Benedictine Identity

The Benedictine wisdom tradition is an expression of the Catholic intellectual tradition. This tradition was inaugurated by Saint Benedict, a sixth-century monk, who wrote a rule for communal living known for its humanity, balance, and moderation. The Benedictine way of life is animated by Christ who is encountered in Scripture, in the human person, and in the Rule of Benedict as it is lived in community. Thus, the Benedictine tradition is very much a living tradition. The members of our monastic communities provide ongoing witness to the values, including hospitality, community, and stewardship that distinguish Benedictine wisdom. Inspired by this living witness, these schools strive to “listen with the ear of the heart,” as the Rule directs, to the needs of each member of our communities. Benedictine education calls for a lively interplay between rigorous thinking and the development of practices for right living.

CSB and SJU prioritize community building, the awareness that we are part of a larger ecology, and the just and sustainable use of resources. At the same time, there is a high level of respect for individual persons here. Living in community forms us to embrace difference and provides opportunities for mutual support. Ultimately, the education that is shaped by our Benedictine values sets its sights on the transformation of the human mind and heart. It encourages an active sense of belonging to our campuses and to our larger world community.

Two ways in which a specifically Benedictine identity can be seen at our colleges are:

  • Benedictines understand both the benefit and the challenge of living in community.
    There is a high level of respect for individuality here. Individuality and diversity are essential for an environment of growth and support. Thus, there are a number of opportunities for faculty and students to speak and eat together, to read books and discuss issues together. All of these foster an active sense of belonging to both a campus and a larger world community.
  • Benedictines take a vow of stability, leading to a “sense of place.”
    This place is honored as home, therefore great respect and care is taken of both the buildings and the natural setting. The arboretum and wetlands, the woodland trails and the campuses themselves are all cared for and maintained: faculty and students are involved in this care. Stability also leads to continued long-term relationships among faculty and students.