Joy and Hope on the Margins: The Mission Imperative of Access to Catholic Higher Education

Patricia McGuire, Trinity Washington University

Paper presented at the “Vatican II and Catholic Higher Education: Leading Forward” conference held at Sacred Heart University October 13-15, 2022.



Words written in 1965 seem prophetic for today’s challenges to the human community:

“Never has the human race enjoyed such an abundance of wealth, resources and economic power, and yet a huge proportion of the world’s citizens are still tormented by hunger and poverty, while countless numbers suffer from total illiteracy. …political, social, economic, racial and ideological disputes still continue bitterly, and with them the peril of a war which would reduce everything to ashes.” (Gaudium et Spes #4)

The content and structure of Gaudium et Spes suggests a curriculum for Catholic Higher Education that is broad and deep --- economics, politics, sociology, science, theology, languages and cultural studies, philosophy and ethics, and so much more. But my reflections this evening focus more on the WHO and HOW of Catholic Higher Education rather than curricular content, which I believe others at this conference have explored at some length.