Each individual who I have met at the Brother David Darst Center in Chicago, where I’m fulfilling my Valder Social Justice award, has shared a part of their story with me. Often I find that this story is dramatically different from the stories the media tells—not to mention, it has forced me to look at my own biases, prejudices, and tendencies to stereotype others. Ultimately, I have learned that in order to make any lasting change, any systemic change, I cannot just know about a person—I have to know them. Hannah Way (’15 ) Rockford, Illinois
St. John Paul II described reason and faith as the “two wings” by which we ascend to truth. Members of the Loras community consistently bring the resources of reason and faith to bear on aspects of our world and on ultimate questions concerning God and human destiny. Critical inquiry is joined to a sense of wonder, all the while believing, as Charlene Becicka poetically instructs, that no single thing is “created without reason,” for even a moth is “made to grace the night.” We are not afraid to go wherever evidence leads us, since ultimately, “truth cannot contradict truth.”
- The Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders program selects 15 first year students each year who commit themselves to studying the Catholic intellectual tradition on human dignity and human rights, character, vocation, leadership, conversion and social responsibility. Students in this program apply their studies by developing service and spiritual initiatives within the Loras and wider communities, and they enjoy a study abroad opportunity in their junior year.
- Catholic Studies explores Catholicism as an intellectual, social, and cultural phenomenon. The Catholic Studies minor enables students to explore manifestations of Catholicism in theology, philosophy, history, politics, economics, literature, science, and the arts.
- The Peace and Justice minor also draws from various academic disciplines. It includes such courses as Ethical Considerations in Criminal Justice; Social Inequality; Race & Ethnicity; Issues in Environmental Biology; The Working Poor; Arab-Israeli Conflict/Peace in Israel & Palestine; Conflict Resolution; Cross-Cultural Psychology; Sociology of Education; Asset Mapping Iowa Latinos; The Sustainable Community; Modern Brazilian History; Literature of Oppression and Resistance; and Issues in Christian Ethics.
- Over 15 courses have been designed to incorporate Catholic social teaching as a core component in the course. Thus students encounter Catholic social teaching across the curriculum in courses in English, math, history, criminal justice, computing and information technology, social work, education, and sociology.
- Students can choose from an evolving cycle of January term and semester-long study abroad opportunities, such as Martyrs, Mendicants and Masterpieces, and Philosophy the Rise of Christianity in Italy; The Way of St. James pilgrimage in Spain; and Celtic and Roman Christianity in the British Isles. Study away travel opportunities include The March for Life in Washington, D.C.; La Frontera: The Latino Experience at the U.S.-Mexican border; Teaching for Social Justice in Chicago; and Gandhi the Interfaith Peace-builder in India.
- The Alpha Chapter of Delta Epsilon Sigma (ΔEΣ), the National Catholic Honor Society, was founded by a Loras College faculty member, Father E.A. Fitzgerald, in 1939. There are now over 100 chapters in the U.S. With the Loras English program, the Loras chapter of DES co-sponsors The Limestone Review, an annual publication of student literary and scholarly work.
- The Cardinal O’Connor Endowed Chair for Catholic Thought is awarded annually to a faculty member to pursue a special project engaging the Catholic tradition. Awards have resulted in the publication of books and monographs, the organization of symposia, and a musical production of the Gospel of Mark.
“Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.” Proverbs 4:13