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Email: ai@wju.edu
Phone: 304-243-4361


History


Inspired by the call for action at the local level made in the 1975 publication This Land Is Home to Me: A Pastoral Letter on Powerlessness in Appalachia by the Catholic Bishops of the Region, the Appalachian Institute was founded in 2002.

The Appalachian Institute at WJU is named to honor Rev. Clifford M. Lewis, the first Jesuit to reside in Wheeling in 1953. Two years earlier, at the request of Bishop John Swint, Fr. Lewis initiated a two-year feasibility study which led to the founding of Wheeling College. An area native, Fr. Clifford M. Lewis dreamed of an institution that would "provide independent enlightenment to tomorrow's problems." His dream lives on in the Appalachian Institute, which derives its inspiration from, and is guided by, This Land is Home to Me, the pastoral message from the Catholic Bishops of the Appalachian region.

"The dream of the mountains' struggle, the dream of simplicity and of justice, like so many other repressed visions is, we believe, the voice of the Lord among us. In taking them up, hopefully the Church might once again be known as a center of the Spirit, a place where poetry dares to speak, where the song reigns unchallenged, where art flourishes, where nature is welcome, where in a wilderness of idolatrous destruction, the great voice of God still cries out for life."
from This Land is Home to Me, Appalachian Catholic Bishops, signed February 1, 1975 at Wheeling College - Full Pastoral Letter


"More and more people recognize that a new social order is being born. Indeed, the spirit of God presses us to this recognition. We do not understand it all, but we know we are part of it, in Appalachia, our nation, across the world."
from This Land is Home to Me, Appalachian Catholic Bishops, signed February 1, 1975 at Wheeling College - Full Pastoral Letter


"We continue to believe in the spiritual depth and creativity of the people of Appalachia. We believe that they can find a way to remain at home in the web of life."
from At Home in the Web of Life, Appalachian Catholic Bishops, First Edition 1995 -
Full Pastoral Letter


"We dare to speak, and speak strongly, because we believe that the cry of the poor is also a message of hope, a promise that there can be a better way."
from This Land is Home to Me, Appalachian Catholic Bishops, signed February 1, 1975 at Wheeling College -
Full Pastoral Letter

The Institute's continued success comes from the generous support of donors and collaborators across the region and the country who are interested in promoting the "message of hope, a promise that there can be a better way" encouraged by the Appalachian bishops in This Land Is Home to Me.


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