In the days leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, leaders at The Catholic University of America asked ourselves: What can Catholic University do to meet this historic moment? How might we lead with love in our response to this watershed decision? A university is not a social services provider; we don’t run a maternity home; it is not our task to lobby extensively for changes in the law. But what we can do, we determined, is make sure that moms and dads are fully supported—and family life is celebrated—at our university. That, therefore, is the task to which we publicly committed ourselves on the day that the Dobbs decision was announced.
The report reproduced on the following pages chronicles the convening and naming of the Guadalupe Project, the process by which the Project team identified actions to implement, and what those action items were as of the time of the report’s publication in October 2022. Since then, the Guadalupe Project has continued to grow. We have conducted our first maternity clothing drive, which resulted in generous donations of maternity and baby clothes that are now available, free of charge, to any member of our campus community. Through our campus food pantry, which we call Cardinal Cupboard, we have distributed well over one hundred packages of diapers, wipes, and other baby hygiene items to members of our university community. We have posted stickers in women’s restrooms across campus, providing a QR code link to the university’s pregnancy resource materials, and we are preparing to install an initial batch of new changing tables in campus restrooms. And this past spring we had the privilege of accompanying an undergraduate mother, ensuring that her needs were met during her pregnancy and working with our Cardinals for Life student group to host a joy-filled baby shower for her shortly before she welcomed her son. The Guadalupe Project has been embraced by the Catholic University community, whose generous response to the Project—including the willingness of so many offices, groups, and individuals to assist with various aspects of its operation—has been deeply encouraging. We also appreciate the feedback we continue to receive from our students, faculty, and staff about how we can get even better at walking with families and celebrating the gift of life. And we’re grateful to the institutions from whom we gathered inspiration and ideas that informed our efforts. We are glad to share our experience in the pages of the Human Life Review, as our contribution to the ongoing conversation about how we can all continue to answer the Lord’s call to share one another’s joys and sorrows, challenges and triumphs, in every season—including the seasons of pregnancy and parenthood.
Building a Culture of Radical Welcome for Moms, Dads, and Babies at Catholic University
On the façade of our campus’s oldest building, Caldwell Hall, are the words of our university motto, Deus Lux Mea [Est], God is my light. These words remind us that we are loved by God and that each one of us possesses incalculable worth, as the light of God shines in and through us. They recall something else as well: Illuminated by this divine light, we are called to let it “shine before others” (Mt. 5:16). Just south of University Mall, we find a bookend to the words Deus Lux Mea Est. There sits “Angels Unawares,” a sculpture depicting 140 refugees on a skiff headed toward an uncertain future and hoping for a better life. This sculpture reminds us that the light we receive is also a gift we are called to give, especially to those facing challenging circumstances. By offering our love and support to those who need it, our actions testify to the dignity of all human life. The Catholic University of America is committed to making our university a community illuminated by the divine light, a place of radical welcome for all—especially those in need of our help. Today we focus on extending the hand of loving welcome to mothers in our community, no matter their circumstances; to children; and to fathers.
Abortion is a tragedy. And as our nation has been reminded in recent months, it is also among the most difficult topics to grapple with as a community. During a time of intense public conversation and tension about this issue, our response should be the way of love, focused on how to best support mothers, fathers, and children on our campus, in our nation, and in the Church. The great complexity of the matters that have and will arise in connection with this issue is an invitation to become more present to one another. We must learn to be better listeners, more attentive thinkers, and more creative problem solvers. Above all, the moment requires us to become more profound witnesses to the love we receive from God by sharing that love with others. Through the Guadalupe Project, Catholic University is making a concrete commitment to living as a community that is radically welcoming to life.
