By Christopher Wells
The President and Trustees of Villanova University, who are holding their spring meeting in Rome, were received by Pope Francis in a special audience on Saturday.
Villanova, located just outside of the American city of Philadelphia, was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. Recalling the school’s Augustinian heritage, Pope Francis said the University was founded “to preserve and pass on the richness of the Catholic tradition to new generations of students, who like the young Augustine, seek true meaning and value in the true life.” To be faithful to that mission, he said, the University must address “the ethical and cultural challenges” of the modern world.
A universal vision of unity
Pope Francis identified “the development of a universal, ‘catholic’ vision of the unity of our human family, and a commitment to the practical solidarity needed to combat the grave inequalities and injustices that mark today’s world,” as a particularly “urgent aspect of this educational task.”
The deepest truth of our lives and destiny
Concluding his remarks, Pope Francis turned once again to the great Bishop of Hippo: “No one knew better than Saint Augustine the restlessness of the human heart until it finds its rest in the God who, in Jesus Christ, reveals to us the deepest truth about our lives and our ultimate destiny.” He expressed his hope that the time spent in Rome would confirm the trustees in their “commitment to the University’s mission in the service of the truth that makes us free.”