Catholic Intellectual Tradition

  • Catholic Intellectual Tradition at Carlow University - Interior shot of St. Agnes Center a PHLF Landmark

    The mission and identity of Carlow University as a Catholic, women-centered institution of higher education has its deep roots in Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

    Catholic Intellectual Tradition rises out of the Catholic Church’s understanding that nature and history hold the potential to reveal God, or more precisely, that God is revealed in and through every element of nature and in the events and planning of history. Because of this fundamental belief, experiment and research, scholarship and artistic expression, teaching and learning, reflection and service are seen as ways in which we come to know the breadth and depth of God’s presence and revelation in the world. One author uses the phrase “sacramental beholders”(1) to describe this approach to Catholic Intellectual Tradition. The term “sacramental” refers to a visible reality that reveals a deeper, invisible reality. By beholding nature and history as “sacramental,” that is, as holding the potential to reveal God, Catholic institutions of higher education engage in a process of revelation and discovery of the way God’s presence unfolds deep truth in nature and justice in history, all of this in an on going search for what is true, what is good, and how justice comes about.

    Because everything in nature and history holds the potential to reveal God, it stand to reason that women and women’s experience then hold the potential to reveal truth and justice through the revelation of God in women and their experience. When Carlow describes itself as Catholic, women-centered, we mean that these are the primary lenses through which we approach experiment and research, scholarship and artistic expression, teaching and learning, reflection and service. Carlow’s foundation for this reaches back through Catholic Intellectual Tradition and the charism (unique gift to the Church and world) and mission of the Sisters of Mercy.

    1 Michael Himes, as quoted in The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: Some characteristics, implications and future directions, by Anthony J. Cernera and Oliver J. Morgan, in Examining the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, edit. Anthony J. Cernera and Oliver J. Morgan, Fairfield, CN: Sacred Heart University Press, 2000 (204)