A Place of Radical Welcome to Families
Families are, as Pope Saint John Paul II said, “communities of love” built on the principle of mutual self-giving that foster personal dignity and encourage “heartfelt acceptance, encounter and dialogue, disinterested availability, generous service and deep solidarity.” Families are a great gift to the world and a source of beauty. At the same time, family life often brings complex challenges. Bringing new life into the world comes with immense responsibility. Pregnancy and childbirth impact every aspect of mothers’ lives: physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. New mothers and fathers must marshal resources to care for the life that has been entrusted to them, including financial and medical resources. Providing for a child may require adjustments in housing and transportation and planning for childcare. Later, parents are responsible for providing an education, for faith formation, for helping children to navigate a complicated social world, and for nurturing their children’s talents. Eventually children require support in pursuing education and work, and in discerning their own calls to marriage, parenthood, priesthood, religious life, or another vocation. And at every stage along the way, parents pour themselves out in love and care for their children. Even before a child is born, parenthood is financially, intellectually, physically, and emotionally demanding.
No mother, father, or couple should have to take up this immense challenge alone. It is our sacred duty as a Catholic community to journey alongside families as they nourish new life in the womb and outside of it. We approach this vital goal with a profound sense of humility, and an awareness of room for improvement on our campus. We also approach it with a keen sense of hope: this is the moment for love to prevail, as we extend a hand to parents and their children, and especially to those who are most vulnerable as they learn of an unexpected pregnancy.
Living out this call requires not just words but actions; not just advocacy, but accompaniment. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, we have reflected on how we might better serve families on our campus. This report, and the changes it conveys across our University policies and operations, are the fruits of that effort.
Mary, our Mother
In the midst of this process of reflection, we recall that at the very center of our faith is the story of a vulnerable mother facing an unexpected pregnancy, whose choice to say yes to bringing new life into the world allowed divine light to enter the human race.
This story of our salvation reminds us that our Catholic faith teaches us to cherish, honor, and support new life, the mother who bears it, and the father who nurtures it.
As in all things, then, Mary is our guide as we dedicate ourselves to better serving the families in our community. We recall especially the witness of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whom Pope Saint John Paul II named as patroness of the unborn and who gives name to this project. The story of Guadalupe tells of Mary’s appearance in 1531 to a Mexican peasant, Juan Diego. In their encounter, she asked him to build a church dedicated to her on the Hill of Tepeyac, and as evidence of her appearance, she offered him fresh roses in the bitterness of winter. This miracle was a gift not only to Juan Diego and the people of Mexico, but to the whole world. The roses that bloomed in winter symbolize Mary’s radical hospitality: even in a desolate season, she nurtures a new creation. Our task is to model her, to create an environment of care and support for all families—especially the most vulnerable—so that, like roses in winter, they may thrive and bring new life.
History and Scope of the Guadalupe Project
On June 24, 2022, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs to return the question of the legality of abortion to the legislative process, former University President John Garvey announced an effort to look for ways in which Catholic University can better support families who are part of our University community.
The effort’s objective is to create an environment of accompaniment and support on campus from new parenthood on, across all the challenges that arise in family life, for all Catholic University families—from our undergraduate and graduate students, to our faculty and staff, to those in the wider Catholic University community.
To do this work he convened a committee led by Jennie Bradley Lichter (Deputy General Counsel) and joined by Dr. Judi Biggs Garbuio (Vice President for Student Affairs), Matt McNally (Chief Human Resources Officer), Rev. Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P. (University Chaplain), and Elizabeth Kirk (Director of the Center for Law & the Human Person at the Columbus School of Law). The committee later added an undergraduate research intern, Larissa
York ‘24, and an operations manager, Karen Rajnes of the Office of General Counsel. President Garvey asked the committee to report to the University community in October 2022, which is Respect Life Month. He immediately shared news of this effort with then-incoming President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick, who expressed his strong support.
As its first order of business the committee chose to commit its work to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and of the unborn, because of her special care for mothers and babies. Our Lady of Gudalupe also has a particular connection to Catholic University, as the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most-visited chapel within the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which abuts our campus and hosts our University liturgies. The stunning mosaic depiction of Our Lady in that chapel reminds us that Guadalupe is the only Marian apparition in which the Blessed Mother is visibly pregnant. By naming its effort the Guadalupe Project, the members of the committee invoked Our Lady’s ongoing intercession for its work and kept her tender mother’s heart front of mind in searching for ways to provide increased care for babies and their parents in our midst.
