Sr. Mary E. Bendyna, O.P., Ph.D.
Sister Mary Bendyna, O.P., is a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia based in Nashville, Tennessee. She served on the on-site CARA staff for 12 years, first as a Research Associate and then as a Senior Research Associate and Executive Director. She currently works in the archives of the St. Cecilia Congregation and is engaged in various research projects.
Sister Mary specializes in survey research, focus group facilitation, and both quantitative and qualitative data analysis. She has led numerous studies on ministry, education, faith formation, priesthood, and religious life and is particularly interested in understanding generational continuity and change among Catholics. Her academic research has focused on the relationships between religious values and political orientations and especially on understanding the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of American Catholics. She is the author or co-author of numerous research reports and academic conference papers as well as several journal articles and book chapters.
Sister Mary holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from Canisius College and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University. She has also done graduate work in Education at the State University of New York at Buffalo and in Theology at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York, from which she received an honorary doctorate.
Before joining CARA, Sister Mary taught Social Studies and Religion at Mount Mercy Academy in Buffalo, New York and courses in Government and Political Science at Georgetown University and the George Washington University. She also served as a Chaplain-in-Residence at Georgetown University. More recently, Sister Mary served as Director of Institutional Research and then as Provost and Vice President for Academics at Aquinas College.