Formative, Faithful, and Classical Liberal Arts Education
The college’s first concern is the preparation of students for a life that will lead them to heaven:
The Collegium exists to “cooperate with divine grace in forming the true and perfect Christian, that is, to form Christ Himself.” (Pope Pius XI, Divini Illius Magistri). To achieve this proper end, the Collegium assists the family and the Church in guiding the souls committed to its care toward the purpose for which God created them: to know, to love, and to serve Him,* so that they might share His everlasting happiness in heaven.**
The college, then, is as concerned about formation as it is about information. Thus, the residential aspect of the college is critical. The residential component of the college constitutes a program of prayer, centered on the traditional Latin Mass*** and parts of the Divine Office, work, study, and recreation. The formation is essentially contemplative in nature, to which the traditional forms of prayer are more naturally aligned. (This also serves the needs of traditional Catholics, for whom there is currently no college devoted to such a traditionally oriented formation.) In addition, a contemplative-oriented formation offers an excellent preparation for a life that continues to be anchored in prayer and work performed in the service of God, regardless of whether that life is active or contemplative, religious or secular.
The formative components of the college program are described as follows:
Lauds and Vespers are sung daily in the traditional Benedictine manner. All students are taught the requisite Latin and psalmody for singing these Offices. Mass is sung in the extraordinary form.
The Collegium has an auxiliary enterprise, a corporate internship program, that helps to support the college. All students work in this program, for the spiritual benefits of work, to give them work experience, and to help offset the heavily discounted price. See some of the internship possibilities here.
Students take five courses each semester. These courses are carefully planned and designed as part of an integrated liberal arts curriculum. The curriculum is discussed in more detail below.
There is time daily for hobbies, exercise, activities, sports or however students wish to spend this free time. The college does not participate in inter-collegiate sports, but intramural sports are organized according to the inclinations and motivation of the students.
In sum ...
The college provides a formation in Catholic living oriented toward the attainment of heaven through regular prayer (including Mass and parts of the Divine Office), opportunities for every student to work in support of the mission of the college, an integrated liberal arts curriculum, and, co-curricular activities that will support intellectual inquiry, spiritual formation, and moral discernment. The college’s fully integrated program also gives students knowledge and skills that can be applied to numerous vocations and professions. Finally, the college also provides a faculty/staff that is committed to providing exemplary models of Catholic living. Every member of the faculty and staff at the college is a practicing Catholic in full communion with the Church of Rome, is fully supportive of the purposes of the Collegium, and has signed the Collegium’s pledge of fidelity to the magisterium of the Catholic Church and its oath rejecting the philosophy of Modernism.
* “Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth; where the rust and moth consume and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven; where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
** “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9)
*** As the Collegium opens, the extraordinary form of the Mass will be available on Sundays, Mondays, first Saturdays, Holy Days of Obligation and major feast days. As circumstances permit, the Collegium hopes and intends to offer this Mass on a daily basis, but no particular time line can be offered at the present time.
Integration and Coherence
While the courses of the curriculum are taught separately, they are all coordinated to develop an understanding of Western society as developed and nurtured by the Catholic Church through her theology, philosophy, history, literature, music, art, scientific developments, and liturgical practice.**** Course syllabi are developed within a collaborative atmosphere among the faculty. Material from one course may be referenced and reinforced in any of the other courses.
The courses are also taught within a coherent conceptual model. Emphasis is given first to the Trivium subjects, in which the principals of thinking, learning, clear expression, and problem solving are engaged. Students then apply these principals in the physical and natural sciences, those areas of exploration that are visibly evident. Finally, they apply these principals to philosophy and theology, subjects that are as real as the natural and physical sciences, but not as visibly evident.
In addition, our science and math courses are taught with the philosophical, spiritual and moral foundations requisite for a full understanding of these subjects and their role in the search for Truth.
Music is a particularly integral and distinctive feature of the curriculum. The daily Offices (Lauds, Vespers, and Compline) are sung by the entire student body and faculty. The college’s Mass (extraordinary form) is a high Mass. There is also a schola that sings the more complex chants and a choir that sings from the treasury of the Church’s sacred polyphony. Students with musical training will have opportunities to further their studies (at additional cost) and to use their skills in the service of the liturgy.
Liberal Arts Focus
Unapologetically focused on the liberal arts, the college’s curriculum is foundational to the college’s mission to impart the knowledge of God, that He might be loved and served in this world.***** Three/fourths of the college’s curriculum constitutes a set, integrated curriculum of Theology, Philosophy, History, English/Literature/Logic/Rhetoric, Latin, Science, and Music and Art. The curriculum functions as a cohesive course of study on its own and as a substantive foundation for specialized study in numerous disciplines.
All students take the same curriculum, which is outlined here.
****See Thomas E. Woods, Jr., How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2005), also Edward Schaefer, Catholic Music Through the Ages (Mundelein, IL: Hillenbrand Books, 2008).
*****“He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is charity.” (1 John 4:8