Center for Catholic Studies (University of St. Thomas)

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Catholic Studies redirects here. For the university subject, see catholic studies
Sitzmann Hall, home of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas

The Center for Catholic Studies an academic community within the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Center hosts undergraduate and graduate degree programs and three research and training institutes: the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought; the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy; and the Joseph and Edith Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership. It also publishes a theological journal, Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture.[1]

The Catholic Studies undergraduate and graduate programs are interdisciplinary and set Catholic intellectual tradition in the broader context of theology, philosophy, history, literature, and art. The undergraduate Catholic Studies program began in 1993. The Center was founded in 1996 and the Master of Arts program in Catholic Studies was added in 2001. The Center, which is housed in Sitzmann Hall on the University of St. Thomas campus, also holds periodic lectures including the Joseph and Edith Habiger artist-and scholar-in-residence program series.

Undergraduate program[edit]

Catholic Studies is available as either a major or minor at the University of St. Thomas. The majority of Catholic Studies students have a second major in one of the more than 90 fields of study at UST. Recent students have completed double-majors in business, journalism, education, psychology, and philosophy. Currently there are over 250 Catholic Studies majors and minors on the University of St. Thomas campus.

Cloister of the Convent of Saints Dominic and Sixtus, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas

Study abroad in Rome[edit]

The Bernardi Residence in Rome

University of St. Thomas students with a Catholic Studies major or minor may study for one semester or a full academic year, taking courses (in English) at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy. Each course focuses on several aspects of Catholic thought and culture, and includes both lectures and site visits around the city. Students also take a non-credit Italian language and culture class and are encouraged to do volunteer work with communities such as the Missionaries of Charity, the Little Sisters of the Poor, or the Community of Sant’Egidio.[2]

The Bernardi Residence[edit]

While in Rome, Center for Catholic Studies students live in community at the St. Thomas Bernardi Residence at Lungotevere delle Armi 16, on the Tiber River. Originally built as a private estate in 1923, the building was purchased by an order of Spanish nuns in the 1950s. It was completely restored and refurbished in 1999 when it was purchased by the university.[3] The Luisa and Dante Seghiere Chapel is on the main floor of the residence. The chaplain offers Mass each Wednesday evening in the chapel as part of the weekly community night. In addition to his pastoral duties, the chaplain also leads one weekend retreat each semester at the Casa Divin Maestro retreat house on Lake Albano in Italy.

A student receives a blessing from Pope John Paul II

Postgraduate studies[edit]

The Center has two postgraduate degree programs:

Graduate students may also study for a semester in Rome, taking courses that apply toward their degree.

John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought[edit]

Named for the moral theologian, priest, and social justice advocate John Augustine Ryan, the Ryan Institute focuses on three programs:

  • Catholic social thought and management, which has seminars, conferences, publications, and research programs on the relationship between Catholic social thought and management education and practice.
  • Catholic Social Teaching and Education, which supports Catholic school teachers (K-12) as well as Catholic university faculty seeking to integrate the Church's social mission into their work.
  • Catholic Social Thought and Community Outreach, which was inspired by Catholic activist Peter Maurin who sought to bridge the gap between workers and scholars. The program offers Latino Leadership Scholarships for Latino students dedicated to community service.

Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy[edit]

Named for Terrence J. Murphy, who was president of the University of St. Thomas from 1966 to 1991 and subsequently served as its chancellor until his death in 2004, the Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy is a collaboration between the Center for Catholic Studies and the School of Law at the University of St. Thomas. The institute explores the various interactions between law and Catholic thought on topics ranging from workers' rights to criminal law to marriage and family.

Joseph and Edith Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership[edit]

Established by Monsignor James Habiger in honor of his parents, Joseph and Edith Habiger,[4] the Institute for Catholic Leadership fosters spiritual and leadership development in academia, the Church, and in civil and professional life through six programs:

  • The Leadership Intern Program
  • Catholic Studies Community Living: Men's and Women's Households
  • The Latino Leadership Program
  • Professional Leadership Formation
  • Catholic Studies Scholars
  • Postdoctoral Fellows


  1. ^ Couple gives St. Thomas $2.5 million Pinney, Gregor W. Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), July 18, 1996
  2. ^ St. Thomas branches out - to Rome; Students will be immersed in a scenic, historic setting near the Vatican, Lonetree, Anthony, Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), November 19, 1999
  3. ^ St. Thomas to Establish Campus in Rome: University Buys Residential Estate Near the Vatican St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN), November 19, 1999, Page 4B
  4. ^ University of St. Thomas News Service (June 9, 2011). "WCCO Radio will name Monsignor James Habiger a 'Good Neighbor' tomorrow"

External links[edit]