Since its foundation in 1969, the Patristicum has not had an official motto. The fraternal relationship with the other pontifical academic institutions in Rome, with whom an institutional dossier has been drawn up, has meant that the world's most important Catholic academic centre for patristic studies now has one
"A motto should express, in our opinion, both what we are and have always been and what we want to aspire to; in other words, it should reflect both our identity and our mission", pointed out Fr. Giuseppe Caruso, president of the Augustinian institution.
"That is why we turned to Augustine, the patron of the Institute, as a sure source of inspiration, and found this beautiful exhortation, which seemed to us very suitable for the purpose: Adde ergo scientiae caritatem, et utilis erit scientia; non per se, sed per caritatem". Its translation into English would be: To science unite charity, and science will be useful to you, not for its own sake, but by reason of charity (In Io. Ev. tr. 27, 5). The motto is a synthetic, but at the same time complete, form of this phrase of the Saint.
"It is an imperative, a recommendation that the Bishop of Hippo addresses to each one of us, teachers or students of the Patristic Institute", Fr Caruso pointed out, and then went on "but, above all, it is addressed to those who dedicate themselves to demanding and tiring studies, because everything must have charity as its first motive and its ultimate goal".
This motto, guide and seal of all those who come to know the teachings of St. Augustine and of the Fathers of the Church, makes the Patristicum responsible for the development of its mission. Because, as Fr. Caruso says, it is now necessary "to be able to treasure always this Augustinian recommendation": that charity be the basis from which to approach knowledge, learning and truth.