“The world has always been changed not by great numbers,
but by small numbers of great leaders.”
The current crisis in Catholic leadership presents us with a situation that is at once both grave and hopeful: grave in that it calls for a decisive response in the face of serious need; hopeful in that much can be accomplished among the coming generation as they rise to the challenges before them.
The Joseph and Edith Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership answers the call to provide Catholics students at the University of St. Thomas a unique context for leadership formation which goes beyond the development of skills to a more organic and collaborative model of Catholic leadership in the academy, in the Church, and in civil and professional life. In addition to assisting the formation of many young Catholic leaders, the Institute is a place of thoughtful analysis concerning what it means to be a Catholic leader in our modern society.
The Institute will also provide opportunities for Catholic Studies graduate students, priests, lay and religious, to explore new approaches to leadership in the Church, in lay apostolates and parish ministry, in professional, civic and political life.
The Leadership Intern program identifies promising students who have already demonstrated leadership ability on campus, and offers them a unique opportunity to develop the skills and abilities necessary for leadership in service to the Church and the larger community. The program includes vision retreats, monthly meetings of formation, service to the community, dialogue with invited speakers, and a Spring Institute trip.
This program offers Latino students the opportunity to receive an education that is both intellectually rigorous and faith filled. The primary goal of this scholarship is to create a community of Latino students at the University of St. Thomas who will work together to become the future leaders in the Latino community. It also fosters within students a deep sense of their vocation to promote justice in the world.
Students in the Catholic Studies houses join a small community centered around Catholic life and study. The houses have a simple rule of life; a chaplain; and regular events, including Mass, house meals, communal prayer, invited speakers, and good fun. The houses provide opportunity for leadership, as students take responsibility for all aspects of daily life in community.
An important part of the Church's social mission is the witness of people of action who demonstrate the Gospel through their lives and character. It is therefore a critical aspect of our work in preparing our students for professional life to bring them into contact wiht faith-filled and thoughtful Catholics in various fields. Two programs of focus, the One-on-One Mentorship and Group Mentoring, will provde students the opportunity for involvement with Catholic professionals who are witnessing to their faith at work, in their families, in the Church, and in the wider community. In this way we offer students a unique integration of faith and work that will help to launch their professional vocation.
To this end we will recruit committed and thoughtful Catholics from a variety of professions who can serve as guest speakers to groups and classes and as advisors and mentors to individual students. We will also devise effective ways of connecting our students with Catholic organizations in health care, social services and education, as well as dioceses and parishes, to help students discern the possibility of working for the Church. These relationships between professionals and students, in addition to providing networking possibilities, internships and occupational benefits for the students, will yet more importantly help them to deepen their understanding of professional vocation and its accompanying responsibilities. As we develop such a network of Catholics in the professions, we also see an opportunity to provide the professionals themselves with occasional opportunities for their own faith formation, which will enhance their ability to be informed and faithful witnesses to the students and the wider community.
Since the year 2000, the Habiger Endowment has brought a long series of prestigious lecturers, scholars-in-residence, and artists-in-residence to the University of St. Thomas, enlivening the Catholic life of the campus in a new way every semester. Their talks (and other works) can be found here, in PDF or streaming-video formats.
This program identifies unusually talented undergraduates in their sophomore year and provides a two-year intensive formation in the Catholic intellectual tradition, in preparation for graduate school admission, with the ultimate career goal of a university faculty position in a specific academic or professional discipline. The program involves ongoing relations with faculty mentors who assist the student in clarifying academic interests and identifying specific graduate programs which might develop those interests fully. The program provides regular contact between students and mentors in monthly lunches, advising, and retreats.
In the summer following the junior year, these promising scholars work with their faculty mentors on a major research project that brings into greater clarity and precision their long term scholarly work, as they prepare for graduate study. In addition there is a summer retreat which assists the scholars in the graduate school application process and prepares them for the GRE or equivalent examination.