Religiously Focused Schools
By Debra Holtz
Media Relations Officer, Saint Mary's College
Religiously focused schools are guided by the understanding that the
intellectual and spiritual journeys of the human person are inextricably
connected. They strive to build a community of learners with a strong code of
ethics and a commitment to justice. Higher education is viewed not only as a
means to achieve success, but to prepare students to make the ethical and moral
decisions they will encounter in their lives. The goal of the professor at
religiously affiliated colleges is not just for his or her students to master
the material, but to help them become more reflective.
Traditionally, non-secular schools encourage an understanding of the whole
person so that the educational experience is truly transformative. The
spiritual dimension of religiously focused schools enriches the liberal arts
tradition of fostering critical thinking and a desire for lifelong learning.
Faculty and students seek not merely facts but fundamental principles, strive
for an integration of all knowledge, and express themselves precisely and
eloquently. In strong educational programs focusing on the classics, students
learn the wisdom gained through history, wisdom that they can later use to
benefit society. Retreats also give students the opportunity to explore the
connection between faith and everyday life.
The schools promote the dialogue of faith and reason by building
community among their members, defending the goodness, dignity and
freedom of each person, and fostering sensitivity to social and
ethical concerns. Toward the goal of creating a student-centered
educational community, these schools welcome members from other
religious faiths, inviting them to collaborate in fulfilling the
spiritual mission of the college.
A commitment to the poor is at the heart of many religiously focused
schools. Students, faculty and administrators often come from diverse
social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. A distinctive mark of most
religiously focused schools is their awareness of the consequences of
economic and social injustice. Community service opportunities help to
promote that awareness. A commitment to improving the lives of others
who are less fortunate often continues long after graduation for many
About the School
Saint Mary's College
of California, founded in 1863, is a residential learning community based in
the Catholic, Lasallian
and liberal arts traditions
. An outstanding faculty brings these
traditions to life. The College enrolls 2,494 traditional undergraduates and
more than 2,000 students in adult education and graduate programs. The
Christian Brothers, the largest teaching order of the Roman Catholic Church,
guides the academic growth and spiritual character of the school.
is located in Moraga, 20 miles east of San Francisco.