With Beethoven's Ode to Joy and Handel's Messiah triumphantly playing before "Papa Francesco" arrived at the Vatican's auditorium today, I was not alone among my Catholic higher education colleagues in feeling renewed about our important work.
Having served for nearly a decade as a Catholic university president in Los Angeles, I now look forward to my next decade in Catholic higher education leadership here in a new setting: at Benedictine University in Chicago.
We were going to get up early, drive nine hours across the Midwest, through countless tollbooths, to stay at a Benedictine monastery, and to get a glimpse of the daily work of the prophetic Joan Chittister. I jumped at the chance.
A University's historical events are like road signs that depict the direction one should go. Today Benedictine University and its graduates have not only helped changed for the better their own lives but also the community and the world in which we live.
Our young people are called to change the world. How can you change the world without engaging the world? To engage the world, we must prepare students for what they will encounter outside the safety net of the university.
They looked like any American student in blue jeans and T-shirts, but they were a very special group from across the world who had come to the United States to learn what Benedictine University could teach them about how to be a leader in their country.