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photographer: John Rectenwald

Olga-Maria Cruz (she/her/ella) is a Latin@ minister, musician, and writer living in the Carolinas.

Olga-Maria currently serves as vicar to St. John's Lutheran in Walhalla, SC and is a candidate for ordination in the South Carolina Synod of the ELCA. Formerly a campus minister at Winthrop University, she is a co-host of the podcast Faith Along the Way.


Olga-Maria holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Divinity in Theology and the Doctor of Philosophy in Ethics; she taught for thirteen years at Bellarmine University. Her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Pen & Brush, and Poetry East, among others. Her first chapbook of poems, A Philosopher Speaks of Rivers, was published in 2005 by Finishing Line Press of Cincinnati.

Cruz received a 2004 Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women (KFW) for the completion of her first full-length manuscript of poetry, and grants from KFW and the Kentucky Arts Council in 2007 for work on a memoir. Her essay, “Salvaging Parts,” was published by Lee Gutkind in the 2015 anthology from In Fact Books, Same Time Next Week.


She has received poetry and creative nonfiction grants from the Kentucky Arts Council and Kentucky Foundation for Women and residencies at Hopscotch House and the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in North Carolina.

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