Bo Karen Lee - Princeton Theological Seminary
Bo Karen Lee

Bo Karen Lee

Associate Professor of Spiritual Theology and Christian Formation, Founding Director of the Center for Contemplative Leadership


103 Tennent Hall




Bo Karen Lee, ThM ’99, PhD ’07, is associate professor of spiritual theology and Christian formation and the Founder and Director of the Center for Contemplative Leadership at Princeton Theological Seminary. She earned her BA in religious studies from Yale University, her MDiv from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, and her ThM and PhD from Princeton Seminary. She furthered her studies in the returning scholars program at the University of Chicago, received training as a spiritual director from Oasis Ministries, and was a Mullin fellow with the Institute of Advanced Catholic Studies. Her book, Sacrifice and Delight in the Mystical Theologies of Anna Maria van Schurman and Madame Jeanne Guyon, argues that surrender of self to God can lead to the deepest joy in God. She has recently completed a volume, The Soul of Higher Education, which explores contemplative pedagogies and research strategies. A recipient of the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise, she gave a series of international lectures that included the topic, “The Face of the Other: An Ethic of Delight.”

Professor Lee recently completed her term as President of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, and is on the editorial board of the journal, Spiritus. She also serves on the steering committee of the Christian Theology and Bible Group of the Society of Biblical Literature. She is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, and the American Academy of Religion. Before joining Princeton faculty, Bo taught in the Theology Department at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland, where she developed courses with a vibrant service-learning component for students to work at shelters for women recovering from drug addiction and sex trafficking. She now enjoys teaching classes on prayer for the Spirituality and Mission Program at Princeton Seminary, in addition to taking students on retreats and hosting meditative walks along nature trails. In December 2022, Professor Lee launched the Center for Contemplative Leadership at Princeton Seminary, which she serves as its Founder and Director (and recent conference organizer exploring “Prayer as Resistance”).

Select Publications

  • Sacrifice and Delight in the Mystical Theologies of Anna Maria van Schurman and Madame Jeanne Guyon (Notre Dame University Press, 2014)
  • “The Face of the Other: An Ethic of Delight,” Ogbomoso Journal of Theology, Volume XVI, Winter 2011
  • “Madame Jeanne Guyon: A Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer,” in Christian Spirituality: The Classics, ed. Arthur Holder (Routledge, 2009)