Saint Ignatius Church


For our second Sacred Places outing, we visited Saint Ignatius on the University of San Francisco campus. I hadn’t been inside the building for a long time, and I’d forgotten how enormous the interior space is. It’s a splendid version of the Roman basilica, Italian Renaissance and Baroque sensibility. After our recent trip to Belgium, though, it’s amazing how “young” a 102-year old church can feel. Still, it’s a successful translation of European Catholic values into a west coast American setting.

I wondered if a Catholic University today still required all students to take courses on religion, so I looked at the USF undergraduate catalogue. Like most universities today, they have a “Core Curriculum” composed of mathematics, science, communication, social science, and philosophy. It’s under the “philosophy” section that students are required to take a series of courses dealing “philosophy, theology, religious studies and ethics.” I don’t know if it would be possible to pick and choose courses so as to avoid Catholic teaching/dogma. But the emphasis is clearly on the divine side of philosophical inquiry.



Yearly tuition costs of four bay area universities:

University of San Francisco $42, 274

San Francisco State University: $5,472

UC Berkeley: $12,972

Stanford: $45,195


I learned that the current incarnation the fifth Saint Ignatius church in San Francisco (the first was erected during the Gold Rush in 1855). The most ambitious was the third, which was destroyed in 1906, and on whose site today stands — the Louise M. Davies San Francisco Symphony Hall!