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Vision of Our Catholic and Mercy Identity

Saint Xavier University, founded and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, extends the teaching ministry of Jesus Christ to those seeking higher education. As an officially recognized ministry of the Catholic Church*, the University grounds its core activities of teaching, learning, scholarship, and service in Catholic theological principles that affirm the goodness and value of all creation and posit a view of human persons as created in the image of God and thus free, rational, relational and endowed with inherent dignity.

As a Catholic university, Saint Xavier University challenges all the members of its community to search for truth, especially religious truth, and to engage in a dialogue between faith and reason that ultimately leads toward the contemplation of God’s creation and social action for the common good. This search for truth demands careful observation, critical analysis, vigorous debate, personal and communal theological reflection, and ethical and engaged decision-making leading toward a life that respects both the inherent dignity of another and the worth of all creation. Setting the context for the search for truth, the University encourages its community, especially its students, to become familiar with the richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition and the imperatives of Catholic social teaching. Respecting academic freedom, the University strives to be a place where the vigorous discussion of ideas can occur, especially as they relate to its mission as a Catholic university. In the spirit of respectful and critical discourse, the University welcomes the breadth of the Catholic tradition as well as the voices of other religious and non-religious communities.

As a Mercy university, Saint Xavier University challenges its community members to teach, learn, research, and act not only for themselves but also for others. Thus, a seminal characteristic of the University is its commitment to service. Ideally, such service, whether direct or through the University’s efforts to understand and remediate unjust systems, reflects the spirituality of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy. This spirituality is grounded in the theology of the Incarnation, animated by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and expressed through acts of compassion that embody the spiritual and corporal works of mercy**. In particular, the University community expresses special concern for those who are economically poor, especially women and children. In so doing, the University goes beyond simply passive expressions of heartfelt concern, and even willingness to stand with those who suffer. It seeks to right what is wrong and restore what is broken, thereby promoting human dignity, justice and the common good.

Saint Xavier University signifies and celebrates its Catholic and Mercy heritage in its symbolic, sacramental and liturgical expressions, and in its communal and collegial ethos. The University offers many opportunities to reflect, pray, worship and access the sacraments. It symbolizes its rich faith tradition through the appropriate placement of religious symbols and artwork. Further, it observes liturgical seasons and feasts central to its Catholic and Mercy heritage, and provides orientation and mentoring programs that educate the community about this identity.

Recognizing that the search for God and the celebration of God’s presence is ubiquitous, the University provides opportunities for those of other faith traditions and those on a personal journey of faith to study, to express, to worship, to celebrate and to discuss their religious beliefs in a climate that is respectful, hospitable and open to all.

To summarize, offering the opportunity for higher education within a Catholic and Mercy context, Saint Xavier University honors Jesus Christ whom it recognizes as ?the Way, the Truth, and the Life,? the motto of the University inscribed on its coat of arms.

Approved by the Board of Trustees - March 30, 2008

*In its governance, Saint Xavier University is a Catholic and Mercy institution because its sponsors, the Sisters of Mercy, hold certain ?reserved powers? consonant with their canonical (Church) and civil responsibilities for the University. These ?reserved powers? are outlined in the University’s articles and bylaws, and with limited exceptions, are exercised on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy by the Conference for Mercy Higher Education. It is through this governance relationship with the Sisters of Mercy that Saint Xavier University is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a Catholic institution and ministry.
**Based largely on the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, the works of mercy are as follows. Spiritual Works of Mercy: Instruct the ignorant. Counsel the doubtful. Comfort the sorrowful. Admonish the sinner. Bear wrongs patiently. Forgive all injuries. Pray for the living and the dead. Corporal Works of Mercy: Feed the hungry. Give drink to the thirsty. Clothe the naked. Shelter the homeless. Visit the sick. Visit the imprisoned. Bury the dead.
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