From its inception, the committee was oriented towards action. Its composition and small size were deliberately chosen in view of this purpose, and its members have devoted countless hours to the project since late June, with a regular weekly meeting and holding ad hoc meetings as well. The committee’s work has focused on identifying specific action items that will make Catholic University a more hospitable place to mothers, babies, and families who are part of our community.
In the course of its work the committee has received a great deal of input from members of the University community. Specifically, it solicited and received helpful input from key on-campus partners not represented among committee membership, including the Office of the Provost, Facilities Division, Student Health Services, Metropolitan School of Professional Studies, Student Government Association, and Graduate Student Association.
Through the Guadalupe Project email account and informal communication channels, the committee received additional feedback from undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. Looking beyond our campus borders, the committee also consulted directly with relevant staff or organizations at Georgetown University, University of Notre Dame, University of Maryland, Texas A&M, and George Mason University. Mindful of President Garvey’s charge to consider what Catholic University can do for our neighbors in the Archdiocese of Washington and the District of Columbia, members also spoke with the Archdiocese of Washington, Sisters of Life, and St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth, and Families.
The committee’s work was further informed by two benchmarking projects carried out primarily by its undergraduate research intern. First, the committee examined policies governing and resources available for pregnant and parenting students at close to 100 institutions of higher education. Of those, the committee’s intern independently researched policies and resources at 50 institutions comprising DC-Maryland-Virginia-area schools, the Newman Guide schools, Ivy League schools, and notable Catholic institutions. She supplemented her research with information about an additional 40 institutions gleaned from the college ratings published by Students for Life of America. This research gave the committee a sense of the most common resources and support offered to pregnant and parenting students, as well as creative ideas implemented at one or a few schools that go beyond the typical institutional response.
Second, the committee examined staff parental leave policies at 32 institutions of higher education; here, again, the schools surveyed included institutions in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area, the Newman Guide schools, and other Catholic institutions.
A Word to Students: You are Not Alone
Since the Guadalupe Project’s inception, the committee heard early and often, both directly and secondhand, of seemingly widespread uncertainty about what the “official” response of the University would be to an unmarried student who is pregnant. The committee was made aware of widely shared concerns that an unmarried pregnant student might face some disciplinary action, even up to being made to leave the University, on account of her pregnancy.
It is important, therefore, to state plainly here that an unmarried pregnant student at Catholic University will not face disciplinary action when she reveals her pregnancy; nor will a male student face disciplinary action on account of his sexual partner becoming pregnant.
To the contrary: we pledge that a pregnant unmarried student at Catholic University will be met with support and with love. The University stands ready to accompany any pregnant student through her pregnancy by assisting her with her material, spiritual, psychological, and physical needs, as well as with continuing to pursue the completion of her academic program. No pregnant mother – and no expectant father – on our campus should feel alone, and none will be alone if they allow the University to walk with them through this season.
In considering how to best serve the families in our community, the committee has outlined three spheres for growth: improvements in family-friendly policies; adjustments to our physical plant; and enhancements to our campus culture. In approaching these three spheres, the committee has also been mindful of the different populations that a successful program must serve: our undergraduate and graduate students; faculty and staff; and our wider community.
All of the Guadalupe Project’s action items build on the resources, support, and accommodations already available to students, staff, and faculty at Catholic University. Today, President Kilpatrick and the Guadalupe Project committee are happy to share the following deliverables that have resulted from the committee’s work and the contributions of many other members of the Catholic University student body, staff, and faculty. Our hope is that this suite of action items, taken together, will measurably improve the quality of life and peace of mind of the mothers and fathers in our community, and by extension, of their children as well.
