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The Catholic Identity of Marymount

Catholicism is very deeply rooted in the identity of Marymount University and is part of its very essence. As a university founded by the Religious Sacred Heart of Mary, an order of Catholic nuns, religious faith is intertwined into many Marymount traditions. These traditions include the weekly theological talk “Food for the Soul,” athlete’s bible study, the non-denominational Christian worship service, Ignite, and more. Last week, the Campus Ministry Association started hosting mass in the residence halls on Thursday nights.

Through these various programs, students can explore the ideas mankind has grappled with for centuries and also reflect on their own lives in order to improve themselves, and their faith in God. These opportunities also offer students a chance to grow in fellowship within the Marymount community.

As for academics, the theology and philosophy core curriculum requirements are part of the hallmark of a Marymount education.  Within the classroom, the Catholic tradition prevails. Faith and reason do not contradict one another.  They are in harmony. The Marymount curriculum explores all facets of life because the study of life helps us understand our Creator. 

There are many opportunities to celebrate Christianity at Marymount.   Father Jack Peterson, assistant chaplain at Marymount, remarked, “One great benefit of attending a Catholic university like Marymount is that we strive to form the whole person.  In addition to passing on knowledge of the arts and sciences, preparing students to work in the global economy, encouraging healthy living, and providing numerous ways to develop social skills, Marymount desires to nourish the hearts and souls of her students by helping them to encounter God and the gift of His most amazing Son, Jesus Christ. Our souls need to be nourished as much as our minds and our bodies.  A Catholic university should be focused on that reality.”

Dr. Matthew Shank, Marymount’s president, created a new way of marketing Marymount University to the public through creating the common ground campaign in 2012. The main three platforms of this campaign are intellectual curiosity, service to others, and a global perspective. These platforms support the reputation of the university. They are based on Catholicism’s intellectual tradition, emphasis on good works, and its universality. Marymount teaches students a skill-set for not only the professional world, but also a mind-set to strive to do good for the sake of furthering humanity’s development. The common ground campaign signifies Marymount as a place where individuals of different backgrounds can come together to learn.  There is no question that most students at Marymount have been very inspired by the “common ground” campaign. 

As the third most diverse university in the southern region of the United States, Marymount students are not cookie-cutter people.  We have many differences, yet one of the great unifying aspects is the Catholic tradition, which emphasizes universality and tolerance.  Even non-Catholics like the Catholic traditions because one of those traditions is to respect the faiths of others and seek to find those values which unite mankind.  Common ground!

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