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Monday August 1, 2011

The Sustaining Agreement of Saint John’s University and the Saint John’s Monastic Community, Collegeville, Minnesota I.

Historical Background .................................................................................1

II.

Canonical and Civil Status ..........................................................................2

III. Purpose of this Agreement .........................................................................2 IV. Governing Principles ...................................................................................3 V. Sustaining and Nurturing the Relationship Between the Abbey and the University ....................................................................................................4 1. Commitments of the Monastic Community ...................................5 2. Commitments of the University Trustees ......................................6 VI. Sustaining and Promoting the Catholic, Benedictine Character, Mission and Identity of the University .............................................................................7 A. Roles and Responsibilities of the University Trustees ......................7 Commitments of the University Trustees .......................................7 B. Roles and Responsibilities of the Monastic Community.....................9 Commitments of the Monastic Community ....................................9 Note: In Section I (Historical Background), several names are used to refer to the monks of Saint John’s: Saint John’s Abbey, Order of Saint Benedict, monastic community. The use of these various names reflects the complex interplay of several factors: The civil corporation from which Saint John’s University is separating is the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. The canonical juridic person, which continues to include Saint John’s University, is Saint John’s Abbey. In addition there are times when monks want to speak of themselves without legal definition; here “monastic community” is typically used. Analogously, the University is often referred to herein as the “University Trustees” rather than by the formal legal title of the Board of Trustees of Saint John’s University. It is hoped that this attention to language will foster for all parties an appreciation not only of the legal distinctions but of the lived realities in which this sustaining agreement is embodied.


The Sustaining Agreement of Saint John’s University and the Saint John’s Monastic Community, Collegeville, Minnesota

I.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND A. Founded in 1856, Saint John’s Abbey was incorporated in 1857 when the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Minnesota enacted legislation creating an Order instituted for scientific, educational and ecclesiastical purposes, a body politic and corporate, to be known by the name and style of “Order of St. Benedict,” and by that name to have perpetual succession. The Legislation stated that “the principal object of this politic and corporate body shall be the promotion of the instruction and education of youths, to the acquirement of which end the corporators named in this act shall be hereby authorized to establish and erect an institution, or seminary,…to be known by the name and style of “St. John’s Seminary.” B. A school opened on November 10, 1857, as a seminary for priesthood and today has evolved into Saint John’s Preparatory School and Saint John’s University, which embraces both the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Theology. Each of these, together with Liturgical Press, continues to be part of Saint John’s under the sponsorship and canonical responsibility of Saint John’s Abbey. Saint John’s University continues its identity and mission as a Catholic, Benedictine school, part of the larger family of Saint John’s Abbey, Saint John’s Preparatory School, and Liturgical Press. It continues to be a school imbued with and living by the spirit and values articulated by Saint Benedict when he established his monasteries as “school[s] for the Lord’s service” (RB Prol. 45). C. Saint John’s University operated under the full direction and responsibility of the Order of Saint Benedict from 1857 until 1958. From 1958 until its incorporation as a separate civil corporation, it remained under the direction and responsibility of the monastic community but was assisted in governance functions by a board that evolved into the Saint John’s University Board of Regents. The creation of the new civil corporation was authorized by the Order of Saint Benedict and endorsed by the University Board of Regents. The articles of incorporation filed by the Abbot of Saint John’s Abbey, as incorporator of the University, and the bylaws adopted by the incorporator created the Board of Trustees. This Board is composed of monks of Saint John’s Abbey and a self-perpetuating group of lay persons. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance of the university subject to the powers held by the monks of Saint John’s Abbey as either Class A or Class B Members of the University Corporation.

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II.

CANONICAL AND CIVIL STATUS A. Historically, Saint John’s Abbey, the canonical juridic person, existed before being incorporated in civil law as the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. The solemnly professed monks of Saint John’s Abbey are the members of the juridic person, Saint John’s Abbey, and the members of the civil corporation, the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. B. Historically, Saint John’s University was a division of Saint John’s Abbey/Order of Saint Benedict. The action to establish it as a separate corporation is a civil action. The result in civil law is that: a) the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, remains, but without a Saint John’s University division; and b) a new civil corporation, Saint John’s University, is established. C. The civil action of forming the new Saint John’s University Corporation does not affect the canonical status of the University. Thus Saint John’s University, for canonical purposes, remains a part of the Saint John’s Abbey juridic person. The Order of Saint Benedict also remains the owner of the land where the university campus is located, and the monastic community retains primary responsibility for stewardship of that land claimed and cared for by the monks of Saint John’s since its founding.

