The curriculum is divided into four components: world religions, overview of Catholicism and Ignatian spirituality, Hebrew Scriptures and human sexuality. To address the freshman’s rapid emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth, the course begins with an investigation of the nature of religion, especially as a universal phenomenon in all cultures, then continues with a survey of the world’s major religions, including a review of key Catholic doctrines. Students will also be introduced to key points of Ignatian spirituality to prepare them for the Sophomore Conversation, a program of service and reflection on the five characteristics of the “Graduate at graduation” conducted in sophomore year. Focusing on the first five books, the Hebrew Scriptures will be studied from the perspective of modern biblical scholarship and will introduce students to a mature awareness of divine revelation and the role of scripture in shaping a contemporary image of God as a compassionate Father. The final component addresses the maturing adolescent’s sexual identity in an attempt to complement earlier education in the home and at school and treats both physical and moral issues.
Within the context of the Roman Catholic moral tradition, students will examine contemporary medical-moral issues, especially as they impact both the student’s life and society at large. In addition to shaping informed and responsible personal conclusions, social policies will also be evaluated. Early in the course, students will acquire an understanding of key concepts necessary for analyzing issues clearly and comprehensively. Issues treated include abortion, treatment of handicapped infants, death and the dying process (including physician-assisted, or rational, suicide), care for the elderly, organ transplants, genetic engineering/reproductive technologies, and health care reform. A final theme will be holistic health care and the internal, natural capacity for self-healing.
This course will utilize the insights of depth psychology, spirituality and social ethics to grapple with the fascination and fear regarding the warrior within each of us. How can this inner Warrior be directed to assist the person in the human journey without destroying oneself or others? Once this internal investigation takes place, then the ethical examination regarding the role of the warrior in society is discussed. This course will focus upon the Roman Catholic ethical tradition which includes the teachings on pacifism, just war and holy war. Films, case studies and current events will be used to highlight the role of conscientious decision making. The student will be challenged to personally reflect and apply course material to his own life journey. The practice of Mindfulness will be integrated into the course to assist the students in developing a greater sense of inner calm and compassionate listening needed to negotiate the inevitable demands of this complex world.
In this course, students are introduced to the spirituality, culture and history of Native Americans with a focus on the Lakota nation. Major elements of Lakota religion will be compared to aspects of Catholicism. Students will examine the Lakota view of God, creation stories, and other myths and rituals. Issues of justice in relation to Indian reservation life will also be analyzed through the lens of Catholic social teaching. As part of the class experience, students have the opportunity to attend an, optional, eight-day immersion trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservations, at which students will participate in Lakota ceremonies and community service, visit historical sites and hear from residents of the reservation. The trip is limited to 12 students who enrolled in, and completed, the class. Those seeking to attend the trip must go through the application and be formally accepted.