Our Catholic Identity
A Catholic college is a community bound together by a common love, the love of knowledge in all its dimensions and depths. In love, a Catholic college dedicates itself to the cause of truth and the joy of its discovery in every field of knowledge believing the words of Jesus Christ, “The truth will set you free.”
Donnelly College invites students on a journey of freely searching for and discovering the truth, goodness, and beauty of all things illumined by the light of the One who made them. As a Catholic college, Donnelly focuses on the whole person – academically, spiritually and socially – so that our students might become the best version of themselves; that is, so that they might become saints.
At a Catholic college everything is connected. At many colleges today, a student’s course of studies is fragmented within a maze of specializations. Donnelly students participate in a holistic and unified liberal arts curriculum within which they can explore various areas of interest.
Here, faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit can rise to the contemplation of truth. Each course in the curriculum naturally opens to the big questions of life; while courses in theology give students the opportunity to explore these questions in their infinite and mysterious depths through the light of revelation in Jesus Christ.
Ex Corde Ecclessiae
The Catholic vision of higher education is expressed in St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclessiae. Here the saint pope provides guidance regarding the nature and purpose of a Catholic college. He says that a Catholic college is “a living union of individual organisms dedicated to the search for truth” and that its “privileged task is to unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth.”
Donnelly College joyfully accepts this privileged task and through the union of faith and reason dedicates itself to the search for truth believing that all truth coheres in Christ, the Logos in the flesh. All Donnelly faculty fully adhere to the vision of Catholic higher education articulated in Ex Corde Ecclesiae and affirm that “all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching.” Additionally, they affirm that academic freedom is “preserved within the confines of the truth and the common good”, and therefore, pledge to teach nothing that is counter to the truth and the common good received by the Catholic Church, nor through words or actions promote that which is counter to her moral teachings.
Theology faculty take the Oath of Fidelity and receive the mandatum from the Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas gladly receiving a mandate to teach in complete fidelity to the magisterium of the Church.
Donnelly College was cofounded by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica. The Benedictine tradition of education dates to the sixth century with the founding of western monasticism by St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica. Together their monasteries and convents passed on not only the treasures of Christian theology, liturgy, and spirituality but the riches of classical thought.
They illuminated and commented upon Scripture and stewarded the early Catholic theological tradition, while at the same time copying manuscripts and preserving texts of the classical world that might have otherwise been lost. Young people received their education from the Benedictines and the first universities of Europe were born from their monasteries. Donnelly College continues in the long line Benedictine education seeking to embody the charisms of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica in its academic and community life.