Catholic Identity

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a liberal arts institution that pledges its faithfulness to Catholic values and excellence in academics. With an emphasis on the positive power of Providence, SMWC is a community of faith and scholarship. Our unique educational philosophy stresses an exploration of spirituality, a respect for diversity, a passion for stewardship and, as our college motto, “Virtus cum Scientia” (Virtue and Knowledge United) states, a devotion to the unity of faith and reason.

Rooted deeply in Catholic values and traditions, SMWC offers its students opportunities to promote Christian virtues in an active campus ministry program, to act upon their beliefs as part of a peace and justice organization and to develop an inclusive sense of compassion that welcomes and values members of all faiths.

SMWC provides its students with an atmosphere of learning permeated with Catholic traditions. All undergraduate students entering prior to the fall of 2013 are required to pass two theology courses; students beginning at SMWC in the fall of 2013 or later under the Woods Core curriculum, must pass one theology course and two additional courses (WC 100 and a WC 400-level course). These three courses are the hallmark of the Woods Core and allow students to learn the values foundational to the College’s mission, including issues pertaining to sustainability, women, and social justice, values that are also foundational for the Sisters of Providence. Our students are given the opportunity to participate in spring break mission trips, such as recent excursions to help Hurricane Katrina victims and provide food and spiritual comfort to those in a New York city soup kitchen. In addition, SMWC faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the College-sponsored program Pomeroys Volunteer, which allows them to volunteer as a representative of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Students at SMWC are encouraged to deepen their connection with Providence by engaging in quiet spiritual reflection. Locations all over campus, such as the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Sacrament Church, the labyrinth, the Chapel in Le Fer Hall and the secluded outdoor Grotto allow students to reflect upon the role of Christ in their lives by attending daily liturgy services.

As the church bells toll over the oak trees and shake the quiet stillness of our campus, our students are reminded of the mission of our beloved founder, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, who believed, as our faculty and staff do, that a commitment to Catholic values combined with a passion for a rich liberal arts education is key to empowering individuals to elicit a positive change in the world.