Catholic Identity Statement

Marywood University is a living community rooted in the Christian, Roman Catholic faith and in the spirit of our sponsors, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  We are, therefore, deeply committed to working toward justice and the betterment of the human community.  In the words of Avery Dulles, "... the hallmark of a catholic university is the intellectual pursuit of a Gospel value system based on the community's dialogue with culture."  That commitment finds expression in our attitude and practice of joyful, loving service.

Christian, Roman Catholic Tradition

The faith tradition which animates the life of the University is richly manifest in persons, events, structures, and academic and co-curricular programs.  Implicit respect and support for a gospel-based value system is expected of each member of the community.  The presence of the Eucharist on campus serves as a constant reminder of the ever-present love of Jesus who invites all to spiritual reflection and daily prayer.  As Ex Corde Ecclesiae notes, sacramental worship is essential to Catholic Identity.  However, it further recommends that members of other religions be encouraged to pray and reflect according to their own beliefs and practices.

In the undergraduate school Marywood's Catholic character imbues the liberal arts curriculum with its emphasis on religious studies and philosophy.  The graduate schools provide value-based professional educational opportunities to men and women who are challenged to become leaders in their professions.

The University exists for the intellectual development of its students in an atmosphere where Catholic Christian values, leadership skills and open respectful dialogue join to nurture fully human persons.  The University welcomes people of all religious and humanistic traditions to participate in this dialogue so as to arrive at truth.  Graduate, undergraduate and continuing education programs are infused with the study of ethical, moral and religious values, working toward a synthesis of all knowledge across many disciplines.  Administrators are responsible in a special way to work collaboratively with the church's pastoral authorities.  Congruent with the practice and teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the University understands its work as part of a wider evangelization wherein spiritual values replace secularism, social justice replaces injustice, and respect for all living things replaces ecological devastation.  Belief in God's re-creation of the earth through Jesus' life in this world leads to study and action fostering responsibility for the planet at large and also for the beautification and maintenance of the Marywood campus itself.


The Christian Catholic faith tradition grounds the University community.  The welcoming, inviting spirit which pervades Marywood finds its truest identify in shared governance, inclusivity, non-elitism, an ecumenical attitude, and genuine interdependence at every level and in every endeavor of work, spirit, and celebration.  High value is placed on the dignity of every person and the development of human relationships (especially family values), through programs, services, research and benefits available to students, employees, and the general public.  Mirroring the universality of God's love, Marywood pursues diversity among its constituents.  By experiencing a pluralistic society on campus, students learn to accept and appreciate cultural differences and carry this value with them into society.


As the Christian Catholic faith tradition grounds the University community, the community reaches out in service.  Education is valued not only in itself, but also for its contribution to human good -- locally, nationally and internationally - particularly its contribution to bettering the lives of the poor and underserved.  Through interpersonal relationships, academic and professional programs, and student activities of many types, students and employees alike are challenged to respond to human need in constructive, life-giving ways.  The University undertakes the study of serious contemporary societal problems in order to seek out root causes, with special attention to their ethical and religious dimensions.

By supporting a vigorous Campus Ministry staff and program, the University gives  witness to its belief in what Ex Corde Ecclesiae terms the four essential characteristics of a catholic university:  Christian inspiration, faith reflection, fidelity to the Christian message, and service to church and humanity.


We have examined the unique character of a Catholic University and have delineated in particular those qualities which animate Marywood University:  its respect and support for the Christian Roman Catholic faith tradition, its belief in the power of community and its commitment to service.  We express our gratitude to those who have gone before us and laid the foundation for this Catholic Identity.  We ask God to bless our current work and to deepen the fruitfulness of our future endeavors.