Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange endow the C.S.J. Center for Reconciliation and Justice with $2 million gift
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange (C.S.J.) were recently asked to consider what would be needed to fully safeguard the viability and stability of the C.S.J. Center for Reconciliation and Justice well into the future. What came back to the congregation’s leadership was a strategic plan that recommended to increase the endowment by $2 million to fund the center, ensuring Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange’s legacy.
“This gift affirms our original gift to establish the center,” said Mary Beth Ingham, C.S.J., Board of Trustees member and distinguished scholar of philosophy. “To see how the programs have grown and deepened and had an affect both on the campus and the city of L.A. … it’s making a dream come true.”
To understand the magnitude of this gift from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, it’s important to go back in history. One of the unique aspects of Loyola Marymount University is its founding heritage, which includes three religious orders, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (R.S.H.M.) and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange (C.S.J.). Equal partners in mission, but unless the university were called “Loyola Marymount of Orange University,” the C.S.J.s didn’t have quite the same visibility as the other two orders.
That was until a few years leading up to LMU’s centennial in 2011, when the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Orange were approached by President Robert B. Lawton, S.J., and Provost David Burcham to ask if they might be interested in marking their presence on campus in a special way.
An initial gift of $1 million from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange established the Center for Reconciliation and Justice. The timing of such a momentous gift also coincided with the 100th jubilee of the Congregation. The center offers a forum for dialogue, a place for education and a resource for reflective action to promote unity among all persons and with God. Programming focuses on social justice issues and works with students, faculty, staff and alumni from every college and school as well as partnerships across the Los Angeles community.
“We are a group that hosts people who want to talk to each other as we plan for mutually important events about existing topics,” said Judith Royer, C.S.J., Ph.D., director of the center. “We love to discover people across disciplines and find complementary expertise around a particular subject.”
As the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange congregation helped shape LMU’s mission during its merger, the center helps carry it forward. Eight years into its existence, the center continues to collaborate across campus to transform hearts and minds through engagement, collaboration and programming.
Not lost on the Sisters is the continued synchronicity of the timing of their gift. Just like the original gift aligned the university’s centenary with the Congregation’s jubilee, this second gift also carries an important synchronic nature: At the Jesuits’ 36th General Congregation, it was decided that the works of reconciliation are paramount to the Jesuits going forward.
“This moment and this gift are a locus for energy at LMU that will bring together the Ignatian mission around reconciliation for the next five years with the identity of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange and our mission, which has always been about reconciliation in the world,” said Sister Ingham. “It’s the Holy Spirit at work; we’re just helping out.”
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