The Divine Word University’s approach to education is enshrined in the Divine Word Institute’s Charter (1977), which crafts a vision of an academic community in search of truth, with a religiously oriented and socially conscious environment as the setting for the learning experience. It draws on the charism of St Arnold Janssen SVD, in its emphasis on mission, service and growing together in faith and learning. DWU serves the nation by placing emphasis on the spirituality of work, self-reliance and service. The University aims at full and inclusive human development.
Each year life at DWU is guided by a special theme. The theme for 2021 is, "The language that all people understand is that of love." These are memorable words attributed to St Joseph Freinademetz.
St. Joseph Freinademetz who came from Oies, which is now in Northern Italy, was the first Divine Word (SVD) missionary to China. He learned how to discover the greatness and beauty of Chinese culture and to love deeply the people to whom he had been sent. He dedicated his life to proclaiming the gospel message of God's love for all peoples, and to embody this love in the formation of Chinese Christian communities. His life was an expression of his motto: “The language that all people understand is that of love.”
We live in a time of a pandemic when the whole world is challenged to rethink the way we live in a "new normal" that will lead to better health for people and for the whole of creation. Healthy practices such as hand-washing are a good start, but the new normal in the future will mean a whole new approach to life, both as individuals and as a society. Universities can play a leading role in imagining and shaping a viable and sustainable future. Divine Word University is well placed in that task with a vision and mission shaped by missionaries such as St Arnold Janssen and St Joseph Freinademetz. A viable and sustainable future will surely depend on love to empower the necessary changes.
Following the spirit of the DWU Charter, Divine Word University will continue to be a Christian community based on love for all people for each other, because each is a child of God. We will work towards instilling that virtue through the efforts of a dedicated staff and faculty, contributing to nation-building and the national vision, in the authentic transformation of students as future leaders and citizens serving the common good.
Professor, Fr. Philip Gibbs SVD, STD, OBE.