Vita Consecrata Institute

Vita Consecrata Institute (VCI) is a 4-week program of spiritual renewal and graduate-level studies in spirituality and the theology of the consecrated life, for religious, priests, and other consecrated persons. You may attend the whole 4-week program or either of the two-week sessions. Students may take the courses for credit towards a master’s degree or audit the courses for personal enrichment. The VCI is especially recommended for religious preparing for vows or for formation or leadership roles in their institutes.  The VCI is co-sponsored by the Institute on Religious Life and the Christendom Graduate School and is held at Christendom’s beautiful Front Royal campus on the banks of the Shenandoah River.

Summer 2024 Course Offerings

Session I
July 1 – July 12, 2024

SPIR 630 The Spiritual Life / Sr. Albert Marie Surmanski, O.P.
Mondays through Fridays 9:30-11:45 a.m. 

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, selfdenial and asceticism, and charity working through the virtues. It also treats the secondary means to Christian perfection.

SPIR 631 The Sacraments in the Spiritual Life / Msgr. Charles Mangan
Mondays through Fridays 3:00-5:15 p.m.

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.

CONL 722 Angelic Spirituality and Consecrated Life / Fr. William Wagner, ORC
Mondays through Fridays 3:00-5:15 p.m.

This course will study the theology of the angels and their mission in the Church and the world, with special emphasis on developing devotion to the Holy Angels, especially to one’s guardian angel, and an explanation of how the angels serve as models and helpers in living the consecrated life.

Session II
July 15 – July 26, 2024

CONL 802 Psychology in Support of Religious Life / Dr. Mark Glafke
Mondays through Fridays 9:30-11:45 a.m.

An integrative approach to psychology, spirituality, the moral life, and anthropology, this course explores avenues of psychological growth and healing to resolve natural impediments to moral and spiritual flourishing, especially for those in religious life. Topics will include identification of issues in candidate evaluation and challenges often missed during formation, matters of stress, forgiveness, emotional healing, psychological maturity, cultivating healthy relationships, burnout, anger, attachment issues, unhealthy coping strategies, as well as the connections and distinctions between an individual’s psychological, moral, and spiritual growth.

CONL 621 History of the Consecrated Life / Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem.
Mondays through Fridays 3:00-5:15 p.m.

This course presents an historical overview of the development of the consecrated life over the centuries. It will examine the extra biblical sources of consecrated life in the Tradition of the Church. Special emphasis will be given to early monastic and Patristic sources. It is intended to manifest the Apostolic origins of the consecrated life and how it developed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit working through religious founders, saints and the Church’s Magisterium.

SPIR 801 Theology of the Body for Consecrated Persons / Ms. Jennifer Settle, C.V.
Mondays through Fridays 3:00-5:15 p.m.

This course presents the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and consecrated life. It examines the recent magisterial documents on human sexuality and in particular Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body. It also examines the Patristic and Scholastic sources in developing the virtue of chastity and a spirituality of consecrated life. It is intended to show that consecrated celibate life can only be successfully lived when integrated with a life of asceticism and prayer motivated by Divine charity.


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

June 30: VCI Session I attendees may arrive on campus.

June 30: Orientation to be held at 6:30 pm.

July 1: Classes begin for VCI Session I.

July 12 : Final classes for VCI Session I.

July 14: VCI Session II attendees may arrive on campus.
*Students only attending VCI Session I should be off campus by 10:00 am Saturday, July 13.

July 14: Orientation for VCI II students to be held at 6:30 pm.

July 15: Classes begin for VCI Session II.

July 26: Final classes for VCI Session II.

July 27: All attendees must vacate dorms by 10:00 am.  

Cost to Attend

VCI Summer 2024 Rates: 

Cost to Attend Single Session (July 1 – July 12, or July 15 – July 26)

Enrolled in 1 course

Audit: $1055
Credit: $1685   

Enrolled in 2 courses (recommended)

Audit: $1325
Credit: $2585

Cost to Attend Both Sessions (July 3 – July 28)

Enrolled in 1 course per session

Audit: $2060
Credit: $3320

Enrolled in 2 courses per session (recommended)

Audit: $2600

Credit: $5120

The cost formula for the above figures is the following: Cost of tuition ($450 per credit/$135 per audit credit) + Room and Board ($735 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 1-2 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 ($478 per credit/$182 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 you with an idea of what to expect during your residential study.

Campus Accommodations

Summer 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. If you wish to request a particular roommate, please email your request to by June 1st. No roommate requests can be accommodated after June 1.

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 at 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 locked in by early June.

Transportation to/from Campus

Shuttle Service

Christendom College’s 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 following dates and times.

Shuttle Schedule

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

Sunday Shuttles Prior to Program 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

Saturday Shuttles Following End of Program

  • Shuttle #1: Leaves campus 6:00 am; arrives at Dulles 7:15 am; arrives at Vienna Metro 8:00 a.m.
  • Shuttle #2: Leaves campus 10:00 am; arrives at Dulles 11:15 am; arrives at Vienna Metro at 12:00 pm.


    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 your 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 exactly at the specified time. For this reason, it is very important that the transportation office has a way to contact you. Please be sure to provide 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 restrictions 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 $10 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 1 – July 26), an additional morning Mass will be celebrated, along with daily Liturgy of the Hours and Exposition 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 graduate 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.

      Summer students also have access to the smaller St. Paul Library, located inside of the Graduate School in St. Martha’s Hall. This smaller library collection has many excellent resources which are particularly suitable for graduate-level research in philosophy and theology.

      Students taking summer classes are able to check out books from the library and use available spaces for quiet study.  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 court 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 2 multi-use machines
      • Fitness and cardio room equipped with treadmills, elliptical, 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?
      Students may arrive on the Sunday prior to the start of their session. Orientation will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

      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 Graduate School so that parking and food services may be appropriately arranged. Non-resident students should still 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 it 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 there to do 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. Summer students who wish to spend some time on the river are also welcome to make use of the College’s canoes and kayaks. The Crusader Gymnasium is an excellent facility for exercise and recreation—including basketball/volleyball courts, racquetball courts, fitness room and weight room. 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 contact the kitchen (

      7. When is the last day to reserve my space on campus? 
      While commuting students can sign up for classes up until the day when class begins, residential students must sign up by May 31.

      8. Can I take my summer classes partially online and partially on-campus?
      While we strongly encourage in-person participation as much as possible, there is a great deal of flexibility in the way that you engage with your summer courses. All onsite summer theology classes (not including Vita Consecrata courses or classical language courses) are live-streamed to allow distance students to participate in real time. The recordings of these live classes will be available to all students once they are posted in Populi. Further, our 13-week online summer term offers asynchronous pre-recorded versions of all the same courses that will be offered on campus during the six-week term.

      9. Is there a dress code?
      There is no requirement for professional dress during classes, but we do ask that shorts aren’t worn to Mass or other liturgical celebrations. 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.

      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 during open hours.

      Contact Us

      (703) 658 4304

      134 Christendom Drive, Front Royal, VA 22630

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