University Profiles


Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Wister, Hist.Eccl.D.

Professor of Church History

School of Theology


Monsignor Wister teaches courses on the History of the Ecumenical Councils, the Papacy and American Christianity.

After seminary studies at the Gregorian University in Rome, I spent seven years in parish work in the Archdiocese of Newark, during which time I obtained an S.T.M. in American Christianity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. My graduate studies at the Gregorian focused on the interaction of the Holy See and the Catholic Church in the United States and the diplomatic interaction of the Holy See and the United States government. I have taught Church History at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology since 1980, with the exception of five years during which I served as executive director of the Seminary Department of the National Catholic Educational Association in Washington, DC. My research interests focus on the history of Catholicism in America, the art and architecture of American church buildings, and the diplomatic activities of the Holy See.


  • Hist.Eccl.D., Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome
  • S.T.M., Union Theological Seminary
  • A.B., Seton Hall University

Academic Distinctions

  • 2006: “Many are One” Alumni Service Award from University Libraries, Seton Hall University.
  • 2005: Commander's Award for Public Service; - Department of the Army.
  • 2001: Catholic Historical Documents Commission; - “Msgr. William Field Award” for “St. Patrick's Pro-Cathedral - 150 Years.”
  • 1996: Distinguished Teacher Award of Seton Hall University.
  • 1994: National Catholic Educational Association, Bishop Loras Lane Award for Service to Seminary Education in the United States and Canada.
  • 1978: Gold Medal Award of Pope John Paul I for academic excellence in the Faculty of Church History, Gregorian University, Rome.

  • Articles and book reviews in United States Catholic Historian, Catholic Historical Review, Theological Studies, Theological Education, Thought, and Momentum.
  • Editor of Psychology, Counseling and the Seminarian, and Priests: Identity and Mission.
  • Chapters in Theological Education in the Catholic Tradition, Media, Culture, and Catholicism, The Catholic Encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine, and The Encyclopedia of American Catholicism.



Office Phone
(973) 761-9575


Office Location
Room 106
Lewis Hall


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