Catholic Identity

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University are Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts colleges founded and enriched by Saint Benedict's Monastery and Saint John's Abbey, respectively. These academic communities are dedicated to the intellectual, spiritual and ethical formation of all their members, and to academic excellence in the search for truth. The founding and ongoing inspiration of these institutions is the Catholic intellectual tradition, in the context of Benedictine values and spirituality.

The intellectual life of these campuses embodies and affirms the harmony of faith and reason in addition to the dignity of each person, both of which are central to the Catholic tradition. There is a profound commitment to exploring how faith and reason are mutually enriching and challenging in understanding the human condition and in the full development of the human person. As Catholic and Benedictine, we support and actively encourage freedom and enthusiasm for exploring the truths of faith, for intellectual and scientific inquiry of all types and for active dialogue about the interactions among these. Members of the two learning communities are challenged and encouraged to integrate the skills of the academic life with a life of faith.

The Catholic intellectual tradition has developed over the centuries, enriched by resources and debates which have arisen from both within and without. This tradition has long held that truth is too vast for any one tradition to fully encompass it. Thus, those who stand in other faith traditions are no strangers here and are cordially invited to witness to the truth as they see it. There is a place here also for those who do not consider themselves a part of any religious tradition, but who devote themselves with passion and integrity to their disciplines, learning, teaching and to the search for truth. The Catholic identity of these schools is more than just a matter of religious sponsorship or the personal faith of some members of the intellectual community, important as these are. It is a home for intellectual and personal engagement with the ideas and traditions of Catholic culture and thought. It is also and equally an identity that commits itself to and practices Benedictine hospitality and an ecumenical welcome extending to all who enter the intellectual community as persons of principle and seekers of truth.