ABOUT THE INSTITUTE

Purpose

Founded on May 24, 2009, the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and placed under the patronage of Mary, Help of Christians, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman and Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, the Saint Lawrence Institute for Faith and Culture is a ministry to higher education.  It is an endeavor that promotes engagement, dialogue and formation that works within the Saint Lawrence Catholic Campus Center which is a ministry of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.   

People from all over the world study and teach at the University of Kansas.  It is one of the primary places in the Midwest and the flagship institution of higher education in the state of Kansas where people from a diversity of cultures, with varying beliefs and ideas meet.  The Institute is a voice of the Church that brings the light of Jesus Christ to campus.  It engages the larger culture, brings the Catholic world view into conversations with the academic community and forms future leaders in the world and in the Church. 

faith and culture

When we speak of faith, we mean the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the gift of the Catholic intellectual, moral, liturgical and spiritual tradition that we have received and are called to pass on to others.  Culture requires further explanation.  The Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes devotes an entire section to the Church's engagement of culture.  It emphasizes the fundamental importance of culture in the full development of the human person, the many ways in which salvation and culture are linked, and the mutual enrichment of the Church and cultures throughout history.  At the beginning of the section, the document offers a definition of culture:  

The word “culture” in its general sense indicates everything whereby man develops and perfects his many bodily and spiritual qualities; he strives by his knowledge and his labor, to bring the world itself under his control.  He renders social life more human both in the family and the civic community, through improvement of customs and institutions. Throughout the course of time he expresses, communicates and conserves in his works, great spiritual experiences and desires that they might be of advantage to the progress of many, even of the whole human family (
GeS 53).

The document recognizes that a person comes to a true and full humanity only through culture and that Christians have an obligation to work with all people to build a more human world.  It goes on to mention specific areas of higher education where people are called to engage and influence culture:  

Furthermore, when man gives himself to the various disciplines of philosophy, history and of mathematical and natural science, and when he cultivates the arts, he can do very much to elevate the human family to a more sublime understanding of truth, goodness, and beauty, and to the formation of considered opinions which have universal value. Thus mankind may be more clearly enlightened by that marvelous Wisdom which was with God from all eternity, composing all things with him, rejoicing in the earth, delighting in the sons of men (GeS 57). 

Literature and the arts are also, in their own way, of great importance to the life of the Church.  They strive to make known the proper nature of man, his problems and his experiences in trying to know and perfect both himself and the world.  They have much to do with revealing man’s place in history and in the world; with illustrating the miseries and joys, the needs and strengths of man and with foreshadowing a better life for him.  Thus they are able to elevate human life, expressed in multifold forms according to various times and regions (
GeS 62).

mission

The mission of the Saint Lawrence Institute for Faith and Culture is to bring the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the larger culture, especially at the University of Kansas.  The Institute engages the larger culture, bringing the truth and beauty of the Catholic tradition into dialogue with others.  It provides formational and educational opportunities for Catholic faculty and staff at KU and forms Catholic students to be leaders in the world and in the Church.  

goals

  1. To facilitate dialogue and engagement within the KU community so that the relationship and dialogue between faith and academic disciplines may be maintained.

  2. To provide formation and education opportunities for the Catholic faculty and staff at KU.

  3. To form Catholic students in the Catholic worldview so that they will go on to become leaders in the world and in the Church, complementing the professional and technical education received at KU with a human formation.

To learn more about the Institute, please consult our Academic Catalog.