1. Staff Paid Parental Leave: Employment policies should make it easier for employees to welcome children and to prioritize family obligations—especially at a Catholic institution. The Guadalupe Project is delighted to announce a number of changes that expand and improve existing University family leave policies for non-faculty staff, including:
1. Extend the maximum period of paid parental leave for eligible employees from 8 weeks to 12 weeks.
2. Remove the waiting period for eligibility for paid parental leave. Fulltime staff will now be eligible for paid parental leave immediately upon hire, with no waiting period.
3. Allow parents who are both employed as staff by the University to use the maximum amount of individual paid parental leave available under the policy.
These changes will be effective as of December 1, 2022.
2. Faculty Paid Parental Leave: The University provides 8 weeks of paid parental leave to eligible faculty members in which the faculty member is relieved of all obligations to the University. He or she has no teaching obligations for the entirety of the semester during which paid parental leave is taken; research and service obligations will apply before and after the eight weeks of leave. Today, Provost Aaron Dominguez is sending a letter to faculty and academic leadership announcing that he is initiating the process to extend faculty parental leave to 12 weeks and reinforcing the University’s firm commitment to providing this benefit to faculty members, uniformly and fairly in accordance with the Faculty Handbook.
3. Supporting Female Faculty Members with Children: The Guadalupe Project received input outlining various challenges that women with children can face in advancing in tenure-track faculty positions. The Office of the Provost has committed to convening a working group to better study these challenges and consider innovative ways to support women faculty with children.
4. Classroom Accommodations for Pregnant Instructors: The committee received input that pregnant instructors would benefit from the ability to request an accessible classroom. The University currently provides classroom accommodations for instructors who find walking long distances or up stairways to reach their assigned classrooms to be challenging during their pregnancy. Instructors who desire a classroom accommodation should discuss the requested accommodation with the Office of Human Resources. Once the request is received, Human Resources will notify the Office of Enrollment Services, which will work to find an available classroom that meets the pregnant instructor’s specific needs.
5. Child Care Benefits: Input received from the campus community has made it clear that assistance with child care remains one of the top concerns of faculty and staff members with children. To better understand the specific needs of the community and to aid the University in crafting policies responsive to those needs, the Office of Human Resources has committed to conducting a University-wide survey of child-care priorities this fall, which will inform further steps to support the community’s child-care needs.
Adjustments to Physical Plant:
1. Expectant Mother Parking: Pregnancy can be tiring, and it often brings with it some limitations on the expectant mother’s physical capabilities. Navigating our expansive campus may at times present a challenge to some expectant mothers. To help ease the burden of walking long distances to her workplace or classroom, the University has designated four parking spaces reserved for the exclusive use of expectant mothers who hold University parking permits. These reserved spaces are clearly indicated with
new signage and located in the Shahan/McGivney, McMahon, and O’Boyle parking lots, and on Divinity Way west of Caldwell.
2. Diaper Changing Stations: Safe, clean diaper changing stations provide a convenient place for parents to care for their children, and their availability sends a message that families are welcome on campus. Demonstrating that hospitality, the University currently provides a total of 12 diaper changing stations in both men’s and women’s rooms in several buildings throughout campus. The Facilities Division has committed to managing the addition of 60 to 80 changing tables, at a rate of 10 to 20 per year, with a particular focus on increasing the number available in men’s restrooms.
3. Access to Lactation Space: The University remains committed to respecting the rights and meeting the needs of nursing mothers. There are currently three wellness rooms, available to be used as lactation spaces, throughout campus. They are located in McMahon Hall, Gowan Hall, and Maloney Hall. Additional wellness rooms are planned for the new Conway School of Nursing building and the lower level of the Columbus School of Law. If a nursing mother determines that these locations are not conveniently located or easily accessible for her, and she does not have or does not wish to use her personal office, the University will provide an alternate private location. To request an alternate location, a mother should contact either her supervisor or the Manager of Employee Relations (x6594 or HR-EmployeeRelations@cua.edu) who will work with the Director of Space Management in the Facilities Division to identify suitable space.
4. LONG TERM Family-Friendly Campus: Many campus environments include child-friendly spaces on campus, such as playgrounds and child-friendly study spaces or computer lounges. These spaces help to meet the occasional need of parents who work and study at Catholic University to bring their children with them to campus, and demonstrate that the University is, even in its physical composition, a welcoming place for families. The Facilities Division has committed to exploring the possibility of adding child-friendly spaces to our campus, with a playground as the first priority.
Enhanced Campus Culture:
1. Pregnancy Resource Informational Materials: The Guadalupe Project received a great deal of input pointing out that information about the resources and support available to pregnant students at Catholic University is difficult to locate and, as a result, students are often unaware of where to turn. In response to this feedback, the Guadalupe Project commissioned the creation of a suite of informational materials to summarize on and off-campus resources available to pregnant students or other members of the university community, as well as to convey the University’s support. These materials include an updated pregnancy resource booklet, aimed primarily at students and available electronically as well as in hard copy; posters that will hang around campus as a visible sign of encouragement to pregnant and parenting students; and stickers with a QR code (leading to the e-booklet) affixed to highly visible locations such as bathroom mirrors or doors.
2. Website Hub for Pregnancy and Parenting Resources: A major component of the new communications materials will be a new landing page on the University website dedicated to pregnancy and parenting resources. This website, located at parenting.catholic.edu and titled Parenting@Catholic, will serve as the hub for information about all of the University’s policies and resources for pregnant and parenting students, faculty, and staff.
3. Baby Items in Cardinal Cupboard: The Cardinal Cupboard, located in the Pryzbyla Center, provides non-perishable food items at no cost to any member of the university community experiencing food insecurity. Through a generous donation from St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth, and Families, diapers, wipes, baby wash, and lotions are now available through Cardinal Cupboard for any member of the Catholic University community who needs assistance obtaining essentials for his or her baby. For more information on how to obtain items from the Cupboard, visit https://service. catholic.edu/cardinal-cupboard/index.html.
4. Pregnancy Testing: Free, confidential pregnancy tests, already available at Student Health Services, now can be taken home by a student or used in the office. Tests will come with a copy of the pregnancy resource booklet so that every student taking a pregnancy test has ready access to information about available support.
5. Mass for Pregnancy and Early Infant Loss: Pregnancy and early infant loss—whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, SIDS, or otherwise—is a deep hurt that grieving parents too often feel they must bear alone. The Office of Campus Ministry, in collaboration with Cardinals for Life, has committed to hosting an annual Mass of Remembrance in honor of the lost little ones loved by members of the University community. All who have been touched by pregnancy loss or early infant death are invited to gather and commend their children to the Lord. The first annual Mass will be held in November. Campus Ministry will also create a “Book of Little Ones” in which the names of deceased babies will be inscribed and remembered monthly at Mass.
6. Mothers’ and Fathers’ Groups: For many moms and dads, sharing milestones, joys, and challenges with other parents brings a number of benefits. Being part of a community of parents builds a sense of solidarity and can even be a key resource for practical parenting strategies. The Office of Campus Ministry has committed to working with faculty and staff organizations to develop and support fellowship groups for mothers and fathers on campus, through which parents will have the opportunity to receive formation, encouragement, and support from one another and mentors in the community.
7. Welcome Swag for Baby Cardinals!: Welcoming a new baby into the world is cause for celebration. The University looks forward to celebrating newborn and newly adopted children in faculty and staff families with a welcome basket to include infant spirit wear, spiritual resources, and other goodies.
8. Cardinals for Life Babysitting Program: As discussed above, it is clear that parents in the University community feel a pressing need for accessible, affordable, quality child care. While the Office of Human Resources explores ways to meet this need, the Guadalupe Project is grateful to a student group, Cardinals for Life, for offering a babysitting program as a service to the community. Cardinals for Life maintains a list of students who have expressed interest in volunteering to provide independent child care for faculty, staff, and student parents. Interested parents may contact Cardinals for Life through The Nest.
