The Catholic Social Tradition minor is an interdisciplinary minor in the College of Arts and Letters.
Since its inception in 1997, the program has been committed to providing undergraduate students with a deeper understanding of the social ramifications of the Catholic faith by drawing on the wealth of resources of the Catholic Social Tradition as found in the official documents of the Church and the experience of the Catholic community.
“Never tire of working for a more just world, marked by great solidarity! No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world!”
– Pope Francis, Varginha, July 25, 2013
"The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these too are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ."
– Gaudium et Spes, 1
"To teach and to spread her social doctrine pertains to the Church's evangelizing mission and is an essential part of the Christian message."
– John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
CST Minor Student Reflections
"I chose to do the CST minor because of its opportunities to learn through service. I have done two SSLPs (Summer Service Learning Placements), working with the elderly and terminally ill. These experiences have greatly shaped my understanding of myself and of what God is calling me to do with my life. What I have studied in the minor has helped me to understand how I can best serve the people I had the privilege to grow in kinship with through the CST minor's many service opportunities. I can articulate problems I see in the world and form solutions with the help of the many rich teachings of the Church on justice and society. Right now I am working on creating a retreat for health care workers who work with the elderly, disabled, and dying to promote human dignity for vulnerable patients and dignity of work for employees. Being in this minor has given me the knowledge to not only do this project, but also the heart to want to bring these concepts into all I do as a future health care professional. "
– Kaitlyn Kennedy '16, Pre-Professional
"I learned about the CST minor through participation in the Appalachia seminar, which was one of the best experiences of my freshman year. When I discovered that service-learning immersions like Appalachia and the SSLP could fulfill many of the minor’s requirements, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. I think of Catholic Social Teaching as “applied Catholicism” and as young Catholic I feel the responsibility to learn about, share, and live out the social teaching of the Church. The minor allows me to explore matters of the heart, which balances out the many science requirements for my biology major. It is an example of the wholesome education that Notre Dame seeks to impart. I plan to be a veterinarian and all that I have learned in my courses for the minor encourages me to seek a career which will augment the dignity of the human person. Keeping animals healthy and productive, particularly in developing nations, can directly improve the health and wellbeing of people. I look forward to bringing the unique lens of Catholic Social Teaching to my studies in veterinary school and my career as a veterinarian." -Annika Fling '16, Biological Sciences
"Most people are rather surprised when I tell them that I am both a Chemical Engineering major and a Catholic Social Tradition minor, due to the popular conception that the two fields do not exactly go hand-in-hand. In reality, this dual course of study is a reflection of my love for both science and religion, as well as my belief that each is fulfilled by the other. Choosing to declare a CST minor has easily been one of my best choices as a student here at Notre Dame. While I admittedly came into ND with a limited view of Catholic Social Teaching, I have since been presented with many opportunities to explore the richness of my Catholic faith and its emphasis on upholding the dignity of every human person. It has helped me grow in my understanding of my duties as a member of my local as well as global communities and has taught me to always approach my world with a sense of solidarity toward the less fortunate and marginalized of society. I hope to use my education and skills in engineering in some way for the benefit of society as a whole, but especially those that need help the most. I have yet to figure out exactly what that is going to look like, but I trust in God's plan; if my experience to date has been any indication, then whatever it is, while it will be challenging at times, is going to be incredible."
-Sean Driscoll '15, Chemical Engineering
"I'm convinced there's this inner dichotomy in myself. There's the "me me me" focused side, that I actually kind of hate. It draws me into the daily drag of schoolwork, requirements for the coming-too-fast future, perfectionism, and into cycles of continually compounding stress (that I unfortunately create in my mind). But then there's this other, more beautiful side. The side that sees the bigger picture, that values presence over productivity, that tries to find the beauty in all people and the joy in all situations, and that longs to reach out to love and care for all those who are suffering.
My academic experience at Notre Dame has been a tug of war between these 2 sides: the hustle and bustle of my pre-med experience sometimes bringing me down, but then my minors (CST and Latin American Studies) bringing me up and out of myself and into the world. CST in particular has been such an undeniable blessing in my life. I've learned and grown more in my faith and in my worldview through the experiences and courses for this minor than I have through any of my "real" classes: I've had the opportunity to do service in Appalachia and an SSLP in my hometown, go to a social justice advocacy conference in DC, and be inspired by my classmates of all majors who seek to better the world through mindful actions that consider human dignity above all else. Lastly, through the CST framework, I've found hope, even in the midst of learning and witnessing the suffering of the world.
As a senior now looking to my coming years in medical school and as a future physician, I know that the lessons I've learned about solidarity in service, generosity of spirit, care for the vulnerable, and small actions that benefit of the common good have been imprinted on my heart and will remain a guiding light that keeps calling me up and out into the world."
-Clara Hageman '15, Science Pre-Professional Studies