Beautiful memories surfaced as our board reviewed the curriculum of the newly formed School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
Some of its subjects are anthropology, communication, history, classical languages, music, philosophy, psychology, sociology and theology.
Years ago, during a visit from my friend Richard Becker, president of then Illinois Benedictine College in Lisle, Illinois, we conducted an interview with renowned church historian Msgr. John Tracy Ellis. During the interview, Becker asked Msgr. Ellis what he considered the most important education a college could offer. Without hesitation, Msgr. Ellis replied, “liberal arts.”
In our modern technological age, why pick liberal arts when students can study scientific wonders or economics leading to better management of money, becoming CEOs, lawyers, doctors or experts in international affairs?
The above studies are very valuable and when combined with liberal arts, these subjects can create amazing progress. When liberal arts are neglected, however, it is possible for schooling to focus solely on the pursuit of money and a narrow mentality in which humanity takes second place.
Thanks to a history teacher who would travel Europe and explain its history, I was inspired to travel Europe, Central and South America and experience their rich cultures. History expanded my understanding of the breath of humanity: one of liberal art’s gifts.
Courses in philosophy enabled me to discern the difference between logical and illogical thinking, how well terms are defined, what idealism a person reflects and getting at the truth of the matter.
As a social scientist, I have traveled the country studying how our society operates.
Psychology taught me counseling is best achieved when clients can solve their own problems and become more self-sufficient.
In his book, “The Idea of a University,” Cardinal John Henry Newman states, “Liberal education and liberal pursuits are exercises of mind, of reason, of reflection.”
We can add it is also at the heart of living humanity more fully. Although other disciplines also accomplish this, without a liberal arts component, they are less able to touch our very soul as, for example, does music and theology.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103