This Year of Consecrated Life marked the tenth anniversary of Christendom’s Vita Consecrata Institute (VCI), a summer program hosted by Christendom’s graduate school and the Institute on Religious Life. A record seventy-seven religious, priests, and other consecrated persons attended this unique program of spiritual formation and studies in spiritual theology and consecrated life this year, revealing the widespread impact Christendom’s education is having on the religious life.
Many of the participants of this year’s VCI are formation directors or teachers within their orders, as well as founders and directors. Others found their vocation while studying at the VCI on Christendom’s campus, and will now take their education out into the broader world as a result.
Orders such as the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart and the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus have turned to the VCI over the years for formation and guidance in the consecrated life. The VCI is not restricted to participants just from the United States, though —sisters from the Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Vietnam have traveled to Christendom’s Front Royal campus for this intellectually and spiritually enriching program for a number of years.
Beyond the VCI, Christendom’s graduate school also played a role in helping dozens of graduate students to discern religious vocations. Those who attended the graduate school’s residential summer program have had the added advantage of making friends with the religious at the VCI, giving them the opportunity to meet with various orders from across the world and to get to know their distinct charisms.
Recently, Rebecca Jones, a retired US Army colonel and Christendom graduate student entered the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy in Belleville, Illinois.
“My time at Christendom was such a blessing,” Jones said. “Attending the summer program last year and meeting all the religious really helped me to search out and to joyfully accept this call.”
Ryan Dent, a former DRE and Youth minister who attended the graduate summer program for several years, will also now enter formation for the priesthood at Holy Apostles Seminary, for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, SD.
“I owe my vocation to the men and women religious at the summer graduate school and the Vita Consecrata Institute,” said Dent. “Joining them in prayer, hearing their vocation stories, and sharing in common meals and a way of life was instrumental in my discernment to the holy priesthood.”
Dent noted the impact of the graduate school’s summer residency program calling it “a perfect balance of intense academics and a rich spiritual life.”
“You will not find this online, nor at any other Catholic university,” said Dent.
Christendom’s graduate school summer program runs for six weeks every summer, offering courses in dogmatic, moral, and spiritual theology, as well as philosophy, Church history, and catechesis and evangelization, all on Christendom picturesque Front Royal, Va. campus. In addition, the VCI’s intense summer program is also held, with studies available in theology and spiritual renewal for religious, priests, seminarians, and other consecrated persons.
For more information on Christendom’s graduate school offerings, please visit christendom.edu.
This story is taken, in part, from the summer edition of Instaurare, Christendom College’s quarterly magazine. To read more or subscribe, please visit christendom.edu/news/instaurare.