Celebrating the Saints


Name: Sadie Bratt
Age: 19
Dixon, Illinois
Philosophy with Music Minor
Singing, tennis, skiing.
Who's your favorite professor?
Dr. John Cuddeback and Prof. Sharon Hickson. They are so enthusiastic about their classes that they can make anyone love them.
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in?
Soccer, choir, and Student Activities Council (SAC). I play soccer because my brother persuaded me to; choir, because I love singing; and SAC, because… why not?!
What is your favorite thing about Christendom? [Sophomore] Kat Anderson! Plus, I love the fact that we get a great education that incorporates Catholicism into every facet, and that all our teachers really want to see us succeed.
Why did you choose Christendom? I want to have a good foundation before I go on to teach others.
What has surprised you the most about Christendom?
Not much. I think I had a good idea of what it was before I came.
Plans after graduation? I would like to go to music school and become a choir director.
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student? Don't be scared to do something new. And never ever ever ever give up.


The Legion of Mary... and Juggling Machetes?

What do these two things have in common? Well, College Alumnus Fr. Francis Peffley '86, for one. Fr. Peffley came to speak to the students of Christendom about the Legion of Mary, what it is, what it involves, what its members do, its benefits, and many more aspects of it. He encouraged students to look into joining their local chapter of the Legion of Mary, commenting that students see great results from joining the Legion, not only in their spiritual lives, but academic lives as well.

Following his talk, he showed off his amazing juggling skills - juggling not only baseball bats and basketballs, but also machetes, and even a mixture of bowling balls and machetes!

Christendom's active Legion of Mary club meets Tuesday nights at St. Augustine's, and is led by the club president, Junior Martin Schmidt.

Fr. Peffley is a priest at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainsville, Va. You can visit his website here.

Juggling bats.

Don't try this at home... Fr. Peffley juggles a couple knives and a bowling ball.

Babette's Feast

On Friday night students gathered at St. Kilian’s Café to watch the classic Danish film Babette’s Feast. Before it started, Philosophy Professor Dr. Douglas Flippen spoke about the film—his favorite movie.

The film is based on the novel of the same title by Karen Blixen. Babette’s Feast focuses on two sisters, Martine and Philippa, whose minister father founded a small Protestant sect in the late 1800’s. Even when their father dies, the sisters never marry and stay together in order to run services for their church. The story explores both sisters' lives when they were young beautiful women and also the story of how Babette, their French housekeeper, became a part of their lives. Babbette’s generosity is shown throughout the film and the sacrifice that she offers the sisters in the end makes the movie worthy of its Academy Award.

“This was a great movie,” said Freshman Elizabeth Francis. “It has an inspiring message and everyone seemed to enjoy it.”

Dr. Flippen highlighted the sacramental themes found in the film. A talk entitled "The Eucharistic Symbolism in Babette's Feast" was delivered last year by Dr. Flippen and is available for download at Christendom on iTunes U.


St. Patrick's Day

Thursday night, the St. Lawrence Commons was a sea of green, as the Christendom College community, students, and faculty alike, gathered for the annual St. Patrick's Day dinner and celebration.

The kitchen kicked off the evening with some delicious Irish fare, such as Shepherd's Pie, Soda Bread, Potatoes, Corned Beef, and the like. Just as dinner was ending, a group of young men started the evening with a bang (pun intended) as a "gunshot" rang in the commons, beginning the reenactment of the battle between the Black and Tans and the Irish Republican Army.

After the reenactment, at seven o'clock everyone poured back into the Commons for the beginning of the St. Patricks day show, which started with the procession of St. Patrick, St. Brigid, and St. Columcille, played by the children of college professors Dr. Mark Clark and Dr. Stanford. The saints blessed the audience and college chaplain, Fr. Donald Planty, who then read St. Patrick's Lorica.

Following that, the Hibernian Guard, led by history professor Dr. Brendan McGuire on the bagpipes, marched in. From there, the "Clansmen" led by college president, Dr. Timothy O'Donnell, guided the audience through many traditional Irish songs and all enjoyed the many varied acts, including Irish Dancing, Fiddle playing, and poetry.

Fr. Planty reads the Lorica.

Prof. McGuire leads the Hibernian Guard in.

Sophomore Alicia Stanton played the tin whistle and Senior Nick Freeman played the violin with the Clansmen.

Senior Mary Kate Vander Woude sang "The Foggy Dew."

Prof. McGuire read the Easter Proclamation of 1916.

The Hibernian Guard joined the Clansmen lifting their swords to "Sound the Pibroch."

Three of Admissions Director Tom McFadden's daughters performed a traditional Irish dance.

Senior John Killackey and Freshman Sean Deighan played a couple jigs and reels.

Philosophy Professor Dr. John Cuddeback joined Dr. O'Donnell for a couple songs.

Sophomore Eileen Dziak has performed at national Irish dance competitions.

Freshman Therese Francis gives a high kick during her hard-shoe dance.

St. Patrick's Day 2011 Video

Debate Society's Career Night

On Friday night, The Chester-Belloc Debate Society hosted 15 speakers—both guests and faculty members—to speak at the society’s Professional Development Night.

The evening was held in order to educate the society’s members in matters of pursuing jobs in a variety of professional departments after their education at Christendom. Professor Eric Jenislawski, who teaches theology, encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunity to improve their resumes, and gain experience interviewing.

“This is something I've been encouraging for a long time, and I'm really glad to see that we've made it happen," Prof. Jenislawski said. "This sort of thing is really important for Christendom students”

Speakers from many different professional backgrounds gave valuable advice to students on how to go about pursuing a professional career and how to make the most of a liberal arts degree, among other things.

The Chester-Belloc Debate Society holds intellectual debates twice monthly, arguing philosophical, theological, and political topics in order to encourage critical thinking, foster political leadership, and promote the Catholic intellectual life by seeking and defending Catholic truths.

Alumnus Colin Mason, Director of Media Production at Population Research Institute, spoke on careers in media.

College Admissions and Marketing Director Tom McFadden discussed career opportunities for liberal arts students outside of academia.

Connie Marshner, President of Connie Marshner & Associates, spoke on careers in fundraising and company development.

La Festa di San Giuseppe

The Solemnity of St. Joseph was celebrated on Saturday, with a series of events all evening. Beginning with meditations in the chapel led by Fr. Planty, Christendom College students, faculty and staff joined in prayers, including the Litany of St. Joseph, and then processed into the St. Lawrence Commons behind the statue of St. Joseph. After a blessing by Fr. Planty, everyone sat down to a delicious Italian meal, including a variety of freshly baked breads made by both students and faculty members.

Later that evening, a special Pub Night was held in St. Kilian’s Café in honor of the solemnity. Students enjoyed chatting with friends over yummy snacks, playing card games, and listening to the many talented student musicians perform. Several groups performed original songs and crowd favorites. Even Chaplain Fr. Planty sang a few fun songs that everyone joined in singing.

“The St. Joseph Solemnity Pub Night was packed, which was awesome!” says Freshman Sean LaRochelle. “Everything about the night was great, especially the food and the talent.”

Processing from the Chapel to the Commons.

Fr. Planty blesses the bread.

Sophomore Philip Briggs samples some of the homemade bread.

Students, faculty, and staff enjoyed the meatballs and Calabrese bread made by Associate Director of Admissions Mike Schmittino.

Sophomore Theresa Lamirande played a couple originals.

With Freshman Colleen Anderson on guitar, Freshmen Faith Leopold and Emma Kavanagh sang a few songs.


In the Arms of Mother Church

Every day, a long line of pilgrims stretches across Saint Peter’s Square, as thousands congregate at the spot that has drawn countless saints and faithful Christians from all over the world, and, of course, the inevitable tourists.

As our group of forty joined this line, our president, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, who visited us in Rome last week, began his tour of Saint Peter’s by pointing out some of the architectural features. In particular, he drew our attention to the design of the Colonnade, which curves around to symbolize the arms of the Church, embracing the faithful who have gathered in the Square. Atop the Colonnade stand the images of the Saints, figures of inspiration, and reminders of the real communion of all the members of the Church, in Heaven and on Earth.

Yet the saints are present in Rome as far more than stone carvings that stand motionless and aloof, hundreds of feet above us and inaccessible as the pagan deities of ancient Rome. They become vividly present, as we walk the streets that many of them walked, and view the ground upon which their blood spattered when they gave their lives for Christ.

On March 9, the feast day of Saint Frances of Rome, Dr. O’Donnell led us on a pilgrimage to the sites hallowed by the life of this great patroness of Rome: a mystic who achieved sanctity first as a wife and mother, and later, after her husband’s death, as a Benedictine nun. Visiting Saint Frances’ house and convent, and praying beside her tomb, I came in contact not with a cold marble statue, but with a real woman, who shared the same joys and sorrows as millions before and since her time.

When George Weigel, the biographer of John Paul II, addressed our group, he also emphasized the theme of our closeness to the saints. He pointed out the similarities between John Paul II’s student days and our own— challenging us to follow in the footsteps of this great Pope. Karol Wojtyla wasn’t born in a white cassock and skull-cap with a halo. He was a living, breathing, normal human being. It’s up to us to follow his example.

Just as the saints are more than the far-off, smiling figures in haloes that stand around in Churches, so too, those who lead the flock of Christ are not the cold-hearted tyrants that the modern-world would have us believe. Last week, when we had the privilege to enjoy lunch with Cardinal Arinze, a prince of the Church. I was struck by his humility and warm friendliness.

The Church is no cruel tyrannical queen, sitting far away on a throne. No, the Church is a fond mother, embracing each of her children, and drawing each one in towards Christ, the Redeemer, Who, from the facade of Saint Peter’s, wherein He is really present in the Sacrament of His love, looks down tenderly upon the members of His mystical body.

Chillin' in the Vatican gardens.

President O'Donnell, his wife, Cathy and Rome Director John Noronha enjoy lunch with Cardinal Arinze.

Cardinal Arinze snaps a photo with students in Rome.

Students enjoyed a live performance during a festival in Piazza Navona.

St. Patrick's Day in Rome: Dominic Viera, Katie Francis, and Chris Foeckler perform an Irish dance.

St. Patrick's Day in Rome: David Frank is joined by Brian Killackey on the tin whistle.

Waiting to see the Pope at last Wednesday's audience.

Pope Benedict XVI waives to Christendom College at last Wednesday's Papal audience.

Spring Break Mission Trips

During Christendom College's spring break, 61 students traveled to Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and New York City for missionary work. The students' work ranged from evangelization efforts to digging latrines.

Twelve students went to Honduras, along with alumna Mary Kate Hunt, Associate Dean of Student Life Tambi Spitz, and Fr. John Luke of the Community of St. John. Twenty-four students and Theology professor Raymund O'Herron went to the Dominican Republic. Philosophy professor and Missions Program Director Michael Brown joined a group of 25 students to do missionary work in New York City.

To read more about their experiences click here.

Please enjoy the following video filmed by Chronicler Reporter Maeve Gallagher, who went on the Honduras mission trip.


Crusaders Win Rugby Tournament

The Rugby team under the guidance of first year head coach Don Briggs, in their first game this season (with more than half the team being rookies), lost their first rugby game in the tournament at Hampden-Sydney College by one try (goal). This first game was against Christopher Newport University, a team that beat us two years before and were nationally ranked as 15th in the nation. The Crusaders played like gentleman fighting every minute and barely losing, and keeping their patience against injustices. At the end of the game they knew they had nothing to be ashamed of, and the new players knew now what a real rugby game felt like. Senior Ben Ranieri and Junior Joe Long scored the two tries in this game.

The second game was a grand sight to see! Ben Ranieri, Sophomore Hugh Bratt and Freshmen Joe Duca, Patrick McKenna, and Andrew Hepler all scored in this game—freshmen representing their class in a big way. The Crusaders came out looking for redemption from a loss undeserved, and they scored six tries to Lynchburg University's one. The entire team was flawless in its execution of plays and form, driving through the other team time and time again.

The Third game was played against Hampden-Sydney itself, the team that had just previously beaten Christopher Newport. The two teams spent the next forty minutes giving everything they had to this game! Christendom held Hampden-Sydney at their try line for three drives and let in only two tries against. Christendom scored five against them. Patrick McKenna, Ben Ranieri, Junior Gabe Schuberg, and Senior Aaron Tatum scored in this game. After the game the teams met and they all praised the team for constituting themselves in a Christian manner.

The Christendom Crusader Rugby Team won the tournament by the most points scored. This is the first tournament that the team has ever won, though they had a winning season last year.

"Every team invited us to play them again, anytime we would like," Ben Raneri said. "The guys played like Catholic gentleman, they played like Crusaders."

Coach Briggs went on to comment, “The men played extremely well in all three matches and represented Christendom in a tremendous fashion.” The Crusaders are back in action on March 25 at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, beginning at 6pm, directions can be found on the Christendom Rugby page.

Crusader fight for control of the ball.

Raneri takes the ball down field.

Patrick McKenna charges ahead.

Q. I really like the idea of Christendom, and I think that going there will make me a better person, but I am still unsure if I will be able to get a job or gain any useful career-related skills while studying the liberal arts. Can you give me any assurances that I will be able to get a job after graduation, please?

A. There is a famous statement that is said of Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist: For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. Although I am not equating the Real Presence with the fact that a liberal arts education is one of the best educations out there for gaining employment, I am saying that there are two groups of thought on the issue, and it is sometimes very hard to bridge the gap between them: the believers and the unbelievers. But I will try.

When someone asks me this question, here’s how my typical response comes out: “What do you want to do when you graduate? What I mean is, what job do you think you will not be able to get if you graduate with a liberal arts degree? The reason I ask this is because our alumni are involved in just about every career field possible (OK, we don’t have any astronauts or circus performers…yet), so there is really no need to worry about the ability to find a job or achieve your ‘dream career’ upon graduation. In fact, I can probably name for you the alumnus or alumna who is doing the job in which you are interested.”

Now, after hearing my little spiel, some look at me with trust and say to themselves: “Wow, he just said that they have alumni doing all kinds of things in all kinds of fields that are unrelated to the majors that they offer here. He would most certainly know whether there is a whole slew of alumni living on the streets, unable to find work, and he would probably not be able to sleep at night if he were sitting there lying to me and all other prospective students about the value of the liberal arts degree. I guess an education at Christendom does prepare you for the workforce, as well as for life. Sign me up.”

And then there are the others. “Man, this guy thinks he can convince me with a few catch phrases and pointed questions? I still don’t believe it. I want to be a software engineer, or maybe an accountant, but then again, maybe I want to be a journalist, a restaurant manager, a dentist, or possibly a computer programmer. How’s this liberal arts degree going to help me do any of these things? Where’s the proof? Show me the money, McFadden.”

Here’s the deal. As I’ve mentioned before (and it is certainly worth repeating):

  • Liberal arts students advance more quickly to middle and senior management positions than their colleagues who pursued other fields of study . . . these graduates become employees that are ready to learn (AT&T Management Study).
  • The liberal arts are more effective in teaching communication skills, general knowledge and information, an understanding of people, an appreciation of ethical concerns, an ability to organize and prioritize, and vital leadership skills (Fortune 500 study).
  • Business leaders value liberal arts grads for their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, strong writing and speaking skills, self-discipline, exposure to diverse ideas, and global perspective (Hobart & William Smith Colleges study).
  • Strong communications skills are the single most important attribute a candidate can have – and also the one most lacking among job applicants (Poll of hiring managers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers).
  • A broad liberal arts education is preferred for future CEOs – blending knowledge of history, culture, philosophy, and economic policy, with international experience and problem-solving skills (The Wall Street Journal).
  • Employers focus on finding graduates with the right skills rather than the right major, as a new employee with the right skills can easily learn the specifics of an industry. Employers desire transferable skills, skills employees take with them to any job, such as written and verbal communication skills, the ability to solve complex problems, to work well with others, and to adapt in a changing workplace – and these are characteristic of a liberal arts education (Survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers).

Also, Christendom graduates do very well on their graduate school entrance exams (LSAT, MCAT, GRE, etc) and go to a variety of graduate schools such as Notre Dame, Harvard, William & Mary, University of Virginia, Oxford, George Mason, and Catholic University. They earn MBAs, MSEEs, JDs, MDs, PhDs, MSNs, and MAs in things like law, engineering, business, accounting, philosophy, theology, history, political science, architecture, dentistry, medicine, nursing, and everything in between.

Through the Christendom alumni and career network, we are able to help our students prepare for their life after graduation. We aid them in career preparation through talks and workshops, through presentations and meeting with them one-on-one. We help them with resume writing and interview skills; job exploration and graduate school search; alumni networking and job placement. We have a number of companies and organizations who specifically look to Christendom for their next employees.

An interesting thing to think about is this: Most people do not end up working in the career field that they majored in at college. Therefore, picking a specific school to attend because of a specific major that is offered is certainly no guarantee (a 50/50 chance) that you will actually work in that field. The difference with studying at Christendom and majoring in one of our offerings (history, theology, political science, classics, English language and literature, or philosophy…with minors in math, liturgical music, and economics), you can be almost certain that you will not actually work in the field of study of your major. Out of our close to 1600 graduates, very few are employed in their area of study. But they are broadly educated, and therefore, not limited to one area of employment. They are able to move around from career field to career field, if they wish. They can more easily move up the management ladder. They do not have to go back to school for more training if they choose to change jobs. They can do anything.

Alumnus Sean Kay
Partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers
“What do you want to do when you graduate? What jobs do you think you cannot get with a degree from Christendom?” You want to be an Electrical Engineer, talk to Damian Fedoryka. Interested in peoples’ teeth? Talk to Dentist Sam Aronhime. How about an architect? Peter Jensen. Computer programmer? See Bennett Ellis at IBM. An Accountant? Talk with Sean Kay, a partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Marketing professional? Check out Dave Greiner at Agent X. Like the idea of nursing? You need to talk with Jill Vander Woude. Interested in Journalism? Robyn Lee at
Faith & Family magazine can help you out. Want to try your hand at law enforcement? John Curran at the FBI’s your man. Law? Matt O’Herron at Turbitt, O'Herron & Leach PLLC. Finance and investing? John Clark, CEO of Paladin Financial. Non-profit Management? Mark Rohlena, CEO, Catholic Charities in Colorado Springs. Education? See Catholic school principal Frank Nicely.

Whatever you want to do tomorrow, can be achieved on our campus today. Believe it.

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.