Rockhurst University’s motto, Sapientia Aedificavit Sibi Donum, translates as “Wisdom has built herself a home.” The plot of land between Troost Avenue and The Paseo, north of 52nd to almost 55th Street south, houses this standard. Built on solid and fertile soil, it is truly an educational and spiritual anchor in our local Catholic community at the heart of Kansas City.
Wisdom is more than one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom (Sapientia) is the Holy Spirit! More than knowledge, data, intellect, information, or IQ, wisdom inculcates understanding, right judgment, good counsel, empathy, and EQ; and more than expanding our learning from brilliant minds of various academic disciplines, wisdom rushes to embrace the mind and heart of God through discernment and prayerful dialogue. When wisdom builds herself a home in our lives, education is not limited but is availably present in our every encounter—for each encounter touches God’s beauty, goodness, and truth and opens a door to another room of expanded relationship and growth.
During this academic year, I office in Conway Hall, a building erected in the 1930s and named for the college president at the time, Father Dan Conway, S.J., who faced immense fiscal setbacks during the Great Depression, as well as challenges of accreditation that stagnated the school. But he was determined to overcome high debts and low funds, lofty hurdles and declining enrollment. Like Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams, he was a one-man team who heard a voice: “If you build it, they will come.” With no money, he did just that until backers witnessing his grit, faith, and determination joined him. Saint Francis of Assisi had a similar experience when Jesus, from the cross, told him to rebuild the church. Francis initially thought that his divinely mandated task was primarily physical, but he came to realize that it would be primarily spiritual. When Pope Francis took his name, he set a tone for his pontificate which reminds us that we, God’s people, are to be builders of His message and mission today with place-based anchoring that is rock-solid and fertile.
So, in the heart of our city, Rockhurst University opens its doors and reaches out to neighbors around Troost Avenue and The Paseo to bring forth that wisdom of God from which our society will benefit. We want this plot of land to be an anchor that tethers us to the Good Lord and to one another, inspiring education for children and their families, enhancing community engagement, and stabilizing housing and economic opportunities for any who live, learn, work, or worship here. Such works will help us carry out Christ’s message, ministry, and mission from this house that Wisdom built.