her home life, she is survived by her two children: son Anthony Hinga, daughter Pauline Wairimu Kenly, her son in-law Thom Kenly and her two grandchildren, Zoe and Nia Kenly, all in Chicago. In Kenya she is survived by her brother Michael Machua, her many nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, friends, and colleagues.

Dr. Hinga earned a B.Ed. in English Literature and Religious Studies, which she passed with first class honors from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Nairobi University. She earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies/African Christianity from the University of Lancaster in England in 1990. She was a dedicated professor of religion and a welcoming friend who mentored hundreds of students and young scholars and
promoted the scholarship of fellow professors, making them feel welcomed, known, and heard. Dr. Hinga was an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University, California (2005-2023). Before that, she was on the faculty of DePaul University, Chicago in 1994-2005 and taught at Kenyatta University in Nairobi Kenya (1987-1994).

As a scholar, Dr. Hinga was an African Christian feminist who pioneered the fields of African feminist theology and ethics. She was a founding member of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians in Accra, Ghana in 1989. She promoted the Circle throughout her career. She was also a founding member, and on the executive committee, of the African Association of the Study of Religion (AASR), a member of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), and the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA). She was on the board of the Journal of Global Catholicism and a member of the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC) Network until her death.

For Dr. Hinga, service began at home by supporting family members with their financial needs for education and medical purposes. Beyond that, she was a devoted friend to her home village of Ndumberi - Kiambu, finding seed money for local farmers, planting and growing trees, and facilitating training for rainwater harvesting and organic farming methods.

A funeral Mass for Dr. Hinga was held April 5, 2023 at St. Celestine Church in Elmwood Park, Illinois. A Kenyan funeral service took place April 4, 2023, in Ndumberi Kiambu. Planning for a Memorial Remembrance at Santa Clara is underway and details will be posted as soon as they are available.

Please join us in remembering the family of Teresia Hinga and in gratitude for her exemplary life of teaching, scholarship, and service.