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Catholic Institution

Brescia University is a private, CATHOLIC, liberal arts institution founded in the Ursuline educational tradition. Among the many meanings that the “Catholic” element of Brescia’s identity include, are the following:

  1. The Search for Truth:   In the Catholic intellectual tradition, this search is understood to be a sacred duty and to be all-encompassing; participation in this search for Truth is further understood to be one of the defining elements of what it means to be human. Truth is understood to be a unified whole, and no one element of Truth can ultimately conflict with another element of Truth; for example, the Truth of science can never ultimately conflict with the Truth of theology. This multi-dimensional pursuit of Truth is what provides meaning to human life and interpersonal relationships, meaning that extends far deeper than the accumulation of facts and technical knowledge. This search for Truth, wherever it might be found, is also what underlies the ecumenical and interfaith spirit of respect that has from the earliest centuries of Christianity recognized “seeds of Truth” in many religions and philosophies.
  2. The Dialogue between Faith and Reason:   Resulting from the Catholic understanding of the primacy of Truth, in the Catholic intellectual tradition, faith and reason, belief and intelligence—these are understood to be partners, not competitors. As many authors on this point have noted, faith and reason are the two wings needed to attain to Truth. Given God’s gift of intelligence or reason as part of what it means to be human, we understand that we are called to use our intellect to pursue Truth, wherever it takes us. To abdicate reason or intelligence in favor of blind or mindless faith is, in this view, an insult to the Creator who gave human beings minds with which to work, and who commanded us in Jesus to “love the Lord our God with all our MINDS” as well as our hearts and souls. On the other hand, we recognize that reason alone can never attain to absolute Truth, which is ultimately God. In light of that fact, the Catholic intellectual tradition has always held that faith adds a deeper dimension to the truths and knowledge of reason. In this tradition, it is faith added to reason that leads to authentic wisdom.
  3. The Need for Moral Values:    In the Catholic intellectual tradition, education has always been understood to involve more than intellectual development. In addition to imparting fact-based knowledge, a Catholic university strives to instill a set of values that characterize a certain worldview. Acquiring both knowledge about these moral values and lived practice in their internalization is part of a “Catholic” education. Though by no means an exhaustive list, the following values are of particular importance:
    • Respect for the sacredness and dignity of human life
    • A commitment to justice, both personal and social
    • Concern for the common good
    • Generosity and a spirit of stewardship that recognizes that what we’ve received from God is meant to be shared with others, especially the needy
    • A spirit of service
  4. The Framework of Prayer and Worship:    Academic work in the Catholic intellectual tradition takes place in an overall context of prayer and the recognition that all human endeavors have an ultimate end: to glorify God, the Creator of all humanity. We understand that teaching is a vocation, a call from God that makes this work far more than a job. We also understand that teaching and learning are in themselves sacred actions, forming us more and more into God’s image. At key moments throughout the academic year, the University explicitly calls the community together to place these activities under God’s guidance and ask that they be transformed into worship. As a result, even in courses and at times that are not explicitly religious, the pursuit of knowledge is always upheld by prayer and the recognition that, whatever we do, there is always the “Something More” beneath, above, and beyond the task of the moment. In our tradition, that “Something More” is God.