I MMA C U L ATA MA G A Z I N E * F A L L 2 0 1 3
The most easily recognized feature of the Immaculata campus
—the impressive dome crowned by an image of Mary, patroness of
the University—stands as a symbol of the marriage of the sacred
and secular which is a fundamental definition of a Catholic uni-
versity. Yet, important as symbols can be in the ordering of faith
and reason, Catholic identity is a culture—not simply a system of
At Immaculata, Catholic identity is the intangible, yet real,
atmosphere in which the daily exercises of study, action and reflec-
tion occur. The University culture is rooted in both the teaching
ministry of the Church and the vision of charismatic women who
understood that true education is an intellectual journey that leads
to God. In this tradition, Immaculata affirms the value of inquiry
and the human search for meaning that honors the dignity of every
person, regardless of origin or ability.
The Catholic intellectual tradition is ultimately a search for
truth. It is a spiritual quest common to every academic discipline.
Thus, even the practical and technical programs that are increas-
ingly part of every university are legitimate attempts to discover
truth. Because God is absolute truth, no study, whether liberal or
practical arts, lies outside the tradition. Reason and faith are not
opposed to one another; they exist in a creative tension that chal-
lenges the student to ponder the mysteries of God’s providence.
If a university is to be more than a professional school, however,
religious discourse must interact with other modes of inquiry
because, as Cardinal Newman proposed, specialization needs a
common integrating vision.
Thus, the sacramental dimension of
Catholic identity draws faculty, staff and students at Immacu-
lata to celebrate, through liturgy, the centrality of God’s place in
In the ordinary round of classes, sports and leisure, the
foundational search for truth is often obscured by routine, even
when daily reminders meet the eye in natural beauty and in the
religious art that graces every campus building. Nature, art and
ceremony become signs of the many ways of knowing and integrat-
ing learning with living, yet these expressions of beauty or of faith
are often passed without notice. Remarkably, even daily routine is
By: Sister Marie Hubert Kealy, IHM, Ph.D.
Newman, John Henry. The Idea of a University. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame P, 1982, 150.