In 1964, Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens of Belgium spoke at the University of Chicago and urged that seminaries of the future might be urban based, in the context of a great academic center, and ecumenical in spirit. That speech inspired the founding of CTU in 1968, when several religious orders combined their seminary resources, moved to Chicago’s Hyde Park, and began a daring experiment in collaboration.
Fifty years later, CTU has grown to be a premier school of theology, sponsored by twenty-four religious communities, with a global reputation for academic and pastoral excellence.
The hallmarks of CTU reflect its founding inspiration. CTU enjoys excellent relations with the University of Chicago Divinity School, is a major partner of the Association of Chicago Theology Schools, has partnered with DePaul University, and is a highly respected institution in the eyes of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The original collaboration among men’s religious communities has developed into a remarkable partnership at every level of the institution among religious men, religious sisters, and lay men and women. Nearly one-third of our student body is formed of international students from more than 40 countries, and CTU alumni serve around the world.
The mission of CTU has remained steadfast: to prepare quality religious order seminarians, religious sisters, and lay men and women to serve the Church and the world. CTU alumni serve as parish priests and staff, Chaplains in hospitals and prisons, campus ministers, overseas missionaries and relief workers, leaders in Catholic social service agencies, teachers at all levels of education, and in a host of other roles of service worldwide.
In a world divided culturally, economically, and religiously, wracked by violence, with the poor increasingly more vulnerable, and the environment increasingly threatened on an unprecedented scale, the transforming power of the gospel is needed more urgently than ever. Pope Francis, who radiates the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, has urged the Church not to retreat but to turn to the world with a message of reconciliation, justice, and mercy. He has called us to be missionary disciples in a Church dedicated to service.