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Highlights of the year

7.1 Convocation

On Friday, June 15, 2018, Saint Paul University celebrated convocation with great fanfare. It was with great excitement that staff members, professors and graduates of Saint Paul University congregated on campus to celebrate. No fewer than 159 students in Canon Law, Human Sciences, Theology, and Transformative Leadership received their diplomas.

Convocation 2019

Honorary Doctorates
Once again this year, we celebrated activism! Two committed individuals were granted an honorary doctorate: ethnographer Vivian Labrie, a woman of action and leading advocate for social justice; and publisher Pierre Bergeron, a renowned journalist and communicator and a staunch supporter of francophone rights.

Governor General’s Academic Medal
The Governor General’s Silver Medal was awarded to Maria Dagba (valedictorian), who has just completed an honours degree in Social Communication. The Governor General’s Gold Medal went to Sister Bonnie Ann MacLellan, Ph.D. (Canon Law).

Inspire. Encourage. Motivate. That is the mandate that Laurette Milonga Kaphemba (Conflict Studies), Maria Dagba (Social Communication) and Marie-Hélène Casimiro (Public Ethics) gave themselves as valedictorians. Mission accomplished! These young bachelor’s students eloquently addressed the University community during convocation.

Facebook Live
For the very first time in Saint Paul’s history, its convocation was broadcast online through Facebook Live. Several thousand viewers from all over the world watched this very special event from the comfort of their homes.


7.2 Social Innovation Workshop

Saint Paul University, through its Élisabeth Bruyère School of Social Innovation, opened its social innovation incubator on April 6, 2018. The establishment of the incubator was made possible thanks to many donors, especially the Bélanger family, the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa and the Desjardins Group. It was formally incorporated in February 2017 as a not-for-profit organization under the name “Mauril Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop.” This organization will allow Saint Paul University to strengthen its links with the community and to emphasize its social engagement.

Social Innovation Workshop
















7.3   Saint Paul University Student Association (SPUSA) 

SPUSA organizes various events on campus to promote school spirit and on-campus life. A budget has been allocated for both of these areas. We also took part in some University-hosted events, such as the back-to-school barbecue in September and the Christmas lighting ceremony in December.

Here is the list of activities organized in 2017–2018:

Back-to-school fair Back-to-school fair
Annual general meeting (October) Annual general meeting (October)
Free treats Free treats
Film screenings to highlight Black History Month Film screenings to highlight Black History Month 
Closing celebration for Black History Month Closing celebration for Black History Month
Lecture by Professor Maisha Buuma Lecture by Professor Maisha Buuma
Hosting RÉFO’s AGM Hosting RÉFO’s AGM
General meeting (March) General meeting (March)
Wine and cheese (networking activity for alumni) Wine and cheese (networking activity for alumni)
Screening of the film L’Aurore du tréfonds Screening of the film L’Aurore du tréfonds
End-of-year gala End-of-year gala
End-of-year gala End-of-year gala

7.4 Highlighting the Faculty of Canon Law – Adapting to a changing reality in the digital age

The Faculty has adjusted to the digital age and now provides most of its courses in a distance-learning format, provides webinars and has innovative learning opportunities with other Institutes.

For example, the Faculty continued to maintain a strong relationship with Broken Bay Institute, Australia, with some eight students pursuing the JCL through distance courses during the Fall and Winter sessions; these students then gather for two weeks in August to take one course during the Summer session. Moreover, the Faculty reached an agreement with the Pontifical University of Maynooth, Ireland, similar to agreement with the Broken Bay Institute. Students will take distance courses during the Fall and Winter sessions, and then will gather in Maynooth for two weeks during the summer. With the Pontifical University of Maynooth, we intend to intensify marketing to begin this arrangement in 2019.

The Faculty, in collaboration with the Saint Paul University Centre for Canonical Services and the Canadian Canon Law Society, offered six webinars during 2017–2018, covering topics such as “De Concordia inter Codices : Harmony and Disharmony,” “The Right of Defense in Canon Law,” and “Congregational Wills,” to name a few.

