Excerpts from an E-mail from


Excerpts from an E-mail from Father Fessio

I thought some of this may be of interest to anyone who has been following the saga of Fr. Fessio. As the e-mail is largely an explanation and solicitation, I feel as though the information is free to share:

Dear Friend of Ignatius Press:

While continuing to be the Editor of Ignatius Press, I have been given a new assignment by my superiors: to become the founding Chancellor of Ave Maria University, the first new Catholic university established in the United States in nearly 50 years.

The story of what has already been accomplished and what is planned for the future would be exciting and encouraging in itself. But I believe that against the background of the present crisis in the Catholic Church, the founding of Ave Maria University will truly be of historic importance in the life of the Church. Let me explain.. . .

Ave Maria University: The History

In 1998, Thomas Monaghan, the founder and owner of Domino’s Pizza, sold Domino’s and, after providing for his wife and four daughters, placed the proceeds of the sale into the Ave Maria Foundation with the intention of spending the rest of his life and fortune in the service of the Church. The main focus of Mr. Monaghan’s efforts has been education. The Ave Maria Foundation has funded several elementary schools: Spiritus Sanctus Academies; a new law school which at the end of its second year has just received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association and is already in the first tier of U.S law schools: Ave Maria School of Law; and a liberal arts college which is poised to become a major Catholic university: Ave Maria College.

There is already an Ave Maria campus in Nicaragua, and it was there that I heard Mr. Monaghan explain to amazed journalists why he had chosen to spend his fortune on higher education. Mr. Monaghan’s response was disarmingly simple, especially coming from someone who had achieved the pinnacle of worldly success: "The most important thing in life is to get to heaven. I want to get there and bring as many people as I can with me. The best way to help people get to heaven is to give them a Catholic education."

In the past year, Mr. Monaghan has been concentrating his attention more and more on one goal: establishing Ave Maria University and, with God’s help, making it the best Catholic university in the world. . . .

Ave Maria University: The Future

I am extremely grateful that Mr. Nick Healy, Jr., President of Ave Maria University, asked my Jesuit superiors if I could help in making the dream of Ave Maria University a reality, and that they granted this request. As Ave Maria University’s first chancellor, I have been involved in the past several months with the planning of AMU. The vision is an ambitious one. And even though Mr. Monaghan is committing his remaining resources to the task, it will require far more than even Mr. Monaghan   is capable of providing . . .

The ultimate goal is to have a Catholic university with 4,000 undergraduate students, 2,000 graduate students -- and a major intercollegiate sports program of uncompromising integrity!

Because negotiations are still underway, I can’t disclose the location of the new campus. But the plan is to have a 1,500-acre campus contiguous to a new town which will be built simultaneously with the university. At the intersection of the town and university will be the focal point of both: a beautiful university chapel.

Ave Maria University will have a full range of undergraduate programs, including the sciences, business, nursing, and performing arts -- all with a solid, comprehensive Catholic liberal arts core curriculum. Graduate programs will focus on areas especially appropriate for a Catholic university: theology, philosophy, history, literature, education, communications, law. But graduate programs in science and engineering are being planned as well.

This sounds like a wonderful initiative. As I find more, I will let you know about it. Very probably Mr. Shea or Ms. Welborn have already blogged on this, so more info may be available on their blogs.

Bookmark and Share



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 9, 2002 8:17 AM.

On Evangelical Poverty was the previous entry in this blog.

Prayer Request Kairos blogged is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll