Celebrating All Hallow's Eve


Name: Melanie Hofbauer
Age: 17
Year: Freshman
From: Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Philosophy (probably)
Piano, dance, sketching, choir.
Who's your favorite professor or class? Theology 101 with Fr. Donald Planty. Fr. Planty presents the material in a clear, organized way, while being funny and enthusiastic at the same time. It make the class enjoyable. itunes
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in? I'm on an intramural volleyball team, the art club with Mr. Henry Wingate, Shield of Roses, and I'll be helping out backstage with the upcoming fall play (Room Service). All the activities—especially the intramurals—provide an opportunity for students to get to know each other and socialize.
What is your favorite thing about Christendom? The whole atmosphere of the college. Going to classes and learning about wonderful subjects and then spending time with great people is what makes Christendom so special to me. Everything compliments everything else. itunes
Why did you choose Christendom? I chose Christendom because I felt that it would truly give me a great foundation for any career choice I'd make later on. Now that I'm here, I know that I made the right choice.
What surprises you the most about Christendom?
The amount of activities the Student Activities Council (SAC) puts on. I love the fact that almost every weekend there's a new fun event to look forward to.
What are your plans after graduation? Hopefully medical school—I've wanted to be a pediatrician my whole life.
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student? I love it here and I know you will too.


Misunderstanding Love

Acclaimed author and professor Dr. Anthony Esolen delivered a talk entitled The Gift of Self: Modern Culture's Impact on Love to the students and faculty on October 24. Part of the college's Major Speakers Program, the talk examined how modern society's understanding of human love has destroyed all sense of mystery and imagination.

A professor at Providence College, Esolen explained that society has reduced love to sex, and sex to hygiene—a reduction that has occurred due to a skewed view of what it is to know something.

He described modern society’s idea of knowledge as having “analyzed a thing's measurable features so as to make use of it for profit or pleasure.” This misunderstanding of knowledge is why physical functions are described with clinical detachment in contemporary sex education courses.

“All the sense of mystery is destroyed,” he said.

Read more about this fascinating lecture here or download it at Christendom on iTunes U.

Christendom College's Major Speakers Program is an important aspect of the academic life at the College, offering the students and community an opportunity for cultural, intellectual, and spiritual enrichment beyond the classroom. The program offers students the opportunity to gain greater insights and depth of understanding of important issues, and to interact personally with a wide range of men and women who are shapers and critics of our society.

Students and faculty lined up to meet Esolen following his talk and enjoyed discussing the topic further.


Men's and Women's Convocation

Friday night, the women of Christendom College gathered in the lower level of the library for Women's Convocation. The library, which had been transformed into a beautifully decorated fall-themed banquet room, was packed as the women gathered to commune, and hear talks from faculty and staff, including Literature Professor Sharon Hickson and Director of Residence Life Amanda Graf.

The theme of the night was “friendships.” Prof. Hickson gave a great talk about some important aspects of friendship, emphasizing how Christ fulfilled them perfectly, which was followed by a practical talk by Miss Graf, who explained her experiences and practical application of these elements of friendship.

The men also held a convocation that night in Crusader Gymnasium. A couple presentations and a panel made up of staff and students examined what it means to be a Christian man. Following the discussions all the guys headed to the basketball court for several intense games of dodgeball.

These events, which were part of the Student Life Formation Series, were great opportunities for the women and men to get together to grow in Christ, and with each other.

The women discussed the topic of friendship further in small groups following the talks.

Dodgeballs fly in Crusader Gymnasium.

Costumes and Fun at Halloween Dance

Saturday night, creepy, colorful, and creative costumes were scattered around the St. Lawrence Commons, as Christendom students gathered for the annual Halloween Dance.

The costume ideas were quite creative, and there were some fantastic groups. One favorite was “Henry VIII, his wives, Thomas More and the Pope.”

There was a costume contest for both individual people dressing up, as well as groups. Freshman Luis Adan won for the individual category, dressing up as Luigi, from the Mario Brothers. Seniors Catherine Marra and Frances Allington won for the group category, as Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

Thomas Moore, The Pope, Henry VIII, and his wives.

The Tin Man and Dorothy dance with the Yellow Brick Road.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

A chimney sweep swings with an aerobics instructor.

Professional Occasions

Sunday evening, the Chester-Belloc Debate Society teamed up with the SAC to present, "Drinking in a Professional Environment." The event was for those 21 and over and was led by Theology Professor Eric Jenislawski. Prof. Jenislawski began the evening by giving a talk on the important aspects of drinking in a professional environment, touching on subjects such as temperance, tolerance, and prudence, as well as what is generally meant by a "professional environment." The talk was extremely informative, and gave students a lot of valuable information about "do's" and "don'ts" at professional and formal occasions.

Music or Treats at Open House

Monday night, Halloween served as the perfect occasion for an Open House, as the men of Christendom came to “Trick or Treat” in the girls' dorms. The event was great fun, as the guys dressed up and paid the ladies a visit. Some rooms celebrated the holiday to the max, taking advantage of the occasion to play music and sing songs together. The event was a fun, relaxing kick-start to the week, as students also looked forward to a class-free All Saints Day—a nice break from academics.

Freshman Leif Pilegaard gives an impromptu performance on his violin.


So Much to Do and See... So Little Time

While all the students in Front Royal have gone back and forth between midterms, Fall Break, and more midterms, the Rome students have been traveling all over Europe and taking a final!

We went to Florence overnight on Thursday, October 13. Florence had many sights to see, including one of the three largest domes in Italy. We explored the Uffizi Gallery that houses several great sculptures and paintings, including my favorite: Correggio’s Adoration of the Child. Some of the students explored the famous gardens in Florence. I spent most of my time—in typical female fashion—exploring the San Lorenzo Market, where I bought lots and lots of scarves and other odds-and-ends. It was a lovely change of pace during the semester!

That Saturday, some of us went to the Vatican Gardens! So gorgeous! We also welcomed College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, along with his wife, Cathy, and Literature Professor Mrs. Sharon Hickson to Rome with a potluck dinner. Monday, the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch, we went to Mass at San Clemente with Assistant Chaplain Fr. Joseph Fox, who was leading a pilgrimage to Rome. San Clemente houses the relics of St. Ignatius, so it was an incredible blessing to be able to celebrate Mass there! In the afternoon, Dr. O’Donnell gave his greatly anticipated tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. His tour was fantastic, of course, and we learned so much about St. Peter’s that we had not known previously—even though we walk past and go to Mass there frequently.

We had a free day on Tuesday to go visit the St. Thomas More College campus in Rome. There, our students played soccer and ultimate frisbee with the students. We all went out for dinner for yummy Chinese food and then returned to their campus for a bonfire, gelato, and music. It was a great opportunity to get to know other American students, and we have had several meetings since!

We had our second free weekend, during which I went to Athens, Greece, with John Schofield and Chris Roberts. Greece was incredible! I loved it! We saw the Acropolis (including the Parthenon, of course), the Ancient Agora, and the Acropolis Museum (in which I saw several statues dating from 2,500 years ago!). We also drove an hour outside of Athens to the Temple of Poseidon, which had the most amazing view I have ever seen. Greece has been my favorite side trip thus far!

That Sunday, several students went to the canonization of three new saints. Some of them were able to get really close to the Pope and all of them came back with a renewed enthusiasm for the faith, saying it was a really powerful experience.

On Thursday, we had our Italian final. It was so strange studying for a test, as I have not had a test since finals of last semester in May. However, I am pleased to report that everyone survived and spent the evening relaxing to celebrate!

This past Saturday evening, October 29, Mrs. Noronha welcomed us into her home for a Ladies’ Night. Mr. Noronha made a special tea from his sister-in-law’s tea plantation as we listened to the extraordinary wisdom of Mrs. Noronha. She focused our discussion on living out our vocation in the present as single college students with a missionary spirit. We also had three Religious Sisters of Mercy from Michigan stop by as special guests for the evening, which was a real treat! The Noronhas have been such an incredible witness to Catholicism and marriage. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to interact with them daily and learn from them.

Sunday night, after our weekly potluck, we had a group discussion on the papal encyclical Caritas in Veritate. Mr. and Mrs. Noronha, Ms. Ott, Mr. Arrington (our Roman Perspectives professor), and a few seminarians all came and contributed. The discussion was extremely fruitful and we are all looking forward to having another one next week.

Over the past few weeks during tours, we’ve seen the manger of Our Lord, the skulls of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Cathedral Chair (where the Pope speaks ex cathedra), St. Agnes’ skull, first editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy, St. Benedict’s cell, the oldest working church bells in Rome, and St. Cecilia’s house (which, naturally, is now a church). Normal sights, right? I love Rome!

Now that the end is approaching, I am feeling the panic of how much I still have to see. I cannot believe how time flies and I have been in Europe for two months! I am going to soak up the next few weeks as much as possible before heading home. As I reflect on the past three weeks, I realize how every day is such an opportunity for grace and growth. I am so excited to see what I will learn this week!

Enjoying the Florentine skyline.

Reenacting The Divine Comedy outside the Dante Museum.

A night at the Italian opera.

A scene from the opera.

Chillin' in the pope's garden.

Lisa Hill shows off her pass to the Vatican Gardens.

Touring St. Peter's with Dr. O'Donnell

Touring Santa Sabina.

A feast every time: the weekly potluck.

Class on the balcony of the academic center with Prof. Arrington.


Spiritual Retreats

pville brs chapel2
In an effort to help students grow spiritually outside the school atmosphere, Christendom College has several opportunities every year for students to participate in different retreats. This year, during fall break, Christendom sponsored a week-long silent retreat at the Community of St. John in Princeville, Illinois. Sixteen students took advantage of this amazing experience. To get the scoop on what the retreat was like, Senior Katie Francis gave The Chronicler an insight on their week.

Francis had been on the retreat once before, and since she had had an amazing experience, she was excited to go again.

“It is so refreshing to be completely silent for a whole week," Francis said. "It is so peaceful and it allows you to grow so much closer to God. It’s also a nice getaway from the craziness of school and noise itunes. I have a new appreciation for interior silence and the power of Eucharistic adoration especially.”

The theme for the week was taken from Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” and so all week the retreatants used this verse about poverty and prayer as the focus of their own personal prayers, and they listened to talks based on it as well. Fr. Joseph Mary and Fr. John Luke gave talks twice a day, and there were many opportunities for adoration, confession, and individual meetings throughout the week.

When asked what her favorite part of the week was, Katie Francis described how they truly were able to experience the religious life.

“The brothers and sisters completely welcomed us into their daily schedule (as much as they were allowed), which meant we got to pray with them, eat with them, and even play sports with them,” she said.

All students who have ever attended retreats sponsored by Christendom have never had anything but good things to say about them. It's one of the great riches of Christendom's formation and spiritual life offered to the students.

“It is such a beautiful and unique way to strengthen our faith, and that is Christendom’s mission,” Francis said. “Ask any of us that attended the retreat and I don’t think you will find anyone with any regrets. There is something for everyone, because you have this opportunity to grow in your faith and prayer life, developing an even stronger relationship with Christ. I would definitely recommend the retreats to anyone. It might be difficult for some people—but it is ultimately so rewarding!"

Some of the attendees of the 2011 Fall Spiritual Retreat.


Volleyball Rules the Court

When the season shifts to fall in the Shenandoah Valley, the seasons of intramural sports also shift from wonderful whiffle ball to vibrant volleyball. This season of volleyball has been full of life as the sport has boasted the most participants ever in any intramural sport at Christendom.

With a student body of about 400—30 of which are off gallivanting around Rome—26 volleyball teams signed up to come out and enjoy friendly competition each Monday and Thursday evenings. The 26 teams ranging from five to seven players equated to 160 total participants or over 40% of the student body. The intramural volleyball season has always been a popular one on campus usually ranging between 100-120 participants, but this year’s 160 players makes the record books!

The volleyball season, along with the indoor soccer intramural season (played during the late winter), top the list of most popular intramural sports on campus. As a result, they are the longest of the intramural seasons. Each team will play between 8-12 total games by the time the championship game is completed—usually just before Thanksgiving.

Three weeks ago Team 8, composed of Joe Marra, Conor Knox, Conor Coyne, Mike Arnold, Anna Van Hecke, Madeleine Murphy, and Patrick McKenna, came ready for their match dressed as a bowl of fruit! Yes, the game consisted of a bunch of grapes passing the ball to an apple with the banana spiking the ball over—just another night of intramurals on campus!

Most of the teams participating have a blast while playing. At the end of the day friendly competition reigns supreme as all the teams’ battle to solidify their place in the standings before tournament time begins.

This year—for the first time in 3 years—a few of the staff members formed a team and have been the team-to-beat, as they remain undefeated. The team is made up of Dean of Students Mr. Jesse Dorman, Student Activities Director Caitlin Bowers, Special Services Director Josh Petersen, Mary Stanford (wife of English Professor Trey Stanford), Head women’s soccer coach Matt Nelson, and Philosophy Professor Mike Brown. This highlights the personal experience that Christendom offers. Staff members participate in many areas of a student’s life throughout their time at Christendom—such as intramurals—and this fosters mentorships and friendships (along with some other slightly more competitive feelings

Team 23 is the only other team which hasn’t lost a match this season. Made up of Matthew Speer, John David Speer, Megan Speer, Dominic O’Donnell, Ted Cantu, and David McWhirter, they look to dethrone the staff team when the time comes! With just a couple of weeks to go in addition to the two undefeated teams already mentioned, the next two teams atop the standings are teams 5 and 18. Team 5 includes a “somber” group made up of John McGovern, Paddy Norton, Ben Scrivener, Joe Long, Mary Barbale, and Bridget Vander Woude. Team 18 includes an upperclassmen montage of Joseph Stephens, Blaise Buckner, Meghan Kelly, Molly Morey, Maribeth Kelly, Katie Francis, and Rob Fetsko.

With over 23 teams chasing these three the next few weeks should be fun. Intramurals is one of the many things on campus that is primarily student driven. Director Joseph Stephens has done a great job this year as last year in heading up the program and doing everything in his power to make it an enjoyable and competitive time. Klarissa Blank along with the other gym staff and special referees (Molly Morey and Jon Fioramonti) also deserve much credit in enabling the games to be played. Thanks to all the 160 participants this season and hopefully this year's tournament will be a great ending to the season.

Q. I heard that Christendom College was recently ranked as one of the ten best colleges in the US. Why do you think you made the list when none of your competitors (other small Catholic colleges in particular) did? Congratulations, by the way. What a great list to be on!

A. Thanks for the congratulations! We were also very excited to be ranked as highly as we were, among some other great schools. I believe we made the top ten list for a number of reasons, but primarily for the following three reasons:

1. We have an excellent integrated core curriculum.
2. We focus on the liberal arts and pursuit of truth.
3. We have a campus culture that is reflective of our Christian principles.

As far as none of our competitors making it, well, I can’t really say much about that. From what I have heard, the writers and editors of the report thought highly of a lot of other schools, but since there were only ten slots to fill, not everyone could make it. I am sure glad that we did because it shows a wider audience the caliber of our institution and the academic prowess of our faculty and students.

  • Top Ten Exceptional Schools
  • Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
  • University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • The University of the South (Sewanee, TN)
  • The United States Military Academy (West Point, NY)
  • Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
  • Baylor University (Waco, TX)
  • Providence College (Providence, RI)
  • Texas A&M (College Station, TX)
  • Gordon College (Wenham, MA)
  • Christendom College (Front Royal, VA)
The report, entitled Ranking America’s Colleges, judged the schools on how well they provided “the classic ‘liberal education’ suited to a free citizen and a well-rounded adult.” The report hopes to inform consumers, educators, and donors to the best and worst trends in American education.

In the assessment of the schools the report asked:

“Are [students] being challenged to stretch their cognitive abilities in different fields, so they’ll be intellectually and professionally versatile adults? Are they learning the basics of core disciplines such as American history, democratic government, English literature, and the market economy? Are they engaging with a wide range of freely expressed opinions on key ethical and political issues they will face as individuals and as citizens? Are they living in safe and sober residences where academic work is encouraged, not inhibited?”

The report also emphasizes the importance of a liberal arts education in today’s economy. Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it says that workers go through an average of eleven different jobs by the time they reach age forty-four.

“Many workers must change careers, as industries decline or are transformed by technology and outsourcing,” the report says. “The cognitive flexibility and intellectual curiosity developed by a true liberal arts education is the central prerequisite for a full, productive, and satisfying life.”

The report described Christendom students as “intellectually and morally serious” that enjoy class discussions, which typically spill over into “long conversations over coffee.”

“All students complete a rigorous Catholic core curriculum covering Western civilization before choosing a major in classical and early Christian studies, English, history, philosophy, political science and economics, or theology. The school sticks to its specialties, so each of these majors is strong,” the report continues. “Instead of political correctness, there is an absolute expectation of Catholic orthodoxy.”

You can read all about it here.

Thanks for asking and God bless,
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.