Sister Kathy Dougherty, O.S.F.

Catholic education is a pursuit. A movement towards the truth.

For many of us, this pursuit begins formally during our adolescence. Our parents chose Catholic education for us. This important choice lays the groundwork. Early Catholic education forms us in the faith and ultimately influences how we will pursue our faith moving forward.

When high school is complete, our academic journey comes to a fork in the road. Where do we continue our education? Where will our passions be fueled, and our purpose made clearer? Where will we discover the best version of ourselves – the version God created us to be?

This choice is an important one because it has the power to be a transformative one.

Choosing a Catholic higher education institution is an investment in the development of the whole person – the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and social – for the betterment of the entire world.

At Neumann University, our students pursue their academics through the lens of faith and are formed as thoughtful and ethical leaders.

As a Catholic higher education institution, what separates us is the way in which we live in community with one another. Students (and faculty and staff too) at Neumann work and learn within a community that embraces the Franciscan values of Reverence, Integrity, Service, Excellence and Stewardship (RISES). In the classroom, on the athletic field and in social circles, students are called to live generously and selflessly and to see Christ in every encounter.

Most importantly, these values challenge students to respond to the complexities of the world with a sense of responsibility. Like St. Francis, they are called to serve – especially those on the margins.

They respond to this call in a variety of ways during their undergraduate experience: participating in service immersion trips to the Wind River Native American Reservation in Wyoming and Habitat for Humanity sites; serving meals to the homeless at St. Francis Inn in Kensington; tutoring elementary school students at Drexel Neumann Academy in Chester; and volunteering for community service projects during orientation week and Martin Luther King Day.

A 2016 study conducted by Neumann University’s Sister Patricia Hutchison, O.S.F., found that most students believed that their Neumann experience had a significant influence on their spiritual development. This is profound.

This piece of formation is the critical piece to helping men and women identify their purpose and find that place in society where their passions can fuel change.

This is where students move another step closer to the truth – to the person God created them to be.

As we celebrate the remarkable work of Catholic schools – at all levels – this week, let us not lose sight of its transformative power. That incredible power can help students transform themselves and, in turn, transform the world.

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Franciscan Sister Kathy Dougherty is vice president for Mission and Ministry at Neumann University. Learn more at neumann.edu.