III. PURPOSE OF THIS AGREEMENT A. The primary purpose of this agreement is to sustain and nurture a lasting and effective partnership between the monastic community and the University Trustees, so that both may serve the educational mission of the University more effectively, and that the Catholic, Benedictine character, inspiration and presence in dedicated service to others may be maintained. In entering into this Sustaining Agreement, we affirm the creative spirit of the Benedictine monks who founded the school and the visionary commitment and integrity of the monastic leaders and educators who, with dedicated lay colleagues, have built the school into the dynamic University it is today. B. We, the monastic community and the University Trustees, hope to project this same dynamic into the future. We seek to provide a solid foundation for the ongoing vital and active cooperation of the monastic community and the University Trustees, in collaboration with the faculty, staff, and administration, in carrying out our shared responsibility for promoting the Catholic, Benedictine, and liberal arts heritage of the University’s educational mission in all its present and future endeavors. We also seek to articulate processes and structures whereby our living and working together on a common campus with shared buildings and resources may foster a spirit of mutual understanding and promote the well-being of the University, the monastic community, and the other entities

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that Saint John’s comprises, as well as the well-being of the civic and religious communities of our neighborhood, nation, and world. C. Given our common history, our shared living and working environment, and our mutual commitment to advancing the educational mission of Saint John’s University in the Catholic and Benedictine tradition, we set forth in this document the roles and responsibilities of each party to this agreement, with a view to continuing, nurturing, and enhancing the genuine and supportive relationships that exist, for the benefit of all concerned. We recognize the complexity of the factors involved in establishing a separate civil corporation that nevertheless remains part of the canonical juridic person of Saint John’s Abbey, and we affirm that understanding this complexity and working within it is essential to sustaining an effective and harmonious partnership. Such an understanding will allow us always to act with a view toward the greater good of the whole of Saint John’s. D. Finally, in establishing this new civil corporation, we commit ourselves to preserving the unique dynamic by which the monastic community, both corporately and in its individual members, including those not serving in official appointments to the University, contributes vitally and concretely to the education and the personal and spiritual formation of students in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the graduate School of Theology. IV. GOVERNING PRINCIPLES A. All matters expressed in this agreement are to be interpreted and handled in a manner that insures no violation of any legal requirements which would in any way adversely affect the independent status of the University or the rights and responsibilities of the respective parties under civil or canon law, the articles and bylaws of Saint John’s University, or the governing documents of Saint John’s Abbey and the Order of Saint Benedict. If any provision of this agreement is inconsistent with the indicated documents or principles, such provision will be deemed void, while the remaining provisions of this agreement will remain in full force and effect. 1.

Nothing in this agreement is to be interpreted as creating or constituting a legal partnership or joint venture or an agency agreement among the monastic community and University Trustees.

2.

This agreement affirms that the canonical status of Saint John’s University as a Catholic university is dependent upon its belonging to and functioning as part of the canonical juridic person of Saint John’s Abbey and that sustaining such status is of paramount importance.

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3.

The monastic community and University Trustees commit themselves to resolve any conflict or concern which may arise between them in a consultative manner and amicable spirit, including any issue which might develop concerning the interpretation or application of this agreement.

4.

Both the monastic community and University Trustees will review this agreement on a regular basis; such reviews shall take place at least every five (5) years from the date of the signing. This agreement may be amended at any time upon written agreement by both parties.

5.

This Sustaining Agreement is recognized by the monastic community and the University Trustees as the only such agreement articulating their respective roles and responsibilities with regard to sustaining and nurturing their relationship.

6.

This document is a statement of moral and spiritual commitments voluntarily undertaken by the monastic community and University Trustees and is not intended to create or diminish other legal rights or responsibilities.

V. SUSTAINING AND NURTURING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SAINT JOHN’S MONASTIC COMMUNITY AND SAINT JOHN’S UNIVERSITY A. A strong, lively and harmonious relationship between Saint John’s Abbey and Saint John’s University, nourished by mutual interaction and communication, is essential to sustaining the unique Catholic, Benedictine character of the University, as well as to nurturing the intellectual and theological vitality of the monastic community’s life. B. We recognize that, beyond the structures, bylaws and governing documents, the concretely lived quality of the relationship between the university community and the monastic community will be deeply formative and decisive for the flourishing of both the University and the monastic community. Furthermore, our life together on a campus with shared grounds, facilities and resources provides a unique opportunity to give witness to the “good zeal” which Saint Benedict said is the hallmark of Christian life: “This then is the good zeal which monks must foster with fervent love: They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other” (RB 72 [Rom 12:10]). C. In this spirit, the monastic community and the University Trustees commit themselves to nurturing and sustaining a mutually beneficial relationship between the monastic community and the University.

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1. In order to sustain and nurture this relationship, the monastic community commits itself to: a. Be a living model of Benedictine spirituality, mission, identity, and values, as well as a model of dedication and excellence in the performance of responsibilities with regard to the University, both as individuals and as a community. b. Extend hospitality to the University Trustees and administration, faculty, staff, and students, inviting and encouraging them to participate, according to their wishes and circumstances, in the prayer and spiritual life of the monastic community and in the educational and cultural programs and services offered by the monastic community and other enterprises of the Saint John’s community. c. Foster the canonical relationship of the University with Saint John’s Abbey and the civil relationship of the University with the Order of Saint Benedict by regular communication and consultation with the president and Board of Trustees on matters of special concern, such as mission and identity, pastoral care, religious practice, and the care and maintenance of the campus, thus respecting more than 150 years of dedication and service together. d. Foster the University’s relationship with the larger Saint John’s community through regular communication and consultation on the use, care, and maintenance of the campus, parking, roadways, and issues of common importance. Give proper credit to each for initiatives, works, land stewardship, etc. e. Support the University’s policy on Benedictine Preference in hiring and retention of members of the monastic community and participate in the periodic process of updating this policy. f. Make the Abbey and University Church available to the University as its primary place of worship and reflection. g. Engage in outreach to the local community and the local church, insofar as possible within its primary monastic mission, in order to connect the University more effectively to the broader civic and faith communities. h. Exercise leadership in stewarding the land resources and provide leadership in continuing the tradition of quality architecture and design on the Saint John’s campus. i.

Seek to serve the needs of the University and the larger Saint John’s community, pooling resources where possible to gain economies of scale on certain services, purchases, banking, investments, health care, etc.

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j.

Respect the agreements entered into with the University; contribute materially to Saint John’s University as possible, especially in support of priorities endorsed by the monastic community.

k. Communicate openly with the University Trustees with respect to the financial health and other significant circumstances of the monastic community. l. 2.

Participate in alumni events and other university-sponsored activities.

In order to sustain and nurture this relationship, the University Trustees commit themselves to: a. Conduct the University as an educational apostolate under the canonical leadership of Saint John’s Abbey as the canonical juridic person, looking to the monastic community in order to define and deepen the University’s understanding of its Catholic, Benedictine character. b. Encourage the University Trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students to become part of the Saint John’s extended community by participating in the monastic community’s public prayer and activities, by using the campus buildings and grounds as places for prayer and meditation, and by availing themselves of opportunities for retreats, spiritual and cultural programming, and other services offered by Saint John’s enterprises. c. Together with the president, foster the University’s canonical and civil law relationship with the monastic community through regular communication and consultation with the abbot, senior council, and monastic chapter on matters of special concern, such as mission and identity, pastoral care, religious practice, and the care and maintenance of the campus, thus respecting more than 150 years of dedication and service together. d. Foster the University’s relationship with the larger Saint John’s community through regular communication and consultation with the leadership of the monastery and other relevant entities on the use, care, and maintenance of the campus, parking, roadways, and issues of common importance. Give proper credit to each for initiatives, works, land stewardship, etc. e. Continue the use of the Abbey and University Church as its primary place of worship and reflection for the University. f. Uphold the University’s policy on Benedictine Preference in the hiring and retention of members of the monastic community by ensuring its implementation by university administrators, and periodically updating such policy, as necessary, in collaboration with the monastic community; and support the education of monks for work in the University.

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g. Seek appropriate counsel and support from the monastic community on new initiatives to engage in outreach to the local community and the local church in order to connect the University more effectively to the broader civic and faith communities. h. Recognize and respect the Abbey’s ownership of the land and its leadership and abiding interest on issues of land stewardship, quality architecture and design of buildings, and campus usage, especially as they relate to local, state, and federal governmental matters. i.

Seek to serve the needs of the monastic community and the larger Saint John’s community, pooling resources where possible to gain economies of scale on services, purchases, banking, investments, health care, etc.

j.

Respect the agreements entered into with the Order of Saint Benedict and make university buildings available for use by the Abbey and other entities on campus.

k. Communicate openly with the monastic community with respect to the financial health and other significant circumstances of the University. l.

Invite the monastic community as guests of the University to alumni events and other university-sponsored activities.

VI. SUSTAINING AND PROMOTING THE CATHOLIC, BENEDICTINE CHARACTER, MISSION, AND IDENTITY OF THE UNIVERSITY A. Roles and Responsibilities of the University Trustees: The Board of Trustees of Saint John’s University holds the ultimate civil law responsibility for governance of the University according to its articles and bylaws, subject to the powers held by the monks of Saint John’s Abbey as either Class A or Class B Members of the University Corporation. As an integral part of that responsibility, the University Trustees commit themselves to maintain and promote the Benedictine heritage, values, and Catholic identity as fundamental elements of the University’s mission. Thus, the University Trustees commit themselves to: 1. Recognize and work with the monks of Saint John’s Abbey who are designated as the Class A Members of Saint John’s University; the trustees will arrange at least one joint meeting annually with the Class A Members of Saint John’s University and the Executive Committee of the University Board of Trustees to foster discussion and communication. 2. Charge the chair of the Board of Trustees and the president with the responsibility of:

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a. promoting understanding and appreciation of the Catholic, Benedictine character, mission, and identity of the University among trustees, faculty, administration, staff, students, alumni, and the broader constituencies of the University; b. ensuring that the Catholic, Benedictine character of the University is reflected in its curriculum, programs, policies, and practices by reporting annually to the monastic community on these matters; c. collaborating with the Abbey’s leadership to foster the monastic community’s commitment to and participation in the mission of the University; and d. meeting annually with the Class B members for a discussion of the University, including reports about the staffing, major activities, and plans for the future of the Faculty Resident and Campus Ministry Programs. 3.

Recognize that the person holding the office of president of the University serves as the director of an apostolic work of Saint John’s Abbey and of the Catholic Church. This responsibility carries significant implications for the selection and the ongoing evaluation of the president. In the processes of selecting a president, the trustees commit to encourage and promote qualified monks of Saint John’s Abbey as candidates, as well as qualified monks of other Benedictine monasteries. The trustees recognize and accept the preference for having a qualified Benedictine monk serve as president and commit to selecting as president of Saint John’s University a qualified Catholic who understands, appreciates and will ensure the Catholic, Benedictine character, mission, and identity of the University.

4.

Explore and develop strategies for recruiting and retaining a significant portion of Catholic scholars, teachers, artists, and mentors on the faculty and staff in ways that respect the University’s commitment to nondiscrimination, diversity, and ecumenism.

5.

Actively seek qualified members of the monastic community for faculty, staff, and administrative positions, consulting in advance with the abbot and his representatives according to the policy and procedures on Benedictine Preference outlined in the University’s governing documents and in the faculty, administrative, and support staff handbooks. The salaries and benefits of these Benedictines, as well as their responsibilities and obligations, will be commensurate with those of colleagues in like positions; payment will be made to Saint John’s Abbey. The criteria for tenure and promotion for these Benedictines will be the same as for other faculty, recognizing the value of Benedictine presence in the classroom, spiritual ministry, residential programs, and elsewhere.

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6.

Engage the monastic community as an active partner in dialogue when discerning and promoting the Catholic, Benedictine character, mission, identity and religious practices of the university community.

7.

Keep the Catholic, Benedictine character of the University strong by promoting an orientation program for trustees, faculty, administration, staff, and students, addressing this character.

8.

