Office of Mission & Identity

In mid-2019, Assistant to the President for Mission Integration Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos was appointed to succeed John Staudenmaier, S.J., former assistant to the president for Mission and Identity.

Punsalan-Manlimos' new Office of Mission Integration (OMI) will continue to reinforce the importance of Detroit Mercy's Catholic, Mercy and Jesuit identity with students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Why this website?

Detroit Mercy's c. 1,300 employees are expected to bring competence to their job descriptions. The Office of Mission & Identity (M&I) is explicitly charged with nourishing employee conversations about the soul of the University as it is integrated with the body. M&I's nine programs integrate Detroit Mercy's "soul" (research, teaching, Mercy and Jesuit traditions, Roman Catholic and urban commitments, etc.) with Detroit Mercy's "body" (budget management, public image management, capital projects, long-term maintenance, etc.). 

Mission & Identity media

On the M&I Media page, you'll find a selection of video and audio programs relevant to the University's mission and identity.

Spiritual Exercises: Articles

Texts provided in Adobe Reader (PDF) format

  • "Sensual Prayer - Electronic Context: Ignatian Prayer for Internet Users"
    A look at how electronic media, including the Internet, are important influences on our lives. Which disciplines of prayer can help us meet God in the electronic dimensions of life? Download text
  • "Electric Lights Cast Long Shadows: Seeking the Greater Good in a World of Competing Clarities"
    This lecture considers a commonplace technology, electric lights, and how an interrogation of artificial lighting might help us understand the Ignatian form of prayer known as "seeking the greater good." Download text

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    Lansing-Reilly Mid-Day Retreats

    Retreat schedule

    • 11:30 a.m.    Gather in the LR large front parlor
    • 12:05 p.m.    Lunch in the Jesuit dining room
    • 12:50 p.m.    Gather in the LR large front parlor
    • 4:00 p.m.      Head for home

    Over the past two years about 360 staff, administrators, and faculty of the University have made the LR Mid-day Retreat.  If you have not yet made the retreat, I invite you to join them. It is a five-hour retreat that all Detroit Mercy budget managers have signed off on, and it is the retreat that Detroit Mercy wants all employees to make at some time.  For new employees, it is a great way to meet people from other parts of the University and to think about Detroit Mercy's way of being a university.

    The retreat has two goals:

    • To introduce Detroit Mercy's mission with an in-depth presentation about what it means:
      • To be a university (i.e., any university is committed to doing teachingresearch and service).
      • To be Detroit Mercy (i.e. Detroit Mercy is publicly committed to being a university that is CatholicMercy & Jesuiturbanstudent centered).
    • To give the people an opportunity to talk with people from around the University's three campuses about the Detroit Mercy mission (what seems important where you work, what seems irrelevant). That's what the small group sessions are for.

    Many retreat alumni say that the retreat's two best features are: 

    1. The chance to talk seriously about what Detroit Mercy stands for with people they have never met before from all parts of the University.
    2. The food at Lansing Reilly.


    Please email Ruth Fichter at to reserve a place. We will fill each retreat on a first-come, first-served basis.

    John Staudenmaier, S.J.
    Assistant to the President for Mission


    Mission & Identity Annual Reports

    The Office of Mission & Identity exists to create and host events for Detroit Mercy faculty, staff, administrators and trustees, designed to invite candid conversations about Detroit Mercy's stated mission and how that mission operates in specific university workplaces. Mission & Identity-facilitated programs are designed to foster a discerning environment where each unit becomes more integrated with other parts of the university and contributes to the growing health of Detroit Mercy’s Identity and Mission.

    To learn more about the activities of the Office of Mission & Identity, read the annual report (PDF).


    Mission Leadership Awards

    The Mission Effectiveness Team sponsors two awards:

    • The Vivere ex Missione Award, presented to up to four graduating students annually at their respective Commencement ceremony (McNichols undergraduate and graduate; School of Law; and School of Dentistry); and
    • The Agere ex Missione Award, presented at the President's Convocation to one faculty member and to one staff or administrator.

    For more information, to nominate someone, and for past winners, visit the leadership awards web page.



    Lunch on your Lap during Lent

    Background, Term One Conversations:

    Mission Lunch Conversations at Lansing-Reilly got started in term one with three lunches, each one focused on questions about Detroit Mercy students. As a set their content focused on Detroit Mercy's mission to be student-centered.

    • First Lunch:
          "Six Traits of Millennials,"   "Campus Design for Net Generation"
    • Second Lunch:
          "Stress Takes a Tool on College Students"
    • Third Lunch:
          "Selected questions from National Survey of Student Engagement and from Higher Education Research Institute Faculty Survey"

    Lenten Series

    This Lent series is a four-part series that focuses on another part of the mission statement: Detroit Mercy's Catholic, Mercy, and Jesuit identity.

    Part 1

    "Praying in the World"  John Staudenmaier, S.J. will talk and invite discussion about how to pray the news (of the world, the USA, the city, the university  etc.) No reading.

    Part 2

    "Companions in Mission:  Pluralism in Action" Keynote at Loyola Marymount University February 2, 2009 by Fr. Adolfo Nicolás. Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Jesuits.  In this talk he explores the challenges of peer to peer pluralism on Jesuit university campuses. I read the talk on the plane in late February and thought that a lot of Detroit Mercy people might like to read and discuss it. (PDF)

    Part 3

    "Wisdom, Dignity, and Justice:  Higher Education as a Work of Mercy"  Margaret Farley, Emeritus Professor of Theology and Yale University. I heard Margaret present this at the Conference for Mercy Higher Education at Gwynedd-Mercy College.  Deeply insightful about the place of the Mercy Charism in a university setting. (PDF

    Part 4

    "Praying the Days of Holy Week: Grief, Kinship and Joy at the Heart of Prayer" Staudenmaier again. No reading.


    Heartland Delta

    The Heartland-Delta VII Conference was held on Thursday, May 28 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Student Center’s Ballroom on Detroit Mercy’s McNichols Campus. Heartland-Delta is comprised of 12 Jesuit colleges and universities in the central and southern regions of the United States. Faculty and staff of the universities have been gathering for a regular conference hosted by one of the institutions on a rotating basis for more than 20 years.  These gatherings serve as an essential venue for dialogue and learning about issues related to Jesuit education and our shared mission.

    The first virtual conference included 15-minute pre-recorded talks, small group discussion and reflection as well as feedback through teleconferencing with the other AJCU colleges/universities. It is hoped that this format might be a model for future collaborations. The conference theme was “Balancing our economic realities with our call to the margins,” and was hosted by Rockhurst University.

    Speakers included:

    • Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi, President of University of Detroit Mercy
    • Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., Founder and Executive Director, Homeboy Industries
    • Sr. Peggy O’Neill, S.C., Director of the Centre of the Arts for Peace in El Salvador
    • Fr. Rick Malloy, S.J., Acting Director of Campus Ministries, University of Scranton
    • Dr. Raymond F. Reyes, Assoc. Academic Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Gonzaga University

    For more information, see the overview PDFconference schedule or contact John Staudenmaier, S.J., assistant to the President, Mission & Identity, at 313-993-1622 or by email at Also, follow updates on the Facebook and Twitter pages.


    Migration and Refugee Research Directory

    The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) maintains an open database of migration and refugee researchers at Jesuit institutions, including several at University of Detroit Mercy. The site brings together research on migration, displacement, and refugees from a wide variety of perspectives, as well as listings of related centers and institutes, advocacy and education, direct service, academic programs and publications.  Visit the site at