Vita Consecrata Institute


Vita Consecrata Institute

Session I: July 4 – July 15, 2022
Session II: July 18 – July 29, 2022
Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia

As 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. Class meeting times will not overlap.

Session I
July 4 – July 15, 2022

CONL 624     Vows According to St. Thomas Aquinas | Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P.
Mondays through Fridays: 8:30 – 10:45 am

The rich scholastic tradition on the consecrated life as found in St. Thomas Aquinas, including questions in the Summa Theologiae as well as “On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life” and the Contra Retrahentes.  (2 credits) 

SPIR 806        Living the Beatitudes in a Broken World and a Wounded Church | Fr. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. & Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem.
11:00 – 11:45 am: Class with break for lunch
1:30 – 2:45: Class resumes after lunch

Christ calls all the faithful to full blown sanctity which is embodied in the Beatitudes. This requires God’s elevating grace to bring humanity to Divinization. But humanity is broken and wounded by sin especially in our age with the breakdown of the family and Christian culture. This requires God’s healing grace. This first part of this course will cover the Christian ideals we call the Beatitudes as given to us in the scriptures; the second part of the course will show how living the Beatitudes is the key to true healing in a broken world and a wounded Church. (2 credits)

SPIR 635      Spiritual Direction |  Fr. Boniface Hicks, O.S.B.
Mondays through Fridays: 3:00 – 5:15 pm

This course examines the place and importance of spiritual direction in the Christian spiritual life. It covers the role and limits of psychology and psychological counseling in spiritual development; the qualities that should be found in spiritual directors and those directed; the role of retreats and other religious experiences in spiritual direction; the difference between spiritual formation, spiritual counseling and spiritual direction; the discernment of spirits and vocational discernment; and the various schools of spirituality. It also provides practical advice for the ministry of spiritual direction. (2 credits)

Session II
July 18 – July 29, 2022

SPIR 633      Christian Asceticism | Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem.
Mondays through Fridays: 8:30 – 10:45 am  

This course studies the ascetical life of penance and self-denial and the necessary role it plays in the Christian life of virtue and prayer. It takes as its primary framework the teaching of St. John of the Cross on the purifications the soul must experience to reach Christian perfection. Within that context the ascetical practices of fasting and vigils, custody of the senses and the disciplining of the passions, and the mortification of the intellect, memory, and will are explained. Lastly, the course looks at the passive dark nights the soul must endure to reach union with God, and the power of redemptive suffering. (2 credits)

CONL 701    Theology of the Body |  Dr. Lucy Lu
Mondays through Fridays:
11:00 – 11:45 am: Class with break for lunch
1:30 – 2:45: Class resumes after lunch

This course studies John Paul II’s Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body —his “Wednesday catecheses” on human love—through a reading of the text and a discussion of his panoramic vision of the human person and the body: from Creation before the Original Sin to the final resurrection of the flesh. Drawing from Scripture and lived human experience, John Paul II argues that the purpose of human embodiment is the spousal gift of self. This spousal mystery is expressed in the vocation of the Church as spouse of Christ and in marriage and virginity as states of life in the Church. The course is designed for religious desiring to grow in their total and irrevocable gift of self to God and to others and to be rooted in the nuptial nature of reality. Special emphasis will be made on theological anthropology, sacramentality of marriage, Christian state of life, and the Paschal Mystery.

SPIR 802      Philosophy of Man | Fr. Anselm Rodriguez, O.Praem.
Mondays through Fridays: 3:00 – 5:15 pm

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?”, including man as a composite of body and soul; the unity of the human person; how man differs from angels, brute animals, and machines; the rational, sensitive, and vegetative powers of the human soul; a demonstration of the immortality of the human soul; and special emphasis on the passions. If grace builds upon and perfects nature, we can better understand how grace brings about our spiritual perfection if we grasp the underlying human nature.


 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, Bishop 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:

Additional required documentation is:

  • 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 study and how it might enrich your community;
  • Brief (2-3 paragraph) history of your vocation; and
  • Brief (2-3 paragraph) summary of 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

July 3: VCI Session II attendees may arrive on campus.

July 3: Orientation to be held at 6:30 pm in chapel crypt.

July 4: Classes begin for VCI Session I.

July 15 : Final classes for VCI Session I.

