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Sparking Innovation and Revitalizing Creativity in the Church

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“Innovation is a hallmark of Catholic vitality, and it is altogether right and good that University of St. Thomas and Our Sunday Visitor Institute (OSVI) would team up to advance it,” UST President Richard Ludwick said. “Consequently, OSV Institute approached the UST Office of Innovation and Cameron School of Business to become a part of the OSVI Challenge Accelerator in its second year. Started in 2020, the Accelerator is OSVI’s effort to spark innovation in the Church in alignment with the Magisterium.”

Aligned Missions, Catholic Innovation

The collaboration was strategic because the missions of both organizations kindle the fire under Catholic innovation. OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation serves the Church by inspiring and encouraging innovative and effective Church-related programs and activities that forge new paths for people to encounter the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church. UST is also at the forefront of innovation in Catholic higher education utilizing its platforms to evangelize the Gospel and to put the human element in innovation. Recently, UST created the Office of Innovation to spawn ideas and assist the University in turning the traditional academic model on its ear to grow in Christ and thrive in the 21st century. Dr. Beena George serves as UST’s first Chief Innovation Officer. 

UST & OSVI Challenge Accelerator

OSVI had 600 entries in their 2021 OSVI Challenge. After two rounds of review, 24 innovators remained. UST was invited to collaborate with the OSVI Challenge Accelerator to narrow the field to 12 finalists.

The Office of Innovation and CSB were asked by OSVI Accelerator team to offer their finalists next-level professional guidance and spiritual formation needed for optimal impact on the Church and the world. Cameron professors Dr. John Story, Dr. David Schein and Dean Mario Enzler taught three of the 12 incubator modules. UST President Richard Ludwick and UST Executive Dean of Arts & Sciences George Harne led discussions on the spiritual aspects of the entrepreneurial life.

The OSVI Accelerator took a holistic approach to support individuals through skills training, mentorship, funding opportunities, etc.

OSVI and UST combined their business experience, energy and talents to empower innovators to:

  • make concepts go from idea to reality
  • till the soil for God’s work to blossom
  • support fellow Catholics
  • encourage the conscious practice of Catholic Social Teaching in businesses

OSVI Challenge Winners for 2021

After presenting their pitches to a panel of OSVI judges, three ministries were awarded $100,000 each. These trailblazers were selected for their boldness and passion for the way that their ministries encounter and evangelize through the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church. What set them apart was their demonstrated ability to make a profound impact on the Church and the world.   

Catholic in Recovery

Serving individuals, families and communities impacted by addiction by blending the wisdom of the 12-step recovery with the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. 

Learn more:


Bringing feminism and Catholicism together: A campaign for the promotion of women through education, encouragement and empowerment.

Learn more:

Red Bird Ministries

Systematically guiding individuals and couples through the complexity and trauma that happens with the loss of a child from pregnancy through adulthood. 

Learn more:

About the Author — Sandra Soliz, MLA '01 Soliz

AvatarSandra Soliz, director of Communications for University of St. Thomas, has served the University for 20 years in Marketing Communications Department. In her position, she handles media relations and serves as the editor of the Encounter Magazine.

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