9. Drop-in Tutoring for Children of Metro Students: The Metropolitan School for Professional Studies serves a nontraditional student population of working adults seeking to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree. Many Metro students are parents and finding reliable and affordable care for their children during their evening classes can become a barrier to finishing their degrees. The University has committed to exploring the provision of drop-in tutoring services for school-aged children of Metro students on campus during Metro class times.
10. Support to Pregnant Moms and Children in our Community: St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth, and Families is a local ministry that provides housing and support services to pregnant and parenting mothers at its campus on Eastern Avenue. The historical relationship between Catholic University and St. Ann’s is memorialized in stained glass in the chapel at St. Ann’s, which depicts the University as part of the visual backdrop of the work of the Daughters of Charity caring for mothers and babies in the DC area. Campus Ministry leads regular service projects at St. Ann’s and the Guadalupe Project has sought to augment that relationship by identifying additional concrete ways to aid the mothers and children it serves. Service opportunities for CUA students identified thus far include landscaping and maintenance projects around the St. Ann’s campus, hosting baby showers for residents, providing music at a Christmas reception, and offering “life and legal skills” classes to residents. In turn, St. Ann’s has offered to be a resource for expectant mothers in the Catholic University student community.
11. LONG TERM Maternity Clothes Closet: Buying an entirely new wardrobe suitable for pregnancy is expensive, particularly when the expectant mother needs some clothing that is appropriate for professional settings. To aid expectant mothers with these needs, the Guadalupe Project is exploring the creation of a campus maternity clothes closet, through which community members may donate used maternity clothes in good condition and other community members may obtain them free of charge.
Recommendations for Further Study
1. Housing: Current University policy encourages pregnant undergraduate students to stay in their residence hall if they desire. Other suitable housing options are available off campus; for example, St. Ann’s Center invites applications from Catholic University students who are single mothers with demonstrated financial need to live in one of its program residences.
The Guadalupe Project committee has identified several long-term opportunities to enhance the University’s housing offerings for pregnant and parenting students. Based on input from the community and its study of housing opportunities offered by other universities, the committee recommends that the University study the possibilities for University-owned housing for student mothers, and University-subsidized housing for graduate-student families. The committee also recommends that the University consider whether to seek a partner entity to establish an off-campus maternity home that would serve students from Catholic University and other local universities.
2. Scholarships: Mothers who desire to complete their undergraduate education while caring for their babies face particular financial challenges. The committee recommends that the University study the possibility of providing scholarships to mothers pursuing the completion of an undergraduate degree.
3. Tucson Program: Shortly after it was convened, the Guadalupe Project committee opened a dialogue with staff of the University’s Tucson Program, seeking to identify ways to support pregnant and parenting students, staff, and faculty in the extended Catholic University community in Tucson as well. It quickly became evident, however, that directly replicating the work of the Guadalupe Project for the Tucson Program is not feasible. In Tucson, Catholic University occupies a small suite of rooms in a local community college, so it is not within the University’s power to make changes to the physical plant there. Many of the other new resources and support put in place by the Guadalupe Project are accessible only to people physically present at our campus here in Washington. The small size of the Tucson Program is another limitation on the resources available there.
Nonetheless, the students and staff of the Tucson Program are part of the Catholic University family. In the spirit of the Guadalupe Project, Tucson staff have connected with the Diocese of Tucson’s efforts to support mothers in need, as well as with other local organizations that serve mothers and their children. The committee recommends that as the Tucson Program continues to grow, the University should study how best to provide resources and support to pregnant and parenting members of the Tucson Program community. In addition to the items discussed above, the Guadalupe Project and President Kilpatrick are happy to share two overarching commitments that will ensure the continuation of this work.
At the heart of this effort is a desire to walk with—to accompany—pregnant and parenting students and colleagues, whether they are undergraduates discovering an unplanned pregnancy, graduate students starting a family at the same time as they begin their careers as scholars, or faculty and staff who are as committed to their own family lives as they are to their work at Catholic University. In order to accomplish this objective and truly become a place of radical welcome responsive to the needs of its community, the Guadalupe Project must have a permanent presence.
