Cherry Blossoms


Name: Bernadette Sartor
Rome, Ohio
History with a Classics minor
Singing, playing guitar, and jumping in the Shenandoah river early in the morning!
What is your favorite class or professor?
History 102 with Dr. Brendan McGuire was amazing! He is great at teaching anything that has to do with the Crusades.It is fascinating! History 201 and 202 with Dr. Adam Schwartz would definitely be my favorite classes! Dr. Schwartz presents the information in such a way that it flows like a story - it is so easy to listen to that the time flies in that class!
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in?
I am in the choir, the Chester-Belloc Debate Society, I participate in the Works of Mercy program, and I really love the intramural sports!
Why did you choose Christendom?
I chose Christendom because it is very comfortable here. It fosters a great learning environment and being around other young, like-minded people is something you can't experience anywhere else. I also can't express how much I value the availability of the sacraments and having a chapel that is only a two minute walk from anywhere on campus. The chaplains here are the best ever!smile
What surprises you the most about Christendom? That everything on this campus never ceases to interest me and makes me want to participate!
What are your plans after graduation? That is for God to know and me to find out. smile
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student?
Be as balanced as possible. Obviously one should not stretch themselves too thin, but don't be afraid to jump in to new activities, even ones that are outside your comfort zone. There are so many wonderful opportunities and people here that you will never experience unless you take a chance every now and then! And above all take advantage of the availability of the sacraments!


DC's Cherry Blossoms

What better way to welcome the coming of spring than by appreciating the changes of the seasons? On Saturday, a group of Christendom students went into D.C. to do just that. The yearly blooming of the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. is an event that not only marks the arrival of spring, but also attracts hundreds of people from all over. As a residence hall floor activity, students drove into D.C. to enjoy this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. After watching the annual parade, they made their way toward the Jefferson Memorial to see the gorgeous trees.

“I have always wanted to see the cherry blossoms that everyone has always raved about,” said Sophomore Bernadette Sartor. “Spending the day relaxing underneath them with good friends was a great way to experience the beautiful day.”

After picnicking under the trees, the students were able to drive into quaint Georgetown and enjoy the rest of the day getting ice cream and sightseeing.

Bernadette Sartor gets a closer look at the blossoms.

The Jefferson Memorial.

Tourists can take paddle boats out onto the Potomac River.

The Washington Monument.

Cherry blossom time 2013.

Goodbye Mr. Cookie Man

Christendom Senior John McFadden has been making about 120 homemade chocolate chip cookies every Wednesday throughout the academic year for the past 7 years. The Admissions Office has a special Ambassador Cookie Day each Wednesday, and John's cookies are the main event. Now that he is graduating and most likely moving out to Oklahoma to join the monks at Clearcreek monastery in the fall, his special knack for cooking a unique chocolate chip cookie will be heading West with him.

"One of my former Admissions Counselors, Margaret Ginski (now Margaret Kay), came up with the idea back in 2006. She wanted to reward our student amabassadors in some way, and she thought that having homemade chocolate chip cookies would be very welcomed and appreciated," says Admissions Director Tom McFadden. "And I agreed with her, so I asked my then-13-year-old son if he wanted a weekly job of making cookies. He said yes and the rest is history."

Ambassador Cookie Day will continue in the fall and although John will not be making them, one of his sisters will continue on with the tradition and use his same recipe.

Experiencing a Maronite Mass

Throughout the year the chaplaincy at Christendom offers "Faith-Filled Fun Field Trips" which feature the College chaplains leading formative excursions to nearby places of Catholic interest, including local places of pilgrimage, culture, hikes, and more. Recently Fr. Donald Planty took students to a Maronite Mass.

The Mass.

Group photo following the Mass.

Celebrating the Student Endowment Fund

This past Sunday evening, the Senior Philanthropy Board hosted its final event of the year. More of a casual gathering, this event was held at the beautiful residence of College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, and was a celebration of the high rate of participation in the Senior pledge for the Christendom College Student Endowment Fund. The night was full of camaraderie, games of corn-toss and cards, and of course a plethora of delicious beverages and refreshments. Halfway through the evening, the senior class signed and gave a custom corn-toss set to the O’Donnells as a token of appreciation for all they have done for the school during the years that they have been at Christendom.

This senior class alone has helped to raise over $21,000 for the Student Endowment fund, an amount that anyone can be proud of. It is definitely an unprecedented achievement for a class that is still at the school, and it sets the bar incredibly high for future classes that come through Christendom, and challenges them to show their love and support for the high quality education and experience that they have received at Christendom College.

Students grab some of the tasty fare.

Enjoying a game of cards on the O'Donnells' deck.

Students enjoy a game of corn-toss on the O'Donnells' new custom set.

New Debate Club Leadership

On Sunday, one of the last debates of the year was held in Regina Coeli Hall. Before the speeches began, the Chester Belloc Debate Society proudly introduced three of the newly elected students to the Troika: Junior Andrew Clark as the new Prefect of Secret Rites, Junior Matthew Marcolini as the new Secretary, and Freshman Kevin Young as the new Chairman.

The Chester-Belloc Debate Society is Christendom College's premier forum for extra-curricular intellectual self-development. Twice monthly, the Society argues topics of philosophy, theology and politics in the refined style of parliamentary debate. It forges the virtues of critical thinking, rhetorical prowess and political leadership in an atmosphere of aesthetic refinement and camaraderie. Debates are open to the entire campus. Membership is elective and is open to both students and faculty.

Alumnus Michael Strickland (valedictorian of the class of 2012) participates in the debate.

Professor Eric Jenislawski drives his point home.

Senior Sarah Halbur makes her argument.

Vatican Diplomacy

On Monday evening in St. Kilian’s Café, Christendom chaplain Fr. Planty gave a talk sponsored by the Political Science Department entitled, “Vatican Diplomacy.” Fr. Planty studied for diplomatic service for the Holy See at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, Italy, from 1996-2000, and then worked for the Vatican as the Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature for the countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti, as well as the African Union.

Father gave students a history of Vatican diplomacy, and explained how the Holy See functions diplomatically throughout the world. He also provided a wealth of fascinating and entertaining anecdotes and information from his own time working as a diplomat for the Holy See. Students got a true insider’s look into what is really involved in the Vatican’s outreach to the governments of the world.

Fr. Planty kept his audience entertained and intrigued with stories from his own experiences.

Fr. Planty outlined how Vatican diplomacy works for the students.

Why Women Do What They Do

Last night, senior head RA Dan Mitchell hosted a talk for the men of Christendom College. Given by Student Life’s Miss Amanda Graf, the talk was entitled “Why Women Do What They Do.” In her presentation, Miss Graf gave some insights into the nature of women, and in what ways they are profoundly different from men. She quoted St. Edith Stein as saying that a woman’s emotions are at the very core of her being, and that God has created women with a certain emotional void that has to be filled. When filled by God, it is a very beautiful thing; however, when women try to fill this void with something else, it can make relations between a man and woman a bit confusing, especially for a man. Miss Graf also gave very useful advice to the men on how to interact with women and backed up her advice with personal stories, and tied everything back to the importance of praying, and putting God first.

"If this is done," she said, "everything else will follow naturally."

The guys cooked some hotdogs before attending the talk.

The Presence of St. Thomas Aquinas in Our Curriculum

We love St. Thomas Aquinas here at Christendom.

In keeping with the teaching of the Church, we acknowledge the essential role played by St. Thomas Aquinas in our curriculum. All our students who would pursue wisdom—both natural and supernatural—owe a special debt to the Angelic Doctor, because the truth has been set forth most clearly in his writings.

As Pope John Paul II has said:

If today also . . . philosophical and theological reflection is not to rest on an “unstable foundation,” which would make it “wavering and superficial,” it will have to draw inspiration from the “golden wisdom” of St. Thomas, in order to draw from it the light and vigor it needs to enter deeply into the meaning of what is revealed and to further the progress of the scientific endeavor.

The philosophy of St. Thomas deserves to be attentively studied and accepted with conviction by the youth of our day, by reason of its spirit of openness and of universalism, characteristics which are hard to find in many trends of contemporary thought.

—From the Address on the Perennial Philosophy of St. Thomas for the Youth of Our Times, at the Angelicum, Rome, 1979.

So the college, in trying to be one in mind and discipline with the Church in the formation of our students, is committed to a Thomistic educational policy: programs of instruction in philosophy and Sacred Theology are all taught according to the spirit, method, and principles of St. Thomas.


Rome and Beyond

Ciao! Greetings from Rome! Hope you all had a great week!

I seriously cannot believe that we started finals and have about nine more days here in Rome. Time has definitely flown by this semester, but it has always been so busy. So, what have we been doing with ourselves during our last few weeks here in Rome? Here are the highlights:

Last Wednesday, we went out for a group dinner and tried some Ethiopian food. For most of us, it was a first. Although I would not necessarily say it would be my first choice in cuisine, it was really neat to experience!

On Thursday some of us went to Trastevere to visit San Pietro in Montorio which is on top of the Janiculum Hill. Unfortunately, it was closed, so we ended up walking to the Aventine Hill where we looked through a keyhole on the gate to the headquarters of the Knights of Malta in order to see a spectacular view of the dome of Saint Peter’s. Peering through, we saw a path and bushes which perfectly frame the dome of Saint Peter’s – so pretty! It is definitely worth the trip! On the way back down we stopped by San Alessio, which was built on the site of the house where Saint Alexis lived, and San Sabino, where it is said that Saint Dominic and Saint Francis met.

This weekend was a free weekend. A good number of people went to Paris, where they visited all the famous sites: Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Saint Chappelle, and the Louvre. I heard that it was a great weekend for everyone who went there! Kelsey ended up going to Monte San Angel, and saw the caves of Saint Michael, and San Giovanni Rotondo, where she was able to pray in front of Padre Pio’s tomb and tour his monastery. Her favorite part was seeing the cave at Monte San Angelo. Another group ended up going to a beach in Ischia, an island off the coast of Italy.

Angelica and I ended up going to the Campagnia region to visit our cousins who live there—it was such a great weekend! We toured the Palace of Caserta, saw the fountains and strolled through the gorgeous English gardens. We experienced authentic, Italian meals cooked by Aunt Rosario, which were some of my favorite meals here in Italy! One of the nights we went to Naples and walked along the coast and sampled some true Neapolitan pizza, which was the best pizza I have had yet!! I had my first couple shots of espresso, tasted some mozzarella buffala, and had some homemade wine. On Sunday, we had dinner with the extended family, so we were able to meet our other cousins and their children, which was so amazing! It was so neat to experience the Italian culture, and it was such a blessing to be able to meet and spend time with my family here in Italy.

On Monday Angelica, Kelsey and I went to Loreto to go to the Holy House. Besides Monte Casino, I think that it was one of my favorite places to go to outside of Rome. After a four hour train ride from Rome, we arrived in Loreto and hiked up a small hill to the Basilica of Loreto. The scenery there was absolutely breathtaking! We saw a beautiful view of the sea and the countryside of Loreto and passed by a Polish cemetery of WWII. After entering the Church of Our Lady of Loreto (which was magnificent!), we entered the Holy house, which is believed to be Mary’s house in which the Annunciation took place. It was seriously so neat! When we entered the holy house, one of the first things that we saw was the altar and an inscription above it which read: “Hic Verbum Caro Factum Est,” which means “Here the Word was made flesh” and the Annunciation window. I can’t even begin to describe how incredible it was!

Well, that is it for now. Until next time, ciao!


Fun in the sun at Ischia.

In Campagnia.

Padre Pio's confessional.

A view of Padre Pio's town, San Giovanni Rotondo.


Interview with a Crusader

This week I had sophomore Joe Walsh catch up with freshman Ryan Tappe to get his take on life as a Crusader.

´┐╝Joe: Where are you from?
Ryan: Pittsburgh

J: What sports do you play at Christendom?
R: Basketball and baseball

J: What’s the first sport you played?
R: Baseball, I played 2nd base and Shortstop

J: When did you first start playing Basketball?
R: I first started playing basketball when I was 9

J: What’s your favorite sport?
R: Baseball - it’s the first sport I ever played and my family is really into it. Also, it’s a game with a lot of strategy that constantly changes each play

J: When did you first hear about Christendom?
R: From my older brother who graduated in 2007

J: Did you consider any other colleges?
R: No not really but I had an offer to play lacrosse at Division 2 Belmont Abbey

J: Why did you choose Christendom?
R: I chose Christendom for the unique faith formation it offered and the unity of the student body

J: What do you want to major in?
R: I’m leaning toward Political Science

J: Who’s your favorite professor?
R: Professor O’Herron is my favorite because even though he is challenging and rigorous he makes class fun and interesting

J: What has surprised you the most about Christendom?
R: The amount of dances and activities we have here

J: What have you most enjoyed about Christendom?
R: Being on the sports teams and the sense of unity amongst the student body

J: Complete this sentence: The Coaching Style of Coach VanderWoude is best likened to…
R: A koala bear: He seems patient and calm but if necessary he will turn wild and vicious

J: What advice would you give to an incoming freshman athlete?
R: Don’t underestimate the competition and be prepared to work hard

Q. I've looked at the Christendom website and am very interested in some of the fine arts activities, especially theatre and the film club, but I can't find anything art related (i.e. drawing). Does Christendom offer any clubs or electives that are connected to art?

A. Christendom does not specifically have anything for artists who are interested in drawing. But, with that being said, there are some opportunities for budding artists to add to the college community. One way is to help with set design for the various theater productions we put on each year. We have a fall and spring play, as well as a mystery dinner theater, and all of these need backgrounds and sets designed. So, those who can draw and paint are most welcome to lend a hand.

Additionally, we do offer a variety of guilds each fall semester, and one of these guilds is an art guild (some of the other guilds offered this past fall were cooking, landscaping, electricity, iconography, and wood working). The art guild was run by local artist, Henry Wingate (, and students were given the opportunity to improve their drawing and painting skills over the course of the semester. These guilds are extra-curricular, and have an added cost to them as well.

Other than those venues, sometimes we have an art show in the library where students and faculty/staff can enter their works of art (photography, drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc) for all to see.

So, although art and drawing are not part of the actual curriculum, hopefully you can see that there are still opportunities for people to grow in their abilities and for them to use their God-given talents for the betterment of the college community.

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.