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Union of Hearts and Minds

Book Offers Introduction to Creighton’s Spiritual Tradition

When Creighton students came to campus this fall, a small book mysteriously appeared among their “Welcome to Creighton” items.

Well, maybe not so mysteriously.

The Union of Minds and Hearts: Celebrating the Spiritual Roots of Creighton University, An Introduction for Newcomers is the brainchild of Creighton Director of Campus Ministry and biblical theologian Laura A. Weber, Ph.D., who long has wanted to welcome new Creighton students – and, for that matter, anyone new to the Creighton enterprise.

Offering newcomers a solid introduction to Creighton’s spiritual tradition, Weber adds, must acquaint them with “the enduring Ignatian legacy of educating students as ‘agents for change,’ and even the Latin lingo that accompanies it.”

A collection of essays by 20 Creighton Jesuits and lay partners, The Union of Minds and Hearts is meant to fit easily into backpack or briefcase, but not to stay unopened.

The anthology, Weber says, offers a concise introduction to Creighton’s founding vision, a brief recounting of the life and educational endeavors of St. Ignatius of Loyola, an exploration of Ignatian spirituality as it applies to the University context, and a celebration of Ignatius’ quest to “find God in all things,” along with his motto, “Ad majorem Dei gloriam (A.M.D.G.),” “for the greater glory of God.”

The Creighton authors who collaborated on this introduction wanted to welcome newcomers into the community and familiarize them with Creighton’s Ignatian world-view. Weber says, “With this book we are saying, ‘Here, this is what is central to us as we go about this mission of higher education. This is what we think makes Creighton a fantastic Catholic, Jesuit (Ignatian) university. This is why we are giving our lives to this enterprise, and hope you will grow to cherish it as we do.’”

With a preface by Creighton President, the Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., newcomers can read the President’s view of the University’s pedagogical ethos, and the tradition of Catholic humanism that resides at its heart. “All issues and questions should be considered and explored at a Catholic university that is dedicated to the quest for truth,” Schlegel says. Weber affirms that at Creighton, “the pursuit of Truth in all its forms” is celebrated in its various academic disciplines, and says Ignatius viewed the university as “a place where a dialogue is promoted between faith and reason, culture and creed.” As theologian Fr. Dennis Hamm, S.J. notes, “Within the university, the disciplines of natural and social sciences and the enterprise of faith seeking understanding (theology) can productively coexist.”

Weber also highlights the symbiotic relationship between intellectual formation and faith formation, noting that a comprehensive Ignatian education will undoubtedly have a profound impact on one’s critical reflection about faith, and lead students to life commitments tied to service and justice. Maria Teresa Gaston and Ken Reed-Bouley of Creighton’s Center for Service and Justice agree that “In the Creighton community, we are invited and challenged to integrate action for justice with contemplation on the goodness of God.” The two go hand-in-hand. As Dr. Roger Bergman puts it, “Education for justice is not an add-on or an option: it is at the heart of Jesuit education and Ignatian pedagogy.”

Drawing newcomers into the mission of this Catholic and Jesuit (Ignatian) university, the authors hope to inspire colleagues and students from the first page. Creighton is “a place where being a lifelong learner is central,” says Weber, where we are to “allow Truth to guide us in our service to others.” Dr. Gail Jensen, Dean of the Graduate School, remarks, “Creighton students are challenged to integrate all ways of learning and growing. This requires melding the cognitive and technical aspects of your discipline with habits of your heart,” and it requires professionals “to provide leadership in helping to build a more just society.”

Weber says such a comprehensive educational journey can “ruin you for life,” although, she adds, “it is hoped in the best way, the way it has ‘ruined’ many of us at this school.”

The book’s authors also point to Creighton’s celebration of diversity in welcoming students and colleagues of all faith traditions who call Creighton “home,” like long-time professor of Political Science, Dr. Bette Novit Evans. Evans says, “Creighton has helped me learn who I am, and enabled me to flourish as a Jew, as a wife and mother, as a scholar, as a teacher – and as a member of this wonderful campus community.”

All Creighton community members share a common mission - a “union of minds and hearts” - to stand in solidarity with those who suffer in the world today. “We are called to be God’s hands, feet, eyes and ears everywhere we go. We are challenged to be ‘agents for change’ in a world desperately in need of healing and new life.” Our Ignatian education and our faith require nothing less than our full commitment to serving others with the magnanimity of God. In our fidelity to living out that commitment, we reflect God’s glory. That is why we love Creighton, where we can be people who desire the “magis” – “more” – and try to live it in all we do - A.M.D.G.

For ordering information, readers should contact the Creighton Bookstore at 402-280-2796.