Advocacy for Integration

People hear different things when they hear “liberal arts,” and most are not familiar with the term “practical arts.” When they do hear these terms, they often think of them as radically separate, as divisions of a university or even as separating colleges or universities from trade or technical school. Relatively few people think of “education in the Catholic tradition” as speaking to the liberal and practical arts with one voice, as components of one whole well-formed life; and in fact even most good Catholic education tends to treat “religious education” as one kind of teaching, answerable to one set of standards, while education in general is considered neutral, answerable to secular standards.

What is missed in all of this is precisely what people from a wide range of ideological and religious starting points frequently realize they need to aim for, the “integration” of these elements in a formation that addresses the whole of each person and engages that whole person with the whole of reality, refusing to entertain the notion that one can ever actually separate spiritual from secular, mind from body, soul from person, practice from understanding, habit from intention, or faith from learning.

We are here to help people understand each of these terms more fully, more accurately, and with greater integrity; and we are here to cultivate the desire for better understanding and practice that grows from these ideas, and to channel that desire into actual steps taken, plans made, and lives well lived.