July 17: VCI Session II attendees may arrive on campus.
*Students only attending VCI Session I should be off campus by 10:00 am Saturday, July 16.

July 17: Orientation for VCI II students to be held at 6:30 pm in chapel crypt.

July 18: Classes begin for VCI Session II.

July 29 : Final classes for VCI Session II.

July 30: All attendees must vacate dorms by 10:00 am.  

Cost to Attend

VCI Summer 2022 Rates:

Cost to Attend Single Session (July 4 – July 15, or July 18- July 29)

Enrolled in 1 course

Audit: $984
Credit: $1,566      

Enrolled in 2 courses (recommended)

Audit: $1,236
Credit: $2,400

Enrolled in 3 courses 
Audit: $1,488
Credit: $3,234   

Cost to Attend Both Sessions (July 4 – July 29)

Enrolled in 1 course per session

Audit: $1,918
Credit: $3,082

Enrolled in 2 courses per session(recommended)

Audit: $2,422

Credit: $4,750

Enrolled in 3 courses per session

Audit: $2,926
Credit: $6,418

The cost formula for the above figures is the following: Cost of tuition ($417 per credit/$126 per audit credit) + Room and Board ($682 per session) + one time registration fee ($50).

*Two courses per session is typically a standard course load for the VCI. Students may choose to take 1-3 VCI courses per session, and the number of credit hours would adjust their invoiced rate accordingly. Please note the cost of tuition is a discounted rate for religious attending the VCI: the cost for those not in religious life will be the regular rate ($443 per credit/$168 per audit credit).


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 study. 

Campus Accommodations

Summer study 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 the Graduate School at by June 1st.

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 the Graduate School. 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 June 1. Accommodations after this date cannot be guaranteed as space is limited and housing assignments are made in early June.

Transportation to/from Campus

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.

Shuttle Schedule

I. Shuttle Arrivals: Picks up from Dulles Airport or Vienna Metro Station

Saturday Shuttles Prior to Session Start

  • Shuttle # 1: Pick up at Dulles 2:00 pm; Pickup at Vienna Metro Station 2:30 pm
  • Shuttle #2: Pick up at Dulles 7:00 pm; Pickup at Vienna Metro Station 7:30 pm

Sunday Shuttles Prior to Session Start

  • Shuttle #1: Pick up at Dulles 12:00 pm; Pickup at Vienna Metro Station 12:30 pm
  • Shuttle #2: Pick up at Dulles 5:00 pm; Pickup at Vienna Metro Station 5:30 pm

II. Shuttle Departures: Drops off at Dulles Airport or Vienna Metro Station

Friday Evening Following End of Session

  • Shuttle: Leaves campus 4:00 pm

Saturday Morning Following End of Session

  • Shuttle: Leaves campus at 6:00 am


Please Note:

  • There is no additional charge to students who travel on the shuttles within these time-frames.
  • Requests outside of 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.
  • You MUST contact the transportation office at least 24 hours in advance if you need to cancel you shuttle reservation.
  • For questions about the shuttle services please contact the transportation office at 540-551-9170 .

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 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 Accommodations

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 allergies and dietary are encouraged to disclose these to the Graduate School.

Christendom College is committed to providing safe and healthy dietary accommodations to students with food allergies, food sensitivities, and unique dietary needs. Students are free to navigate the dining Commons themselves, as menus are displayed in each food line listing ingredient information for main allergens.  If a student is ever in doubt about ingredients or allergens in a meal, he should ask our Executive Chef or a Kitchen Staff member.  If the student requires specially prepared meals, the College offers the following dietary accommodations:

  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Nut-free
  • Egg-free
  • Soy-free
  • Shellfish/fish-free

While we make every effort to prepare all allergen-free menu items as safe as possible, we are a facility that uses allergens in other areas of our space, and no kitchen is guaranteed to be completely allergy-free. A  severe allergy, such as anaphylaxis, is not able to be accommodated.

Students with special dietary needs are encouraged to follow this link for more information:

Non-Residential Students

  • Please contact Executive Chef Don Higby in person or by email at (preferably with a week’s notice) 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 $9 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 (July 4 – 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 Chaplain (Fr. Marcus Pollard) is available to  students for any spiritual needs; students can contact him at the rectory (540-622-6128) or by email ( 

    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 studies 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

    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 study (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 study 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 Graduate School 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 scenery. The gym features racquetball 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. 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

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