“Slow down and smell the roses!” When you take the time to look and listen, you discover all that exists has its own unique signature. There are no exact duplicates. When you look at this phenomenon through a Franciscan lens, you realize that God loves diversity because everything is a special reflection of God’s goodness and beauty. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins expresses this truth when he wrote: “The world (creation) is charged with the glory of God.”
Quincy University prizes the gift of diversity both in and outside the classroom. The Franciscan ethos of the campus strives, likewise, to foster a spirit of unity and not uniformity in order to reverence and respect the giftedness of each person. The value of inclusivity is to permeate the environment of Quincy University.
Everyone, who becomes a member of the Quincy University Community, enriches the community with ones unique personality, ethnicity, gender, political and religious beliefs, educational, economic and social backgrounds. It is a fact that every new student, faculty or staff person automatically contributes a different flavor, color, smell and spirit. The openness and receptivity to diversity is what creates the rich, vibrant and welcoming spirit of Quincy University.
Francis of Assisi realized from his reflections on the gospels that Jesus sat down at the table with anyone, embraced everyone, cured everyone, and related to everyone. Francis’ desire to walk in the footprints of the poor, humble and crucified Christ motivated him to exemplify Jesus’ inclusive spirit of hospitality. Francis likewise exhorted his brothers to do the same since they are called to be Lesser Brothers (Order of Friars Minor).
When the Franciscan Friars came to Quincy, Illinois, in 1860, they immediately recognized that German youth were being excluded from the education system due to the inability to speak English and with no way for the German youth to learn English. The friars’ response was to establish a school, which became Quincy University. In the 1870’s the friars also welcomed and educated the first African American priest in the United States, Blessed Augustine Tolton. When no seminary in this country would accept him, the friars gave him a college education and then sent him to Rome for his theological studies and priestly formation. In 1930 Quincy University became one of the first schools of higher learning in the State of Illinois to welcome and to accept women.
It is this Franciscan spirit of inclusivity that accepts everyone for who they are, that encourages everyone to be open and receptive to each other, that enriches everyone with a variety of perspectives, understandings and approaches to life and its challenges, and that empowers everyone to accompany each other. This Franciscan value of inclusivity is most evidenced when a student says: “I feel at home here,” or “It is good to be back home.”
Peace and all good!
Father John Doctor, O.F.M.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry.