Center for Catholic Studies (University of St. Thomas)

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The Catholic Studies Project: An Overview[edit]

As the oldest and largest project of its kind in the world, Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas is recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally. Catholic Studies helps students, staff, faculty, and the Catholic community cultivate a rich interdisciplinary Catholic vision at the crossroads of faith and reason, spirituality and action, and Catholic thought and secular life.

Sitzmann Hall, home of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas

The project involves active and productive campus citizens, generating:

  • More than 120 lectures, debates, seminars and other events over the last five years;
  • A strong publication record of books, articles, essays and presentations of national significance;
  • Twenty years of faculty development seminars;
  • A unique study abroad program at UST's Bernardi Campus in Rome.
Catholic Studies redirects here. For the university subject, see catholic studies

Integration Within the University of St. Thomas[edit]

The Center for Catholic Studies and the Department of Catholic Studies are part of UST's College of Arts and Sciences. It maintains a special relationship with the School of Law, the Opus College of Business, Campus Ministry and the St. John Vianney Seminary.

The Center and Department also have collaborated with a wide variety of units across the campus including the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, the Family Business Center, the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, Academic Affairs, the Aquinas Chair of Theology and Philosophy, the Luann Dummer Center for Women and student clubs, and a number of academic departments.

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

The Project: Department and Center[edit]

The Catholic Studies project at the University of St. Thomas is composed of a department and a center, which have distinct roles but are complementary in relationship.

Department of Catholic Studies*[edit]

The Department of Catholic Studies is responsible for undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The department also manages study-abroad programs, recruiting and admissions, scholarships and fellowships, social activities for students, and alumni relations.

  • Catholic Studies is the largest humanities major at the University of St. Thomas with 300 majors and minors.
  • 80 percent of Catholic Studies majors also have a second major.
  • 60 percent of Catholic Studies majors and minors have graduated with honors.
  • 30 percent of Catholic Studies students are also in St. John Vianney minor seminary.
  • UST offers the only master's degree in Catholic Studies in the world.
  • UST also offers a joint Catholic Studies/law degree.
  • More than 100 master's students have graduated from the program.
  • More than 70 master's students are currently pursuing their degrees.

*Information reflects the 2013-2014 academic year.

Center for Catholic Studies[edit]

The Center for Catholic Studies oversees the work of three major institutes and a quarterly journal as well as lectures and faculty development programs:

  • The John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought
  • The Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy
  • The Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership
  • Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture

The Center creates a rich environment in which students, faculty, and staff engage, study, and integrate the Church's intellectual, spiritual, moral, and social contributions to human culture. Some of its activities include:

  • Faculty development programs (a Catholic Intellectual Tradition seminar for new faculty, a Mission Driven Seminar for Opus College of Business and summer seminars for faculty across the university).
  • A series of "Hot Topics: Cool Talks" debating topics such as religious liberty, immigration reform, and redefining marriage.
  • A variety of research projects (for the Holy See Mission to the UN in Geneva, for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and with other Catholic universities).
  • Publications (its quarterly journal, Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, has been published for 18 years with 500 essays viewed more than a quarter of a million times through Project Muse).
  • A variety of student leadership retreats, formation programs, and professional mentorships.

Over 70 percent of the Center's activities are funded through endowments, annual donations, foundations, and grants.

Rome Program: The Bernardi Campus[edit]

The Bernardi campus hosts a semester-long experience integrating academic study, cultural engagement, spiritual formation, and community living. About 30-35 Catholic Studies students study in Rome each semester. About two-thirds of majors and minors will spend a semester in Rome. Students take classes at the Angelicum, the Dominican university in Rome where Pope St. John Paul II earned his doctorate. A highlight of the program is Wednesday Community Night, which includes liturgy, dinner, and often a prominent guest. The students also study art and architecture, go on guided excursions throughout Italy, and have opportunities to serve the poor in Rome. Funded by the Bernardi family in 2000, the Bernardi Campus gives the Catholic Studies Abroad program a permanent residence in Rome.

A student receives a blessing from Pope John Paul II

Impact on the University, Church, and World[edit]

With close to 1,000 alumni, Catholic Studies students have become leaders in the Church and the world:

  • Many are physicians, attorneys, engineers, scientists, professors, business leaders, principals, and teachers.
  • Over 100 have been ordained to the priesthood.
  • Over 20 women have entered religious life.

The University of St. Thomas Catholic Studies project has been a model for new Catholic Studies programs at over 90 universities worldwide.

The Catholic Studies project has committed donors. It currently has a $15 million endowment, and 55.2 percent of Catholic Studies alumni have donated to the program since its creation in 1992.

The Catholic Studies Project in Summary[edit]

  • Forms students in the Catholic tradition, with an emphasis on the unity of faith and reason, prayer, and action.
  • Serves as an effective interdisciplinary instrument to support the renewal of Catholic universities.
  • Fosters a strong relationship between UST and the local, national, and universal Church.
  • Engages professional issues and concerns, especially in the fields of law, education, and business.
  • Has a committed and loyal donor and alumni base.


External links[edit]