The Jesuit University: Are We Jesuit or Are We University?
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Catherine MahernAssociate professor and director,Creighton University's Abrahams Legal Clinic, Creighton U. School of LawHeartland IIIMay 23, 2000In mulling over ideas for our presentation for today, both Larry Raful and I found that we had many experiences that exposed a conflict with the perceived mission of the University. Although it is impossible to determine a seamless definition of our mission and our Jesuit identity, we do know one thing: we are all human, and flawed, and sometimes we will fail our mission.My perspective of the Catholic nature of the "Catholic" University stems, in part, from my own history. My upbringing was so Catholic as to be a caricature. I was one of ten children. There was Catholic elementary and high school for us all. The rosary was said often. Each December we had an Advent calendar and the Advent wreath and candles. I gave up candy every Lent. I distinctly recall the middle-of-the night awakenings to go with my father to the far side of town to our old parish, St. Catherine's, for perpetual adoration, for which my father would sign up for those hours that no one else wanted. There were the pagan babies we adopted and named for deceased loved ones. Of course there was church on every Sunday and holy day of obligation, where I often had a tissue bobby-pinned to my head because I forgot my mantilla. I remember us hauling the big statue of Mary down to the entranceway of our house every May, and surrounding it with ant-infested peonies, and crowing the Virgin Mary with one of my mother's gaudier bracelets. My mother was a writer for the Criterion, the local Catholic newspaper (writing, of course about the only subject acceptable, that being the wonders of raising a large family). And did I mention dysfunctional?