UDM is Jesuit and Mercy

UDM embodies the Mercy and Jesuit Traditions

The Sisters of Mercy 1827 -

Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy in 1827, articulated a core insight that has inspired the works of the Community ever since:  “No work of charity can be more productive of good to society or more conductive to the happiness of the poor than the careful instruction of women.” That societies fail when women are perceived to be lesser citizens is an insight still in manifestly short supply around the world.  Educating women is more than a domestic kindness. To Catherine McAuley, the good of society as a whole requires it.  

Catherine also recognized that the Dublin she lived in as a well-off citizen was not the whole of  Dublin.  Her commitment to poor women opened her and her sisters ever since to an awareness that God does not reside only in the well tended parts of society.

The Jesuits 1540 -

Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus in 1540 out of a mystical conviction that loving Jesus means following Jesus to anywhere in the world. In the words of Ieronomo Nadal, S.J., Ignatius’ personal representative:  one of  the primary houses of  Jesuits is “the journey”  by which “the whole world becomes our house.”  Jesuits see their love of  Jesus as a love of  the wide world in all its complexity and beauty and challenges.  It  should be no surprise that UDM  enrolls students from Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

How did they get to Detroit?

The Mercy Sisters and the Jesuits came to Detroit in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for much the same reasons. They understood their work -- schools and hospitals,  parishes and retreat houses -- as part of the Church’s commitment to millions of immigrant Catholics who came to America looking for jobs in the industrial cities.  Until after World War II, Catholics in America existed mostly in ethnic neighborhoods as marginal members of  U.S. society.  They worked in the unforgiving and dangerous bottom of the industrial world of work. They needed health care and their tightly knit communities needed professionals—doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc.—who would treat immigrant Catholics with respect.   Such were the origins of the University of Detroit in 1877 and Mercy College in 1941.

Jesuit and Mercy College and University sites: