Saint Joseph’s is a Catholic University, so most of our students are also Catholic, or at least Christian. This means that the viewpoints and curriculum of the school are geared towards a Catholic faith. However, there are a substantial amount of non-Catholic students enrolled in this university whose religions deserve to be recognized as well. This article highlights Rachel Cattell, a Jewish student on campus.

Rachel Cattell


How does SJU accommodate you and your religion?

“Other than a Hebrew Bible religious differences class, SJU doesn’t really accommodate for me. I follow my practice on my own at school. I eat kosher foods and I celebrate my holidays on my own”

How does your religion influence others?

“I mean, I don’t think it really influences others because I don’t promote it around campus, but my friends are willing to celebrate my holidays with me. My roommates and I are getting a menorah for my apartment!”

What changes would you like to see on our campus?

“Well I know that it’s a Catholic university so there are obviously limits to what they can do to accommodate, but Judaism is a fairly popular religion, so I feel as though there could be steps the school could take, such as maybe an additional class or two.”

Do you think we should have off for Hanukkah and other Jewish holidays?

“Again, this school is pretty Catholic, so asking to have off for all of these holidays is a bit unrealistic, and Hanukkah is eight days long, but maybe having a day or two off so I can see my family would be nice. However, Hanukkah falls right around finals this year, so I should be home to celebrate the last half with my family.”

Why did you pick Saint Joe’s?

“I went mostly for the education. The business school here is really good, and I’m a marketing major. Also, I loved the area. And even though there isn’t that much diversity in religion on this campus specifically, there is a huge amount of diversity in Philadelphia in general.”

How much does SJU emphasize their Catholicism? In other words, how “in your face” is the university with religion?

“I mean, I knew what I was signing up for when I came here. And I think it’s beneficial that I learn all different religions. For example, I am not at all opposed to the required Catholic Theology class. I enjoy learning about different cultures and perspectives on religion.”

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