The Catholic Jesuit university is founded upon the conviction that the religious and the academic are intrinsically related. The movement of the mind towards meaning or truth initiates a process of questioning that naturally reaches the ultimate questions that engage religion. Similarly, the experience of Catholic faith gives rise to disciplined inquiry as it calls for knowledge of itself and of its relationship to every dimension of human life. The mission of Boston College is rooted in this dynamic integrity of the academic and the religious, a coherence of the divine and the human that reaches its fullest expression in Jesus Christ and extends to all forms of human culture and knowledge.
The Jesuit Institute exists to aid Boston College in its endeavors to attain this coherence, in its identity and growth as a Catholic Jesuit university. The purpose of the Institute is to foster the Jesuit, Catholic character of Boston College precisely as a university. The university should be more a university because it is Catholic and Jesuit. Founded in 1988 through an initial gift of the Boston College Jesuit Community and a matching gift from the University, the Institute sponsors personal research, academic exchange and collective inquiry about the issues that emerge at the intersection of faith and culture.
Working principally in cooperation with Boston College's schools, programs and faculties, the Institute funds a number of interdisciplinary seminars including an ongoing seminar entitled "Juniors Scholars in Conversation" open to all junior faculty of the university, two annual research fellowships, public debates about "disputed questions," series of lectures by visiting scholars, including the annual "Canisius Lecture," academic retreats for departments of the University, international conferences, scholarly film documentaries, luncheon colloquia and discussions, and other special projects. In keeping with the mission of a university as a true community of scholars, the faculty of Boston College is the principal focus of the Institute's service.