Promote and sustain the School of Theology•Seminary curriculum and program and the strength of the library’s theology collection, so that a vibrant and active graduate school and seminary program can flourish, preparing ministers for the church.

9.

Maintain and promote the Faculty Resident model of residential programming in cooperation with the monastic community by recruiting and training monks of the monastic community to serve as Faculty Residents, assuring that this program remains a central and unique Benedictine element of the Saint John’s University educational experience.

10. Maintain structures within the university in cooperation with the monastic community designed to promote the Catholic, Benedictine character, mission, and identity of the University, for example, campus ministry, the Benedictine Institute, and practices and procedures for hiring and managing in service of this mission. 11. Participate in broad-based Benedictine and Catholic initiatives for higher education, encouraging cooperation among Benedictine and Catholic colleges and universities throughout the world. 12. Maintain a robust theology requirement with ample support and resources as an integral part of the curriculum for all undergraduate students and a distinctive academic program in theology that attracts strong undergraduate majors and minors. 13. Ensure the continued presence of visible religious symbols throughout the campus, such as crucifixes, statues, and artwork, to provide a material culture of faith. B. Roles and Responsibilities of the Monastic Community: While recognizing the autonomy and fiduciary responsibility of the Saint John’s University Board of Trustees in the governance of the University according to civil law, the monastic community affirms the University as an apostolate of Saint John’s Abbey and an integral and important component of Saint John’s canonical juridic person. The monastic community commits itself to ongoing collaboration with the University Trustees, the president, and others in order to sustain and strengthen the Catholic, Benedictine character, mission, and identity of the University. Thus, the monastic community commits itself to: 9


1. Exercise its canonical leadership and responsibility by helping represent, define, and interpret the Catholic, Benedictine character, mission, and identity of Saint John’s University. 2. Engage in dialogue with the trustees and the president on the initiatives and issues identified in annual reports on Catholic and Benedictine character, mission, and identity. 3. Support and actively participate in orientation programs for trustees, faculty, administration, staff, and students, which aim to strengthen the effective Catholic, Benedictine character of the University. 4. Emphasize higher education as a part of the mission of Saint John’s Abbey and actively identify and encourage monks to prepare themselves for leadership roles in higher education, to serve as: a. president of Saint John’s University; b. Class A Members of Saint John’s University; and c. trustees on the Saint John’s University Board of Trustees. 5.

Identify, encourage, and educate monks from Saint John’s monastic community to serve as faculty, administrators, and staff for Saint John’s University, especially as faculty in theology, preparing monks for both the teaching of undergraduate theology and for service as teaching faculty, scholars, and administrators in the School of Theology•Seminary.

6.

Support and participate in the annual joint meeting of the Class A Members of Saint John’s University and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees to foster discussion and communication between the trustees and the monastic community.

7.

Identify, encourage, and educate monks to participate actively in campus ministry, including the role of chaplain, and to provide leadership in the spiritual life and religious practice of the University.

8.

Participate in the promotion, support, and governance structures of the School of Theology•Seminary, including providing scholarly counsel on maintaining the strength of its library holdings, to assure that a vibrant and active graduate school program is present to the Saint John’s campus and to the church at large.

9.

Identify, encourage and educate monks to serve in the Faculty Resident program, which is a central and unique Benedictine element of the Saint John’s educational experience.

10. Support and actively participate in structures within the University designed to promote its Catholic, Benedictine character, mission, and identity.

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11. Participate with the University in broad-based Benedictine and Catholic initiatives for higher education by supporting the work of the Benedictine Institute and encouraging cooperation among Benedictine and Catholic houses and congregations in the United States and throughout the world.

Approved by the Monastic Chapter of Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota. _______________________________________

Date ______________________

Abbot John Klassen, O.S.B., Abbot of Saint John’s Abbey

Approved by the Board of Trustees of Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. _______________________________________

Date ______________________

Ms. Ann Huntrods, Chair of Saint John’s University Board of Trustees _______________________________________

Date ______________________

Fr. Robert Koopmann, O.S.B., President of Saint John’s University

First review and approval ______________________ (Date)

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Sustaining Agreement  

The Sustaining Agreement of Saint John’s University and the Saint John’s Monastic Community, Collegeville, Minnesota

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