Xavier University of Louisiana

Whether pursuing current interests or exploring new ones, students make friends and establish their on-campus community by getting involved. Xavier University of Louisiana, founded by Saint Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, is Catholic and historically Black. The ultimate purpose of the University is to contribute to the promotion of a more just and humane society by preparing its students to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society. This preparation takes place in a diverse learning and teaching environment that incorporates all relevant educational means, including research and community service. At the October 2007 New Board of Trustees Members Orientation Meeting, Sr. Monica Loughlin, SBS, presented Xavier’s Mission. It was a personal story intermixed with reflections on the rich legacy and history of Xavier. So, in Sr. Monica’s own words, here is a refreshing new look through the eyes of a great storyteller of the mission of Xavier University.” I want to begin with a word of gratitude to Dr. Francis and the Trustee committee for the invitation to talk about Xavier’s Mission. Xavier holds a place very deep in my heart. As a Sister of the Blessed Sacrament, an alumna of Xavier, a former faculty member, and a former member of the Board of Trustees of Xavier, and especially as a current dean, it is an honor for me to be asked and to have the opportunity to spend some time with you to reflect together on Xavier’s Mission. I know each of us comes to this gathering with divergent knowledge and experiences of Xavier and of its foundress, St. Katharine Drexel. There has been much written and the Archives at XU as well as the SBS archives are rich resources. I submit, however, that the best way to learn about Xavier is from the storytellers, our ancestors—alumni, faculty, staff, SBS and non-SBS who have kept the story alive and who have spread the story by anecdotes and by the way they have lived their lives. When I talk about Xavier, I frequently refer to an ad for the Air Force Reserve that states: First you are part of it, then it becomes a part of you. For many of us, that has been our experience at Xavier. Xavier has become part of our story. And our family has become very large! We all stand on the shoulders of those who have taken St. Katharine Drexel’s vision and expanded upon it. There are countless names I could mention that have made Xavier what it is today. They keep the dream fresh and challenging. Primary among those who hold the dream and continue to shape it, is Dr. Norman Francis who has provided consistent leadership here for almost 40 years. Mother Katharine is the starting point, but the story is so much bigger than Mother Katharine…and one of her gifts was that she always knew that.