The Faculty continues to publish its semi-annual issues of Studia canonica, a peer-reviewed journal. The Centre for Canonical Services offers canonical counsel and ministry to those needing such assistance. The Faculty has renewed its working relationship with the Centre for Child Protection (CCP) of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and as a result the Faculty is permitted to use CCP educational materials (documents, videos, etc.) in the formation of our canonists. During 2017–2018, the Faculty offered for the first time a Graduate Diploma in the Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Adults, employing some material from the CPP in 4.5 credits of that Graduate Diploma; the Faculty intends to offer this Graduate Diploma during 2019–2020 (and, thereafter, in alternating years).

The Faculty is collaborating closely with the administration of the University in the establishment of a Saint Paul University Interdisciplinary Centre for the Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Adults. Intense planning efforts, including fundraising efforts, are under way.

After a period of reflection and evaluation, beginning in June 2017 the Faculty began a new three-year cycle for the formation of leaders of religious institutes and their lay collaborators. In collaboration with the SPU Faculty of Theology, we have developed a propaedeutic program for students who need foundational theological formation before pursuing canonical studies. This program, available in French and in English, can be customized to the academic needs of each student.

Once again, the Faculty of Canon Law has adapted to a changing demand for distance education and continues to innovate in its delivery models and collaborative efforts.

7.5   Jean-Léon Allie Library and Archives

During the 2017–2018 year, the Jean-Léon Allie Library offered 33 lunch-and-learn sessions, allowing us to address topics of interest to students, such as searching for documents, using online tools and writing papers. The Writing Centre was moved to a room within the Library. The Library also continued to participate in the Scholars Portal’s Chat with a Librarian program, which offers a bilingual chat service to students at Ontario universities. In October 2017, in partnership with Erfurt University in Germany, the Library organized an international exhibition on the Reformation and Luther, as part of a University conference on this theme. The Library also took part for a second time in Doors Open Ottawa in June 2018. On this weekend, nearly 100 people visited the Rare Book Room. Finally, major renovations were begun in summer 2018, with the goal of converting the ground floor of the Library into an open and modern learning commons.

















7.6   Pastoral Services

Pastoral Services’ mandate is to welcome, to serve and to celebrate. It is based on a broader vision, inspired by the Oblate charism for the formation of a community of missionary disciples. With The Oasis, Pastoral Services offers students a friendly space to chat with other students, volunteers, professors and staff. These discussions contribute to the creation of a dynamic University community. Pastoral Services organizes liturgical celebrations and various pastoral activities, offers a pastoral ear and spiritual support to those who desire it, and organizes liturgical events to nurture faith and build our ecclesial community. We have maintained our Anglican ministry, and we now provide Roman Catholic and Anglican services five days a week.

Located in the Student Life Centre, the Oasis always has many visitors stopping by.

















7.7   de Mazenod Medal


















In April 2018, Saint Paul University has awarded the Eugène de Mazenod Medal to Ms. Jan Bentham, an outstanding Catholic educator, and Professor Heather Eaton, a socially engaged scholar.

The medal, which bears the name of the founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, recognizes Eugène de Mazenod’s approach in showing boldness and zeal in addressing the urgent social issues of his time. The Eugène de Mazenod Medal honours individuals who have made a significant contribution to the development of human capital in their community, in their environment or in society as a whole.

Ms. Bentham (now retired) demonstrated tireless commitment and dedication in her role as Coordinator for Religious and Family Life Education in the Ottawa Catholic School Board. A confident leader, she frequently guided the board community, and specifically the board’s leadership team, in matters of Catholic faith and doctrine. Throughout her career and volunteer work, Mrs. Bentham has generously shared her wisdom and shown unrelenting compassion towards others.

Professor Eaton is a full professor in the School of Conflict Studies at Saint Paul University. She has repeatedly demonstrated a commitment to the growth and well-being of society through her chosen research fields: religion and ecology, gender and conflict, as well as nonviolent social change. She continuously inspires her students by her passion and enthusiasm for social justice.


7.8   2020–2025 strategic plan

The University has begun the strategic planning process for 2020 to 2025. This process, entitled Dare to change, will take place over a two-year period and will include consultations with the University community, including professors, staff, students and stakeholders of University life (religious communities, friends and alumni of the University).