Silence & Recitations


Name: Mary Angeline Bratt
Age: 19
Dixon, Illinois
Skiing, tennis, reading, singing
What's your favorite class/professor?
I can't say I have a favorite. They are all intriguing in their own way, and the subject materiel overlaps so that they come to the same truths in different ways.
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in?
Intramural volleyball, because my sister makes me... Happy the extra curricular activities help you meet people and they're a good way to relax and hang out with friends outside of classes.
What is your favorite thing about Christendom?
The classes, because they examine the world in a truthful light, and the friendships you can make—because they are genuine.
Why did you choose Christendom?
My older sisters came here and really liked the education. When we talked they could answer any philosophical question I had, so I decided to come here to study too.
What has surprised you the most about Christendom? That the teachers love to teach and truly want their students to learn and share what they know.
Plans after graduation? None yet.
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student? Be prepared to make a lot of choices regarding school, friends, and how to spend time.


Discussing Roman Holiday

Last Tuesday, the smells of brownies and chocolate kisses filled the common room of St. Campion's dorm, as girls side gathered to watch the classic film, "A Roman Holiday" starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

The event was presented by RA Liz Sartor, who, with a few other Christendom girls, and Christendom Alumna Katherine Scott showed the movie and hosted discussion of the film afterwards. Using a program designed by Katherine Scott, who works for Dr. Onalee McGraw, founder of EGI, the Educational Guidance Institute, the girls discussed the movie using themes from John Paul II's "Love and Responsibility," as their guide.

The girls really enjoyed the event, as it brought about new themes from the movie they hadn't realized before, in intellectual conversation.

"The 'Roman Holiday' event was a fantastic opportunity for the girls at Christendom to learn about virtue in film, something which is lacking in today's culture of death society," Junior Adele Smith said.

Alumna Katherine Scott lead the discussion following the film.

Roman Holiday won three Oscars in 1953, including Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Silence Comes to Campus

This past weekend, a group of Christendom students participated in an on-campus silent retreat. The retreat was an Ignatian style retreat, led by visiting priest Fr. Gonzalo Viana. The group began their retreat Friday evening with the rosary, Mass, dinner, and two “Spiritual Exercises,” which are characteristic of Ignatian retreats. The Spiritual Exercises were led by Fr. Gonzalo, who began each session with a short talk, followed by a generous amount of time devoted to deep meditation and prayer.

The retreat continued on Saturday with morning prayer, Mass, Confession, Stations of the Cross, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction, rosary, and four different Spiritual Exercises, or “Points of Meditation” sessions. The day ended with night prayers, and after waking up early on Sunday for morning prayer, Points of Meditation, and Mass, the retreat ended. All in attendance had a truly spiritual experience, and ended the weekend feeling completely renewed in faith.

“I really enjoyed the silent retreat this weekend,” says Freshman Kelsey Ingold. “This was my first Ignatian style retreat, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I am so glad I participated. My favorite part was the Spiritual Exercises; Father Gonzalo began by speaking to us and giving us points to focus on, and then time to actually meditate. It was a great weekend and a very spiritually uplifting experience.”

Fr. Gonzalo is a priest of Miles Christi, whose mission is the sanctification of the laity, particularly of college students.

Stations of the Cross in Christ the King Chapel.

Rosary walk on a crisp Virginia morning.

2011 Silent Spring Retreat.

Celebrating Cultures

On Saturday night, students gathered at the St. Lawrence Commons for a night to celebrate the many vibrant cultural backgrounds that students at Christendom College have. With the help of several students, the kitchen staff prepared a variety of foods that represented many of the different heritages of the student body.

Decorated with the flags of the world, the St. Lawrence Commons was filled with people who shared stories of their ancestry and enjoyed the array of foods.

“I liked eating the different kinds of food—my favorite was the Cajun kind and the French crepes,” said freshman Ginny Colgan. “It’s great seeing how people of all different cultural heritages can find common ground at a place like Christendom.”

Senior Rocco Levitas is proud of his Jewish heritage.

Junior Paul Nangurai of Kenya came dressed in his tribe's traditional garb.

Recitations of Prose & Poetry

This past Monday night, the top floor of the library was silent and hushed, except for the voices of Christendom students and faculty reading poetry aloud for a small audience.

Presenters included not only students, such as Freshman Andrew Clark, Sophomore Sean Connolly, or Senior Peter O'Dwyer, but also staff, such as Librarian Mr. Stephen Pilon and faculty like Prof. Eric Jenislawski. Classical pieces, Tolkien, Hopkins, and also original pieces were among the selections presented.

After the presentations, there was a brief reception in the upper level of the library, where the presenters and their audience were able to gather and discuss the works read.

Andrew Clark recited an original piece by a fellow student.

Prof. Eric Jenislawski recited a piece by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Above Freshman Sean Conolly discusses Hopkins further with Jenislawski.


Pax et Bonum

As the sun sets behind the tree-covered mountains, and evening draws in over the monastery of San Damiano, the friars gather to celebrate the beautiful liturgy of vespers and benediction. On Sunday, kneeling on the hard wooden pews of the chapel, I witnessed this ceremony for the first time. Yes, San Damiano is the church famous for the crucifix that spoke to Saint Francis of Assisi and it is . . . well . . . in Assisi.

Okay, I admit — in this Rome report, I’m writing about Assisi. But the title of this column isn’t a complete lie. I have been in Rome, and I will be in Rome, and I will be writing about Rome. We had barely settled into Rome, however, before setting off on a week’s pilgrimage to Assisi and Siena, and so I really have a lot more to write about Assisi than Rome.

On Sunday, Christendom students retreated to the tranquil town of Assisi, far removed from the uproar of the crowds that fill the Eternal City. Assisi is the ideal setting for a pilgrimage — the kind of town in which you can expect to turn a corner in the narrow streets, and find a Marian shrine set into the wall, or lean over the railings on the piazza and drink in the view of the surrounding farmlands and churches, and, far off in the distance, the snow-capped mountains that surround the valley.

But of course, few pilgrims leave their homes to gaze at mountain sunsets. The allure of setting foot in the very same places where St. Francis walked, prayed, and struggled has brought a steady stream of Christians to Assisi for 800 years.

Over the past three days, Christendom students, like many previous pilgrims, have drawn close to these same shrines. We have experienced Assisi through guided tours and individual explorations, with the conferences of our chaplain, Fr. Rust, to enrich our spiritual development. We have prayed before the San Damiano crucifix, visited the birthplace and home St. Francis, drunk hot chocolate in a local café, hiked through the mountains to Francis’s hermitage, and even participated in Mass at the very tomb of the Saint.

Assisi holds far more than the relics associated with the memory of its most famous son. St. Francis lives on in the faithful friars who fully live the Franciscan charism. And Assisi continues to send forth throngs of pilgrims—including us students—who, after discovering Francis’s burning love of God and neighbor, leave the town with quickened steps, lightened hearts, and interior peace.

On a tour of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (St. Mary of the Angels).

Italian hot chocolate... everything tastes better in Italy.

Touring the Basilica of St. Frances of Assisi.

A view from the city: olive trees, church dome, and the Umbrian valley.

Assisi truly is a heavenly experience.

The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.


Politics Practica

It is important today more than ever that Catholics enter the political sphere. That is why Christendom College introduced the Politics Practica Program. According to Political Science Professor Dr. Bernard Way, the program is an invaluable tool that gives young Catholics a way to enter the world of politics and experience first hand how the government works. The Politics Practica Program consists of two required courses: PSAE 382-Politics Practica and PSAE 521-Practica Internship

Dr. Bernard Way
“The Practica course consists of a series of guest lecturers by practitioners in politics, government, and the media. Students learn first hand from these practitioners on how the system of politics works," Way says. "Guest lecturers have presented topics on campaign management, fundraising, the use of political media, lobbying and public policy, foreign and economic policy formulation. The internship course allows the students to gain practical experience on Capitol Hill, in political action committees, pro-life and pro-family political organizations, financial institutions, law offices, on selected political campaigns working for candidates for public office, or with foreign policy organizations.”

Generally, 8 to 20 students enroll in the Practica course for the spring semester.

“The majority are Political Science majors,” Way says. “But I have had many other upper class students from other majors take the course because of their personal interest.”

Usually there are between 5 to 8 students in the internship section that takes place over the summer.

“In the Internship the student gains valuable practical experience so as to enhance the student’s resume,” he says. “They make valuable networking contacts for future job placement and-or recommendations from professionals in the field.”

Christendom graduates are well versed in many subjects and have a strong Catholic formation, so it makes sense that students want to go into politics to express their unique points of view.

“According to the Social Teachings as pronounced by the various Holy Fathers, Catholics are commanded to renew all things in Christ. This means that if one lives in an elected democracy where citizens are expected to vote and confer legitimacy on public policies and laws, Catholics must know how that American political system works, as well as know accurately American History,” Way says. “Catholics must be like the early apostles who went out into the world to spread the gospel of Our Lord. To prepare oneself for such a task, fundamental knowledge of both political theory and economic theory is necessary. Otherwise, Catholics can not cast an informed vote with reason, but will instead act emotionally and thereby do more harm than good. Also, Catholics need to know the political and economic theory behind he founding of the republic, otherwise they will be induced to follow false ideologies that destroy the dignity of human beings, and serve the objectives of special interests instead of serving the common good.”

For more information about Christendom's Political Science and Economics Program click here.


Crusaders Win 3rd Place In Tournament

Christendom College hosted the Shenandoah Chesapeake Conference for the first time in 5 years this past weekend. The tournament consisted of the 5 member teams:Washington Bible College (last year’s champion), Davis College (1st year in conference), Mid-Atlantic Christian University, Patrick Henry College, and Christendom College. The Crusaders were seeded #3 out of the five going into the tournament and were matched against the #2 seed, Washington Bible College on Friday night. Washington Bible had beaten Christendom three times over the course of the season, however each game had brought the Crusaders closer to victory.

The Crusaders, who were cheered by a loud home court crowd, came out with lots of energy for their last two games of the year.

The Washington Bible Cougars bounced back from the early Crusader attack and unfortunately for the Crusaders they brought along their secret weapon, Ben St. Ulme. St. Ulme who is a good shooter for the Cougars, but hadn’t caused too many problems for the Crusader defense went off in the game and would carry the Cougars to the Championship game. St. Ulme would hit shot after shot, mostly from behind the 3 point arc as he would finish with 38 points for the game to lead all scorers.

Despite the heroics of St. Ulme the Crusaders made a run cutting the lead from 19 to 10 with about 9 minutes to play in the game behind the energy of Matt Rensch and sophomore David Townsend. Unfortunately St. Ulme had done his damage and the Crusaders fell 71-87 and would play Patrick Henry College for the 3rd place spot.

On Saturday the Crusaders hosted the Patrick Henry College Sentinels who had beaten Christendom twice last season. This season would be a different story as the Christendom team would defeat the Sentinels four times.

Christendom, playing its 24th and last game of the season, came out with lots of energy and aggression early on, getting to the basket and forcing multiple turnovers that led to easy points. David Townsend was great at pushing the defensive intensity of the team and causing multiple turnovers for Patrick Henry. Coupled with Tim Beer the two would harass the Patrick Henry guards for most of the game.

Inside, freshman Brian McCrum had his best game yet, scoring 8 points in the first 6 minutes. Brian stepped into the shoes of Brian Foxwho is in Rome this semester—and filled them beautifully in the last two games by grabbing double-digit rebounds. McCrum would regularly change the shots of opponents due to his size and would finish the game with 9 points and 13 rebounds.

Patrick Henry would claw back into the game in the second half with a run of their own before seniors Joe Townsend and Matt Rensch would stop them in their tracks. Joe had a couple of nice moves on the interior and Matt Rensch shot a very high percentage in the second half and led all players in scoring for the game. The final score read the 65-56 with the Crusaders securing the 3rd Place Tophy for the Conference.

In the championship game Davis College came from behind in the 2nd half to defeat Washington Bible College and claim the championship in the conference.

Many thanks to all the Christendom Crazies who followed the teams throughout the past few months, their support was a huge part in our success and we look forward to next year’s Crusader basketball teams already.

Freshman Brendan McCrum sinks one for the Crusaders.

Freshman Juan Ferrel drives the ball down court.

Matt Rensch was nominated to the all-tournament team. Rensch led the crusaders in scoring throughout the year as well as in the tournament.


Crusaders 2011.

Q. I think Christendom is a great school, but when I tell my kids about it, they say that they would rather go to a larger, big-name school, not some seemingly no-name place like Christendom? Do you have any suggestions on what I could tell them in response?

A. First of all, I think this may be a very common “objection” given by high school students to their parents, and sometimes, unfortunately, even given by parents to their high school aged students. I guess the theory is that if you go to a big name university, then people will think that you are smart, employable, affluent, and all that, and upon graduation, because they can put down Princeton, Yale, Brown, Amherst, Dartmouth, etc., then it will further their careers and their chances of financial success.

I am not going to say that this is not true. In fact, I am sure that it is true that if a person attends a well-known, big-name, highly-ranked college or university, it will benefit them after graduation in helping them land jobs, network amongst alumni, and become financially secure.

I cannot, though, say that it will necessarily do anything to aid them in their pursuit of wisdom, truth, beauty, holiness, virtue, character, integrity, good friends, or attaining eternal life. Of course, these things are all possible to achieve while attending a big-name school, but these benefits are not the ones that are normally associated with going to big-name colleges, or given as reasons to attend such a prestigious institution. Normally, as I stated above, it is all about getting ahead in this world.

Although some may refer to Christendom as a no-name small college, I would disagree. I guess it all depends on who you ask, right? I mean, is it more important to have the backing and endorsement of US News, Princeton Review, Forbes, Peterson’s, Barron’s, etc., over people such as Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, Fr. Groeschel, Cardinal Arinze, Cardinal Pell, George Weigel, and Bishop Bruskewitz? I would say not, unless your goal is simply to attain an academic education and learn how to win friends and influence people. But if you are hoping to grow in virtue, knowledge, and holiness, then it seems that Christendom may actually be one of the biggest-named, most-prestigious, and highly-ranked colleges in the world.

It all depends how you look at it. Although we have been ranked by US News, Peterson’s Barron’s, ISI, Newsmax, Young America’s Foundation, Free Congress Foundation, Kiplinger’s and other secular organizations, we are much more proud of the endorsements from the many Catholic luminaries who have visited our campus or expressed great admiration for our unique mission in the world of Catholic higher education:

"Thank you for all that you are doing"
—Pope Benedict XVI
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Francis Cardinal Arinze, George Cardinal Pell, Raymond Cardinal Burke, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Edward Cardinal Egan, Francis Cardinal George, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, James Francis Cardinal Stafford, Justin Francis Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Bishop Thomas Doran, Bishop James Conley, Bishop Paul Loverde, Bishop Robert Morlino, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Fr. George Rutler, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Fr. John Hardon, Fr. C. John McCloskey, Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Dr. John Haas, Pat Buchanan, Henry Hyde, Chris Smith, George Weigel, Patrick Madrid, Curtis Martin, Jeff Cavins, Raymond Arroyo, Ray Guarendi, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, Kate O’Beirne, Alan Keyes, Marcus Grodi, and so many others.

And, to top it all off, we are able to see the results of our educational experience in our alumni in, not only in what they do, but, how they live. Our alumni are represented in just about every profession. We have alumni who are doctors, lawyers, physical therapists, accountants, managers, nurses, educators, salesmen, graphic artists, editors, entrepreneurs, project managers, tradesmen, builders, carpenters, priests, religious, music teachers, art directors, drama teachers, missionaries, real estate agents, insurance salesmen, architects, dentists, college professors, Montessori teachers, computer scientists, and everything in between.

But more important than simply having a good job and career, the alumni are living their Catholic faith on a daily basis and affecting the culture and working to restore all things in Christ. They are bringing the “Catholic air” which they breathed for four years on our campus, out to today’s culture which is, unfortunately, inhaling “toxic fumes.” Our alumni are making a difference in today’s culture and, as time goes by, Christendom’s name will be one with which to be associated.

Christendom College: Small College – Big Name Appeal.

I want to end with a quote from former US President Ronald Reagan, from his book, An American Life.

In later life, I visited some of the most famous universities in the world. As governor of California, I presided over a university system regarded as one of the best. But if I had to do it over again, I’d go back to Eureka or another small college like it in a second.

At big universities, relatively few students get involved in extra-curricular activities: They go to class, go to their living quarters, go to the library, then go back to their classes. There may be a lot to be said for those large universities, but I think too many young people overlook the value of a small college and the tremendous influence that participation in student activities can have during the years from adolescence to adulthood.

If I had gone to one of those larger schools, I think I would have fallen back in the crowd and never discovered things about myself that I did at Eureka. My life would have been different.

There were fewer than 250 students when I was at Eureka, roughly divided between men and women, and everyone knew one another by their first name.As in a small town, you couldn’t remain anonymous at a small college. Everybody was needed. Whether it’s the glee club or helping to edit the school yearbook, there’s a job for everyone, and everybody gets a chance to shine at something and build their sense of self-confidence. You get to discover things about yourself that you might never learn if you were lost in the crowd of a larger school.

I hope this helps!
Director of Admissions
[email protected]
800.877.5456 ext. 1290

If anyone has questions about applying, visiting, scholarships, financial aid, campus life, rules and regulations, majors, core curriculum, transfer credits, or even about the food here at Christendom, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.