Mission and Identity

St. John's Chirch

Creighton University


Creighton University

Creighton is a Catholic and Jesuit comprehensive university committed to excellence in its undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. At Creighton we live this mission and are guided by our identity. You are invited to explore the links at right for a fuller understanding of Creighton University's mission, history, faith, and commitment to community service.

What is a Jesuit University?

The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) are a Catholic, religious order of men best known for establishing schools to educate young men and women. A Jesuit university is one that is established under Jesuit auspices and distinguished by characteristics that the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius, described as:

  • A passion for excellence
  • The study of humanities and sciences
  • Questions of ethics and values for the personal and professional lives of graduates
  • The importance of religious experience for all students
  • Person-centered

There are currently 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States and over 100 Jesuit colleges worldwide.

Who was St. Ignatius?

St. Ignatius was born in 1491 in the Basque country of northern Spain. He was devoted to chivalry and suffered a severe leg wound in battle. During a prolonged convalescence he experienced a profound conversion, and devoted the rest of his life to serving God. Ignatius died in 1556 and was canonized a saint in 1622.

Ignatius left two great legacies. He founded the Society of Jesus in 1540, together with nine companions, and became their first Superior General with headquarters in Rome. He also wrote the Spiritual Exercises, a treatise on prayer. Its genius lies in the method of prayer it teaches, helping those who engage sincerely to follow Jesus and to seek God's will in all circumstances. Today it is the basis for a growing apostolate of retreats and spiritual direction.

What are Charisms?

A "charism" is a grace or talent granted by God to a special person. God granted special graces (or charisms) to St. Ignatius that now help to distinguish the Jesuits. At a Jesuit university, these charisms help to define how we interact with our students, patients, and each other. The most common charisms you will hear discussed in reference to teaching and clinical work are defined below.

Core Charisms
Cura personalis
  • Care for the whole person: body, mind and spirit
  • Dedication to promoting human dignity
  • Being open to and accepting a person's religious, spiritual and cultural development
Faith that Does Justice
  • Seeking justice for all God's creatures, especially the poor and marginalized
  • Working actively for and with the poor, and to be just as active in reflecting on God's presence in their work and their relationships
Finding God in All Things
  • An invitation to spiritually encounter God's beauty in everything we come to know in our lives
  • Accomplished through an ongoing process of personal discernment
Women and Men for and with Others
  • More than just giving and providing service to those in need, but working with or alongside of those we serve to promote solidarity
  • Recognizing that all humans have physical, emotional, and spiritual needs

Many academic areas have selected core charisms that are integral to their mission and the work they do with students. Check out your department's website or talk with your program chair or mentor to learn more. It is important to become familiar with these terms as they are often incorporated into student assignments. For example, students are frequently required to use these terms in their reflective journal entries. Integrating the charisms into a class discussion or course assignment is a good way to draw parallels between Creighton's core values and the work we are preparing students to do after they graduate.

Other Jesuit Terms
  • The practice of critically questioning the work we are doing and reflecting on its effectiveness and impact on others
  • Intentionally reviewing our work to ascertain its effectiveness in reaching the goals we have set
  • The Latin word for "more," pronounced "màh-gis"
  • Recognition that all humans have physical, emotional, and spiritual needs
  • Taken from the motto of the Jesuits, "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam," which is translated as "For the Greater Glory of God"

For more information on the Society of Jesus and the language used at Jesuit universities, see Jesuit A to Z courtesy of Xavier University.

Portions of this content contributed by Father Thomas Bannentine, S.J.