By reading, Augustine was transformed and after much personal and spiritual struggle, he was at last able to change his life. The Augustine and Culture Seminar Program (ACS) introduces students to great works of literature and thought that have much to teach us not only about the cultures and time periods in which they were written, but also about our own cultural heritage and ourselves, here and now. The basic idea is that, by reading great works, perhaps we too can be transformed: perhaps we too can move more deeply into ourselves, and from there move more compassionately out into our communities.
ACS seeks to help students develop a richer inner life and an appreciation for community. The seminar is founded on the belief that seeking the truth (veritas) with respect and love (caritas) toward one another leads to deep and lasting community (unitas). ACS thus tries to help students live the values so important to Villanova that they are on its seal: veritas, unitas, caritas.
One way or the other, Augustine is our model. ACS learning community students take this course not only to learn about Augustine, but more important to learn to be like him in his passionate engagement with “the higher things”: literature, history, and politics; truth and moral values; the gods and God. In the Confessions, Augustine speaks of himself as committed to the truth “heart and voice and pen.” The ACS learning community faculty believe that thinking deeply about what we care about, learning to articulate our thoughts clearly and persuasively, and working to write with insight not only will serve as excellent preparation for future careers, but will help us come to terms with life emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, both in the university and beyond.