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The dream of making the University of Navarra

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04 | 10 | 2021

St. Josemaría visited the University for the last time in May 1974. Recalling with joy his beginnings, he said: "In the beginning, when the University of Navarre was in its infancy, I used to say: 'My heart will go to the University, in a corner. But I don't need to say it: I always have my heart attached to you. Treat it well, try to make it good, pray for me".

In the picture

St. Josemaría, at the University, in 1967.

degree program "Ever since his years as a student at the University of Saragossa, where he studied law at the same time as he was doing his priestly studies at programs of study , St. Josemaría took a special interest in university life, with an appreciation that he repeatedly manifested throughout his life. This was pointed out by Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, his successor, at the in memoriam ceremony held after the death of the first Chancellor. "I consider myself a university student: and I am passionate about everything that has to do with the university," he himself had said in 1966.

Thus, the idea of founding a university had been on St. Josemaría's mind from very early on, certain of the great influence that the intellectual professions have on society.

José Javier López-Jacoiste, one of the first professors at the School of Law of the Estudio General de Navarra, the seed of what is now the University, was one of the witnesses to the gestation of that dream. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of that first School, he recalled how, from entrance, the endeavor seemed almost impossible. It was not the first time that, throughout history, the project had been initiated, without success, to build a university in Navarre. But if the experience of history was not enough, it should be added that at that time the creation of universities was skill exclusive to the state power.

"I consider myself a college student: and I'm passionate about everything about college."

"St. Josemaría spoke of various cities as locations and beginnings. He insisted on Pamplona and San Sebastian," recalled López-Jacoiste. He spoke about project with both of them, shared their concerns, asked for suggestions.. . Because of his training jurist, the professor outlined to him how appropriate the Navarrese foral regime could be for that purpose. He did so around the summer of 1951. The programs of study of Law began in Pamplona in the following academic year.

The dream of building a university had been fulfilled. A dream he passed on to the first ones. A dream he nurtured and encouraged as Chancellor of the University. A dream he dreamed that students, professors and employees would always dream of.

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When he promoted the University in 1952, St. Josemaría did not write a founding document, he did not draw up statutes or ideals. It was in conversations, in offices, in dozens of meetings with the first professors and students that he transmitted what he expected of the university.

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THE UNIVERSITY OF NAVARRA: EVERYONE'S TASK

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"The life of the University of Navarra is mainly due to the dedication, the illusion and the work that professors, students, employees, janitors, these blessed and dear women who do the cleaning..., all of them, put in every day".

 

St. Josemaría in "Conversations," no. 83

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RESEARCH WORK COMMITTED TO THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH

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"The university knows that scientific objectivity rejects all ideological neutrality, ambiguity, conformism and cowardice. The love of truth commits the life and the work of the scientist, and sustains his or her mettle in the face of possible uncomfortable situations. Researchers set an example with their own lives, facing problems without fear of sacrifice or the heaviest burdens, assuming their own responsibility. This requires a renewal of faith, which allows us to be always open to divine Wisdom and its lights of hope".

 

St. Josemaría at his speech as Chancellor at the ceremony of doctoral inauguration ceremony honoris causa May 9, 1974

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TEACHINGSHAPING THE FUTURE: THE WORK OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS

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"The desire to work for the common good is not enough. To be effective, it is necessary to train men and women who are well prepared and capable of giving to others the fruit of the fulfillment they have achieved. Forging the future is the work of many, but very specifically of university professors. There is no university where, in addition to the transmission of knowledge, there is not also the training whole of young personalities".

 

St. Josemaría in "Conversations," no. 73

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IMPROVING SOCIETY: SERVICE TO THE COMMON GOOD AND ACCESS TO UNIVERSITY FOR ALL

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"Students must be formed in a mentality of service to society, promoting the common good with their work and their civic action. University students need to be responsible, to be concerned about the problems of others and to have a generous spirit that leads them to find the best solution for them. Giving the student all this is the task of the University".

"Those who have the capacity must have access to the higher programs of study , whatever their social origin, their economic means, their race or their religion. As long as there are barriers in this regard, the democratization of teaching will be just an empty phrase."

 

St. Josemaría in "Conversations," no. 74

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INTERNATIONAL OUTREACHA UNIVERSITY OPEN TO ALL

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"The University is the place to prepare oneself to give solutions to these problems; it is the common home, a place of study and friendship; a place where people of different tendencies should live together in peace, which, at any given moment, are expressions of the legitimate pluralism that exists in society".

 

St. Josemaría in "Conversations," no. 76