To that end, President Kilpatrick is committing to the creation of a Parenting Resource Coordinator staff position, who would be tasked with ongoing facilitation of established resources and development of new ones in response to the needs of the community. This position is resource-dependent and will be posted as soon as resources permit.
Finally, situated as it is within a university, the Guadalupe Project would not be complete without a scholarly pillar. Scholars have a special task, according to Evangelium Vitae, to “place themselves at the service of a new culture of life by offering serious and well documented contributions, capable of commanding general respect and interest by reason of their merit.”
The Center for Law and the Human Person (CLHP) at the Columbus School of Law, led by its director and Guadalupe Project committee member Elizabeth Kirk, J.D., is committed to serving as a resource for thinking about how core commitments of the Catholic intellectual tradition, including respect for the inviolability of all human life, ought to inform the study, teaching, and practice of law. For example, in the past year, CLHP hosted a number of conversations about the impact of the Dobbs decision, including a symposium on the role of infant adoption in women’s decision-making in the case of an unexpected pregnancy. The CLHP will host a conference in spring 2023 on the centrality of the dignity of the human person to a proper understanding of justice.
The committee is grateful to the other faculty members and academic institutes and centers across the University that regularly engage with questions about human dignity, robust family policy, and other related matters from the perspective of a variety of disciplines. It recommends that the University continue to support and encourage this work.
Before us lies an opportunity not only to protect but fully to embrace the sanctity of human life. It is a moment that calls first and foremost for love. Our task is to build a culture of radical hospitality here on our campus that will serve those among us and illuminate the world around us. Our university motto, Deus Lux Mea Est, is a reminder not only of the divine gift of human dignity, but of the divine call to charity. We shine with the light of God so that others may see too. As we recommit ourselves to the work of supporting one another we ask for the grace to be that light— to new mothers and fathers who may be alone and afraid; to growing families who are overwhelmed with the demands of family life and who need our love and support; to spouses and parents who are facing crises in their families; to children who should be cherished at every stage of life; and to one another.
The practical measures we have outlined in this report contribute to enhancing a culture of hospitality in our University community, but they alone are not enough. Much of the work to be done rests not in operational or policy changes, but in the reorientation of our hearts. Building a culture of radical hospitality is work we must undertake together. “Now is the time …” the Catholic bishops of the United States have said, “for healing wounds and repairing social divisions; it is a time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love.”
The most important work of the Guadalupe Project is to extend the invitation to live this mission to every member of the Catholic University community. We look forward to continuing to work together to build a community that reflects the most profound commitment of our faith: that God is love.
We close this opening chapter of the Guadalupe Project’s work by looking again to Mary, the model of radical hospitality. We recall that in the story of the wedding at Cana (John 2: 1-12) it is Mary who perceives the unvoiced needs of the married couple: “When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’” Mary is only a guest at the party, but that doesn’t stop her from attending to the needs of those around her.
We witness the same in the account of her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. Even as she ponders the shocking news of her own pregnancy, perhaps with some trepidation, she turns her attention to the needs of her cousin. Her way is one of generosity, of gentleness, and of accompaniment. In building a culture of radical hospitality, we must make her way our own, and learn from Mary how to offer support by perceiving, listening, assisting, and bringing peace and assurance to those in our midst as they in turn build their families into “communities of love.”
The Guadalupe Project Leadership
Dr. Peter K. Kilpatrick
Jennie Bradley Lichter, Chair
Deputy General Counsel
Dr. Judi Biggs Garbuio
Vice President for Student Affairs
Rev. Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P.
University Chaplain & Director of Campus Ministry
Director of the Center for Law & the Human Person at the Columbus School of Law
Chief Human Resources Officer
Larissa York, Class of 2024
Jennie Bradley Lichter is currently Deputy General Counsel at The Catholic University of America, and Senior Legal Fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute. She previously served in the White House as a Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC).