Vita Consecrata Institute


Vita Consecrata Institute

Session I: June 29 – July 10, 2020
Session II: July 13 – 24, 2020
Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia

A serene retreat for those in religious life, the Vita Consecrata Institute pairs academic studies of God and man with a unique opportunity for community and contemplation at Christendom’s beautiful campus in the Shenandoah valley.

Course Offerings

Students may register for any or each of the following courses, and may attend either or both sessions.  Class meeting times will not overlap.

Session I
June 29 – July 10, 2020

SPIR 630 The Spiritual Life | Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P.
Mondays – Fridays, 8:30 – 10:45 AM
This course covers the universal call to holiness, the stages of the spiritual life, the role of Christ and the Church in the spiritual life, the supernatural organism and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, personal vocation, and the four essential means to perfection, namely, the sacraments, the life of prayer, self-denial and asceticism, and charity working through the virtues. It also treats the secondary means to Christian perfection.

CONL 621 History of the Consecrated Life | Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.PRAEM.
Mondays – Fridays: 11:00 AM – 2:45 PM
Break from 12 noon – 1:45 PM for lunch
An overview of the development of the consecrated life over the centuries showing the Apostolic origins and the growth of consecrated life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit working through founders, saints, and the Magisterium; includes examination of extra-biblical sources with special emphasis on early monastic and Patristic sources.

SPIR 803 Heart Speaks to Heart | Fr. Alphonsus Hermes, O.PRAEM.
Mondays – Fridays: 3:00 PM – 5:15 PM
This course will examine the formation of the heart according to human nature. The course will clarify what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself.” We will explore the impact of family dynamics on our understanding of “love,” and how our relationships – especially in communities – can help to heal and transform our hearts.

Session II
July 13 – July 24, 2020

SPIR 631 Sacraments in the Spiritual Life | Fr. William FitzGerald, O.PRAEM.
Mondays – Fridays, 8:30 – 10:45 AM
This course examines the Sacraments as essential means to Christian perfection, looking at each of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation and how they insert one into the Paschal Mystery of the Lord. Also treated are the Sacrament of Penance as a means of overcoming sin and attachments and growing in virtue, and the various Christian states of life as concrete ways of living the universal call to holiness.

SPIR 802 Philosophy of Man | Fr. Anselm Rodriguez, O.PRAEM.
Mondays – Fridays: 11:00 AM – 2:45 PM
Break from 12 noon – 1:45 PM for lunch
This course is an introduction to the philosophy of human nature, as found in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. Our systematic study will begin with a general introduction to Philosophy and end with an introduction to Christian Anthropology, but the bulk of our time will be spent answering the crucial question “What is man?”. This course is beneficial on both the natural and supernatural planes, for we can better understand how grace brings about our spiritual perfection if we grasp the underlying human nature.

CONL 803 The “-isms” Today, How They Affect Religious Life and Our Response To Them | Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.PRAEM.
Mondays – Fridays: 3:00 PM – 5:15 PM
This course will describe the philosophy behind the various “-isms” present in our culture today and how they affect religious life, and what is our response to them as religious.

Important note for priests visiting from outside of the Diocese of Arlington:
Please be sure to have a letter of suitability sent to Bishop Michael Burbidge, Archbishop of the Diocese of Arlington. 

First time Vita Consecrata Institute students will need some additional documents and should contact the Institute on Religious Life at 847-573-8975, or email the IRL staff:

  • Letter from the religious superior or ordinary stating (a) express permission to attend, and (b) how her or she sees you may personally benefit from the program and how it might enrich your community;
  • Brief (2-3 paragraph) history of your vocation; and
  • Brief (2-3 paragraph) summary of the your educational background and/or ministerial experience.

The three documents should be submitted to the Institute on Religious Life:
Institute on Religious Life, P.O. Box 7500, Libertyville IL 60048-7500
Tel: (847) 573-8975

Full Schedule

May 15: Last day to sign up for transportation and housing.

June 27, 28: Students may arrive on campus for VCI Session I. Dorms open after 3:00 pm on Saturday, June 27.

June 28: Orientation to be held at 6:30 pm in chapel crypt.

June 29: Classes begin for VCI Session I.

July 10: Classes end for VCI Session I.

July 11: VCI Session I attendees must vacate dorms by 10:00 am. Those attending both sessions do not need to clear their room.

July 11, 12: VCI Session II attendees may arrive on campus.  Dorms open after 3:00 pm on Saturday, July 11.

July 12: Orientation to be held at 6:30 pm in chapel crypt.

July 13: Classes begin for VCI Session II.

July 24: Final classes for VCI Session II.

July 25: All attendees must vacate dorms by 10:00 am.  

Cost to Attend

VCI Summer 2020 Rates:

Registration fee: $50

Room & Board for two weeks: $630

Room & Board for four weeks: $1,260

Discounted VCI audit tuition for religious: $115/ credit hour

Audit tuition for laypeople: $155/ credit hour

Discounted VCI tuition for credit: $385/ credit hour

Tuition for credit (for laypeople): $410/ credit hour


Total Cost Formula* 

One Session (Two Weeks):
Room & Board ($630) + Registration fee ($50) + Tuition

Total cost for religious with two courses taken for credit: [$630 + $50 + ($385 X 4 credit hours= $1540)]= $2,220

Total cost for religious with two audited courses: [$630 + $50 + ($115 X 4 credit hours= $460)]= $1,140

Total cost for laypeople with two courses taken for credit: [$630 + $50 + ($410 X 4 credit hours= $1,640)] = $2,320

Total cost for laypeople with two audited courses: [$630 + $50 + ($155 X 4 credit hours= $620)] = $1,300

Two Sessions (Four Weeks): Room & Board ($1,260) + Registration fee ($50) + Tuition

Total cost for religious with four courses taken for credit (two courses per session): [$1,260 + $50 + ($385 X 8 credit hours=$3,080)]= $4,390

Total cost for religious with four audited courses (two courses per session): [$1,260 + $50 + ($115 X 8 credit hours= $920)]= $2,230

Total cost for laypeople with four courses taken for credit (two courses per session): [$1,260 + $50 + ($410 X 8 credit hours= $3,280)] = $4,590

Total cost for laypeople with four audited courses (two courses per session): [$1,260 + $50 + ($155 X 8 credit hours= $1,240)] = $2,550

*Two courses per session has been used as the standard for the cost formulae displayed here. Students may choose to take 1-3 VCI courses per session, and the number of credit hours would adjust their invoiced rate accordingly.


Residential Life

We recommend that those who have registered or who are in the process of registering take a few minutes before booking travel plans to read the following information.  It will provide students with an idea of what to expect during our residential programs. 

Campus Accommodations

Summer program accommodations are simple, standard college dormitory facilities. They are furnished with twin beds, desks, dressers, chairs, and small closets with a few clothes hangers.  We provide all residents with the following:

  • two twin sheets
  • one pillow
  • one pillowcase
  • one mattress pad
  • one light-weight blanket
  • one bath towel
  • two hand towels
  • one washcloth

The towels are small and some students like to bring extras. You may also wish to bring an additional pillow or blanket. Laundry facilities are in the dormitory and are available to students free of charge.

Whenever possible, students taking courses for credit are given single rooms to facilitate deep study. Religious participants generally share rooms with those from their own religious order.  Audit students will be paired with a roommate. To request a particular roommate, please write the name of the individual with whom you wish to share a room by emailing Annie Adams at by May 15. No roommate requests can be accommodated after May 15, 2020.

Safety & Security Information
On every wing and floor of each dormitory, bulletin boards can be found with general information such as emergency contact numbers, directions to medical facilities, local maps, etc.  For your safety, a security officer is on patrol across campus each night.  Dormitories are accessible only by key cards, which will be issued to students upon arrival on campus. Students will receive more information on safety and security during the student orientation, and a staff member will be available for questions.

Accessibility Accommodations
Students are welcome to disclose any physical limitation or restriction that may affect their stay or require special attention by emailing Annie Adams ( We will place students in rooms that are appropriate for their needs.

Please Note: Christendom is a walking campus.  Although the campus is not large, students need to be able to walk to and from buildings or to provide their own transportation. The dining and classroom facilities are all handicap accessible.

All residential registrations and special requests MUST be received by May 15. Accommodations after this date cannot be guaranteed as space is limited and housing assignments are made in early June.

Transportation to/from Campus

Airport Shuttle Service

Christendom College’s undergraduate campus is located in Front Royal, VA about an hour and a half outside of Washington, D.C. Christendom College offers shuttle service to and from Dulles International Airport (IAD) and the Vienna Metro Station (Orange Line) at the beginning and end of every summer session according to the dates and times listed below.

Please Note:

  • There is no charge to students who travel on the shuttles within these time-frames.
  • Requests outside of these set shuttle times cannot be accommodated by the Christendom shuttle service.
  • Shuttle services must be requested for each individual person traveling in your party at least three weeks prior to pick up.
  • We will send an email within 5 days before a student’s arrival, confirming the time and place of the van pick-up, and the driver’s name and cell phone number.
  • For questions of the shuttle services please contact the transportation office at 540-551-9170 .

Pick-Up Times

Please Note: All students are expected to meet AT Door #6 of Baggage Claim at Dulles and AT the South Kiss and Ride entrance of Vienna Metro Station according to the following times.

VCI Session I  Pick-Up

Saturday, June 27 Sunday, June 28
2 PM from Dulles,
2:30 PM from Vienna

(back to campus by 3:30 PM)
Noon from Dulles,
12:30 PM from Vienna

(back to campus by 1:30 PM)
7 PM from Dulles,
7:30 PM from Vienna

(back to campus by 8:30 PM)
5 PM from Dulles,
5:30 PM from Vienna

(back to campus by 6:30 PM)

VCI Session II  Pick-Up

Saturday, July 11 Sunday, July 12
2 PM from Dulles,
2:30 PM from Vienna

(back to campus by 3:30 PM)
Noon from Dulles,
12:30 PM from Vienna

(back to campus by 1:30 PM)
7 PM from Dulles,
7:30 PM from Vienna

(back to campus by 8:30 PM)
5 PM from Dulles,
5:30 PM from Vienna

(back to campus by 6:30 PM)

Drop-off Times

Please Note: These times are for when the shuttle leaves the Front Royal campus and the approximate arrival time at Dulles and Vienna.

VCI Session I

Friday, July 10 Saturday, July 11
Leave campus at 4 PM,
arrive at Dulles at 5 PM,
Vienna at 5:30 PM.
Leave campus at 6 AM,
arrive at Dulles at 7 AM,
Vienna at 7:30 AM.

VCI Session II

Friday, July 24 Saturday, July 25
Leave campus at 4 PM,
arrive at Dulles at 5 PM,
Vienna at 5:30 PM.
Leave campus at 6 AM,
arrive at Dulles at 7 AM,
Vienna at 7:30 AM.

TO REGISTER for shuttle transportation, please complete the appropriate form found at the Transportation Portal.  

Be sure to include both an email address and a cell phone number. You will receive a confirmation once the form is submitted. If you do not receive this confirmation, please call us at 540-551-9170 to make sure we have received your request. We will send an email within 5 days of a student’s arrival, confirming the time and place of the van pick-up, and the driver’s name and cell phone number.

Please Note: Pick-up and Drop-off times are only estimations depending on traffic.  The Transportation Department allots extra time for all shuttle services, but cannot promise that shuttles will arrive at the specific time.  For this reason, it is very important that the transportation office has a way to contact you. Please be sure to log an email address AND, more importantly, a cell phone number where the driver can reach you in case there is a delay.

Shuttle service urgent situations

  • College Delay: If the college must delay a shuttle due to inclement weather, a staff member from the Transportation Office will contact all students scheduled for shuttles on their cellphones. For this reason, the Transportation Office requires that all students using shuttle service submit their cellphone numbers when requesting a shuttle.
  • Student Flight Delay: Should your flight be delayed, please call the Transportation Office phone number at 540-551-9170. If it is outside of business hours, please listen to the voicemail recording for instructions on how to reach a staff member via cellphone. If you have a last-minute delay, please call your van driver. Christendom Transportation cannot promise to provide shuttle service for all delayed flights, but will do its best to provide adequate service.

Parking on Campus

For those who plan to park on campus, there will be a lot available close to the dormitories.  Because of limited space across campus, we ask that those planning to drive get in touch with us (703-658-4304  |  at the time of registration so that we can ensure a parking space for you.

Food Service

Meals & Special Dietary Needs

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily at St. Lawrence Commons. The cost of meals is included in the room and board charge for those residing on campus. Students with special dietary needs are encouraged to discuss their dietary needs with the Executive Chef ( to arrange accommodations.  Please follow this link for more information:

Non-Residential Students

  • Please contact Chef Don in person or by email at,  before you plan to eat on campus. If you plan to regularly dine in the Commons during the semester, please communicate your schedule to the Chef.
  • Individual meal prices for non-resident students and guests are $8 per meal.
Christ the King Chapel

At the center of Christendom’s community, Christ the King chapel provides a beautiful setting for liturgy and worship.  The Sacraments are celebrated frequently, and the chapel is a peaceful setting for individual prayer.

Christendom offers daily Mass and Confession. During the Vita Consecrata Institute (June 29 – July 29), an additional morning Mass will be celebrated, along with daily Liturgy of the Hours,  Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, and Benediction.

Christendom’s Sunday Mass is offered in Christ the King Chapel at 10:00 AM.

The Christendom Chaplains (Fr. Marcus Pollard and Fr. Tom Shepanzyk) are available to  students for any spiritual needs; students can contact them at the rectory (540-622-6128) or by email and

Other Campus Facilities

St. John the Evangelist Library
The St. John the Evangelist Library is the center of the academic life of the Christendom College campus, and has a collection of more than 90,000 volumes specifically designed to serve and support the intellectual and spiritual formation of the students, faculty, administration, and staff. With this in mind, the library aims to provide an uplifting atmosphere and excellent instructional, reference, and collection services.

Students participating in the graduate school’s summer residential programs are able to check out books from the library and use available spaces for quiet study.  The library’s hours of operation and information about obtaining a library card will be shared in your orientation packet. Additional information about the library’s services and collection may be found on the library webpage.

Crusader Gymnasium
The gymnasium is located near the Library and Saint Clare’s dorm and overlooks the Shenandoah River.  The 20,000 square-foot structure features:

  • Full size collegiate basketball including side practice baskets
  • Regulation volleyball court with 2 practice courts
  • Full size (2) racquetball/handball courts
  • Fully functional weight room with free weights, strength machines, bench stations, and two multi-use machines.
  • Fitness and cardio room equipped with treadmills, elipticals, free weights, medicine balls and mats
  • Student TV lounge with snack machines
  • 2 locker rooms with bathrooms and showers

Access to kayaks and canoes for use on the Shenandoah River is also available through the gym. Information on how to sign up will be provided during orientation.

Campus Map
A campus map is available for download here: Campus Map (pdf).  There are many scenic walkways and sights to explore on campus. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When should I arrive at and depart from campus?

You may access your dorm beginning at 3:00 pm Saturday before your classes start. There will be an orientation session for each program (MA, CLI, VCI) at 6:30 pm on the night before classes begin.

Dorms must be vacated no later than 10:00 am on the Saturday following the conclusion of each program to make room for any other attendees who are arriving (for example, VCI Session I participants must clear the room for VCI Session II participants).

2. If I am local to Christendom, can I attend classes without staying on campus?
Commuting students are more than welcome to attend classes. Please be sure to touch base with the Dean’s Assistant ( so that parking and food services may be appropriately arranged. Non-resident students are not required to attend orientation.

3. Is Christendom close to town?
Christendom is located roughly 5 miles from the town center of Front Royal.  There are limited public transportation options from campus to town.  A free shuttle service will run from campus to town once a week.

4. Can I receive mail while I am attending?
Students may receive mail at 134 Christendom Drive, Front Royal, VA, 22630.  Mail is distributed to resident students and faculty during the noon meal by Walter Janaro, Christendom College’s Registrar.  Students may give Walter outgoing mail at that time, or may drop off at his office in Regina Coeli. Postage can be purchased from Walter. In an emergency, a message may be left for a student at the college toll-free number: 800-877-5456.

5. What kind of activities are recommended during my stay?
Christendom has many beautiful hiking trails in the forest overlooking the Shenandoah River; we highly recommend that students take time to enjoy the scenary. The gym features racketball and basketball courts, and the campus also has a tennis court which may be used by anyone (please note the equipment for tennis is not provided). The St. John the Evangelist Library offers a relaxing environment in which to study and read.

6. Does St. Lawrence Commons provide gluten-free/dairy-free eating options?
Students with any allergy concerns or other dietary requirements are encouraged to reach out to contact the kitchen ( with any restrictions and check out the St. Lawrence Commons Special Services page.

7. When is the last day to sign up for a residential program? 
While students can sign up for classes up until the day of when class begins, students are encouraged to sign up by May 15th. A $50 discount on the semester registration fee is running until May 15th; after then the cost of registration is $100.

Please note that we do need to know if you need housing and transportation by May 15 at the latest. Housing and transportation will not be guarenteed after that time.

8. Can I take online courses and attend the summer residential program at the same time?
Yes, some students choose to double up on their course load over the summer by taking both online and onsite courses. The online semester will run from May 11 – August 15 (a much longer semester than that of the 6 week program).

9. Is there a dress code?
Dress for classes and meals is business casual, but we ask that no shorts be worn at Mass. Summers in Virginia tend to be hot and humid. As such, each of the buildings is air-conditioned and some can be quite cool. We encourage students to also pack clothing that can be worn to enjoy the outdoors as well.

10. Is there internet on campus?
The dormitories, library, gym, and student center will have Wi-Fi connections available.  The library has computer labs that students may use as well during open hours.

Contact Us

(703) 658 4304

4407 Sano Street, Alexandria, VA, 22312