Catholic Education South Australia

Joseph Cardijn

Joseph Cardijn

Cardijn College is named after Cardinal Joseph Cardijn – a great Christian man and his influence permeates through the work of those associated with the Cardijn community.

A significant leader of youth, Joseph Cardijn’s life spanned much of last century. He was born in 1882 into a Flemish working class family and from his earliest years he grew in his love for and appreciation of the working class, particularly the working youth.

He saw young men and women being exploited in the growing industrialisation evident around his own district and further afield. He saw clearly from a young age that it would be through life as a priest that he could bring about the greatest good for those he wished to help.

It was in 1912, while he was a curate in Brussels, that he established his first group of young workers in a movement which, in his lifetime, developed into a world-wide organisation, the Young Christian Workers (YCW). He was completely devoted to stopping the dehumanising influences going on in his own country and throughout Europe and his idea was to make Christianity central to the life of many.

On the one hand he devoted himself fully to overcoming the social injustices and the resulting poverty and exploitation which so many young workers were experiencing. On the other hand he worked tirelessly to promote the spiritual and temporal welfare of young workers. He was particularly keen to develop leaders from the ranks of the youth, realising that it was from among these that the transformation of the world must come.

Cardijn's method of evangelisation, often described simply as a discovery of the truth of faith, the truth of life and the truth of transformation, provides a means for Christians to see, judge and act.

Cardijn College is built on these three pillars. Every member of the Cardijn Community is challenged to make a difference in the lives of their families, friends, local community and wider world. Each person is called to action and to follow in Joseph Cardijn’s footsteps.