At Brescia University, education is about more than receiving a diploma; it is about making a difference. It is the foundation of who we are as a Catholic, liberal arts education institution. When people ask me what makes a University “Catholic,” I tell them that we take the words of Jesus very seriously, specifically his command to love.
Brescia University is focused on producing servant leaders whose lives exemplify leadership capabilities balanced with the responsibility of service. It is what we call the Brescia Difference: Respect for the Sacred; Devotion to Learning; Commitment to Growth in Virtue; and Promotion of Servant Leadership. The Latin word for love is Caritas and the effort to find meaning in this call to love is often called “Caritas Theology.” In 2015, I attended a conference at the Vatican on the theme of Caritas. Afterwards, I was invited to find ways to include Caritas Theology into our Social Work curriculum. While Caritas Theology has a long history in Europe, there has not been a significant presence in U.S. Catholic Higher Education. Brescia was happy to embrace this effort but because the call to love is universal we decided not to stop with our social work program but to look for ways to integrate the notion of Caritas into the broader life of our University. Caritas theology has become a central part of Brescia’s mission and we are guided by three overarching outcomes: Identity. Our students will discover and understand their Christian identity in their vocation to love. Knowledge. Our students will gain theological knowledge about the meaning of the vocation to love. Action. Our students will act on this vocation to love with service. These outcomes will frame all of our efforts that shape our Catholic identity, including the regular celebration of the sacraments, our required theology and philosophy courses, and the numerous campus ministry events.