More than 300 years ago, Saint John Baptist de La Salle inaugurated a new approach to education. At the heart of this approach, which has come to be known as Lasallian Catholic education, is the formation of the whole student. As a Lasallian Catholic university, Saint Mary’s continues this effort through our mission to awaken, nurture, and empower learners to ethical lives of service and leadership.
Living a life of ethical service and leadership relies on intense inquiry, critical thinking, analytical skills, and civil discourse — all in the pursuit of the truth. It means being willing to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason in the right way because it is an expression of real goodness.
It involves action by responding with goodness to affect change that benefits individuals, communities, and societies.
Watch an excerpt from Rev. James P. Burns’, IVD, Ph.D.: Inaugural Address.
The first priority of our strategic plan, Building a Future Full of Hope, is centered on understanding and living our Lasallian Catholic Heritage more fully. As Lasallian Catholics, we are called to love God and neighbor in all we do. One way we respond to this call is through fostering inclusion while honoring and upholding the dignity of each person. As Pope Francis reminds us, “God has created all human beings equal in rights, duties, and dignity.”
We have made progress, but, as imperfect human beings, work remains for Saint Mary’s, our communities, and our nation in our pursuit of lasting peace and greater justice. At Saint Mary’s, we pursue these means through education in our Lasallian Catholic tradition. We commit to what the Prophet Micah (6:8) instructs “… to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” and thereby respecting and affirming the dignity of each person.”
Jesus Christ’s message is the source from which comes all the principles of the process of Lasallian education. His message, centered on love and forgiveness, is the irresistible force that touches hearts and transforms history. Jesus preaches the truth, teaches us how to love one another, to always forgive and show the merciful face of God who welcomes, heals, and restores. His simple questioning and detached life has taught us that the greatest treasure is the value of life, the most important commandment is love, the best commitment is solidarity, and the greatest grace is generous service.
Our collective work is founded in truth, goodness, and beauty, which centers our vision for a just world.
God bless you!
The Rev. James P. Burns, IVD, Ph.D.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota