Student Profile

Emily Gary

Age: 19
Year: Freshman
From: Sugar Land, Texas
Major: probably Philosophy
Hobbies: painting/drawing, photography, visiting Jesus in the chapel, eating cereal, and spending time with my mom when I’m home. smile
What’s your favorite class or professor? Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine with Prof. Raymund O’Herron and Philosophy of Human Nature with Dr. John Cuddeback. Prof. O’Herron is so funny, and he really loves his students, and Dr. Cuddeback always presents the material in a profound and thought-provoking way.
What extra curricular activities do you participate in? I enjoy going to the different events put on by the Student Activities Council, and I enjoy the opportunities the Chaplaincy offers for growing in my prayer life. I also have fun going to/hosting movie nights, tea parties, and nail painting parties with friends in my dorm.
What’s your favorite thing about Christendom?  My favorite thing about Christendom is the frequent availability of the sacraments and the Catholic atmosphere of the school in general. It’s refreshing to be able to make friends so quickly who already share the Catholic faith.
Why did you choose Christendom? In choosing a college, I was worried about having atheistic professors who would try to undermine my faith. I wanted a college where I could be free to learn anything and be assured that it was under the guidance of the Magisterium. I also wanted a college where I could grow in the spiritual life, not regress in it. So, after attending a summer program, I realized Christendom was the college I was looking for.
What surprised you the most about Christendom? I was very surprised at how the classes overlap with each other. We can be learning about a principle in philosophy, and that same principle is a central theme in the book we’re reading in literature class.
Plans after graduation? I hope to pursue something in the field of art—whether that be painting, photography, or videography. I’m excited to impact the world through beauty!
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student? If you live far away from Christendom, don’t let the distance keep you from coming. Christendom is truly one of a kind. Ask for God’s guidance and He will lead you where He wants you!

Student Life

"Good" Pope John XXIII

Last Wednesday Assistant Professor of History, Dr. Christopher Shannon, gave a talk on Pope John XXIII in honor of the Pope’s approaching canonization. He explored why John XXIII is often referred to as the “good” Pope, as opposed to John Paul II’s “great” title, and how John XXIII was radically different in the best way for his times. Shanon outlined the historic backdrop, which was necessary to fully understand why the pope acted and spoke the way he did. Dr. Shannon also explored the ways the now St. John XXIII’s childhood helped foster a strong faith within him, one which not only formed him as a good person, but also as an exemplary Catholic. After the talk ended, the students and faculty in attendance asked many questions and continued discussing the Pope’s virtues in light of the information they had learned. This talk was part of the series of events held throughout last week in honor of the two Popes’ approaching canonizations.

Freshman Olivia Musilli and Max Van Hecke smile at Dr. Shannon's description of the Pope.

iTunes U


Ballroom Dancing!

On Friday evening, April 25, an evening of ballroom dancing took place in the St. Lawrence Commons as part of a special presentation of Swing ’n Sundaes. Professional dancer and alumnus Greg Monroe gave students the opportunity to learn how to waltz, tango, and dance other forms of ballroom dancing. This chance to learn some new dance moves came at a perfect time, with the big Spring Formal dance this coming weekend! 

“I was so glad that I went to the ballroom dancing event on Friday,” said freshman Rosie McNeely. “I learned a lot of fun and elegant dances, and I especially loved the waltz.”

Alumnus Greg Monroe and sophomore Catherine McFadden demonstrate a new dance.

The couples spun around the room in a circle!

Everyone enjoyed keeping up with each other as best they could!

Lining up to learn how to tango!

Everyone moved at the same speed the whole evening.


Field Trip to the Blessed JPII Shrine

As part of the week-long preparations for the double canonization of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII, Christendom College chaplain Fr. Planty led a Faith-Filled Fun Field Trip to the Blessed John Paul II shrine in Washington D.C.

On Saturday morning, students climbed into vans and headed into the city to see the shrine devoted to the Church’s newest saint. It was an experience enjoyed by all and the perfect way to learn about and honor St. John Paul II.

Fr. Planty and some students tour the Blessed John Paul II shrine.


Spring Mega Shield

Christendom College held its semi-annual Mega-Shield event this past Saturday morning, April 26. Mega-Shield is a prayerful protest in front of the Planned Parenthood in Washington, D. C. that tries to get as many students involved as possible in the hopes of making a larger impact. It is organized by Shield of Roses, which is Christendom’s pro-life student group, as well as oldest student-run group, that prays in front of the clinic every week.

Although it was a very busy weekend, around 40 Christendom students still made it all the way out to our nation’s capital to prayerfully protest abortion this past weekend. The Planned Parenthood, anticipating Christendom’s arrival, tried to deter the students from protesting by arranging for their landscapers to come work in front of the clinic that same morning. Undaunted, however, Christendom students spread out along the sidewalk and across the street, praying four rosaries and holding pro-life signs as witnesses to the sanctity of human life. In addition, several student sidewalk counselors were present to help in whatever way possible, having been trained how to appropriately act and talk to people in need of help.

"I am always really proud of Christendom when I go to Shield and see so many Christendom students there defending life," said junior Joe Walsh. "I like to help the pro-life cause, personally, by sidewalk counseling."

Christendom students lined the sidewalks as a silent, prayerful protest against abortion.

Unable to stand in front of Planned Parenthood, students stood in prayer across the street.

Standing across from the landscapers in front of the Planned Parenthood.


Easter Lawn Soiree

Continuing the celebration of the octave of Easter, the Student Activities Council planned a fun afternoon on Saturday, April 26, for students to dress up in their Sunday attire and play old-fashioned lawn games on the lawn in front of the Commons and the Christ the King Chapel. Students enjoyed the beautiful weather and played such games as croquet, badminton, and horseshoes. Snacks and light refreshments were served, and mimosas were available for those over 21.

Students enjoying the nice weather and a game of croquet.

Caitlin Bowers, Director of Students Activities, plays an intense game of horseshoes.


Watching the Canonizations

Christendom students were up before the crack of dawn to watch the double canonizations of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII. A projector was set up in Crusader gym, and despite the fact that the canonization started at 4:00 am, a large crowd of excited people showed up in pajamas and blankets to witness the live simulcast of this historic event. Despite the early hour, everyone was in great spirits as they watched the canonization Mass and enjoyed the breakfast of donuts, coffee, and orange juice.

Students fortify themselves with some early-morning donuts.

Everyone eagerly watches the canonization proceedings.

Rome Report

with Philip Gilbert

Canonizations and Arrivederci


This last Sunday, Christendom's Rome students attended the Papal Mass at the Vatican and welcomed Popes John Paul II and John XXIII to the Canon of Saints. This is, however, a dramatic simplification of the event.

For many of us, the experience started much mid-day Saturday, when we began taking turns staking out our spot close to where we had been told the gates would open a few hours before the canonization. That evening, when I went to join my classmates in the intersection where they were camped out I found that not only finding them, but getting to them would be quite a task. When we attempted to go down a side street, we ourselves completely blocked by a mass of people laying on the cobblestones in such a way that there was absolutely no room to step between them. We finally managed to backtrack and get off the side street, since we had gotten stuck in the slowly moving single-file line moving down a narrow path along the sidewalk and back.

We went to the next street, but our trek to the intersection where we were trying to reach reached a similar impasse. However, this time, when we attempted to withdraw and approach a different front, I found myself impossibly separated from my classmates by a pack of resolute nuns dead-set on being the first ones in “line.”

A false-alarm caused the thousand or so people in the intersection to stand up and crush against the barrier, I took advantage of the small bit space that briefly opened up, and I managed to get a fair distance closer to where I hoped my friends were.

Where pilgrims had previously been sitting and lying down in the square, they were now standing, and so hundreds of pilgrims from farther away filled in the gap, and everyone became locked into place. As everyone settled into their places, comfortable or not, I noticed the group of my classmates about twenty feet away from me. The sight of my friends excited me, but try as I did, I could not get any closer to them.  A woman was sitting on my feat and using my knees as a backrest, and I was hopelessly locked between some Brazilians and Germans. Shortly after that, the barriers opened five hours earlier than normal and the sea of people flooded onto Via Conciliazione leading straight to Saint Peter's.

Though I reached the Christendom group, it was soon broken up into four or five groups amongst the ebb and flow of crowd. Every once in a while there would be a surge and we would advance anywhere from four steps to a surprisingly decent distance. As this pattern continued, we found people we knew and lost them again, and by the beginning of the liturgy, each group of us had reached a different place, and our experiences were various.

Regardless of these differences, we all found it incredible to share the experience with pilgrims from every corner of the world. Before coming to Rome, I would jokingly say that Poland was going to pay a visit to Rome for the canonization, but I didn't realize how true it was until I realized that there were more Polish flags in the crowd of pilgrims than I had seen during my weekend in Krakow. It was incredible to see the zeal of the Poles and their love for their native pope.  I remember reading the newspaper headlines announcing JPII's death, and so it's incredible to know that I was alive at the same time as someone who is now a saint. Perhaps most incredible is though when I watch the news footage of the event I cannot pick my face out of the crowd of millions of assembled pilgrims, it is amazing to know that we were there, and to say that we heard Pope Francis give the solemn pronouncement: “We declare and define blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be saints... decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church.”

As I write this final issue of the Rome Report, my classmates and I have less than 48 hours together in the Eternal City. As we come to the closing of our time, some are going through the city trying to see the couple churches or other sites that they haven't yet gotten the chance to visit, while others enjoy our last chance to hang out and relax together in Italy. With the previous day's completion of our final exams, came the realization that we are done with our junior year of college—ready now for out senior year and beyond. 

Having the opportunity to live in Rome has been unimaginably incredible, and we've gotten to do and see so many things that many other people have dreams of but never get to experience. And so, we are grateful for the opportunity, as it will be something that we treasure forever. For three months we've been sharing incredible, amazing moments with our closest friends, and we've been seeing countless unbelievable things together, and so we hesitate at the thought of leaving.

At the same time, it is with excitement that we pack for home. As wonderful as Italy and its culture is, we've grown to miss and appreciate all things American, and so we look forward to things such as pickup trucks, hamburgers, and the English language.

Thus, with bittersweet feelings we prepare to leave, and with that I shall conclude by saying arivederci, Roma!


Thousands of pilgrims set up camps in the parks and the streets of Rome.

Elizabeth Slaten stakes out her spot on the Via della Conciliazione.

Via della Conciliazione packed with pilgrims.

At the edge of the square.

Pope St. John Paul the Great, pray for us!

Christendom College Junior Semester in Rome Spring 2014


Crusader Sports Center

Crusaders Defeat Alumni in Soccer Games on New Fields

A new tradition began this past Sunday with the first ever alumni soccer games on the newly opened Crusader Fields. The crusaders welcomed back alumni and past teammates in two friendly, but competitive games. The ladies played the first game, followed by the men.

“It is something we have been hoping to do for quite some time,” said Athletic Director Chris Vander Woude. “With the new fields completed I wanted to give this year’s seniors an opportunity to play on them as well as bring back the alumni so they can see what their hard work and patience has enabled.”

There was no shortage of excitement on the field as familiar faces battled it out in a close game from start to finish. The Alumni women’s team was coached by former head coach, Matt Nelson and led by sisters, Courtney and Theresa Nelson.  They fielded a team of players several of whom won second place in the 2008 USCAA National Tournament in Burlington, VT during their time at Christendom, including Mary Kate Vander Woude and Mairin Vieira. They faced a strong squad in the current varsity team coached by Professor Mark Wunsch and led by captain, Klarissa Blank.  It was great matchup right from the kickoff, with both teams putting up a strong fight. Late in the second half, Senior Klarissa Blank found the back of the net to put the Lady Crusaders up 2-1 and secure the win for the young blood.

“It was a really fun game and great opportunity to come back to campus and play on the new fields,” said alumnus Theresa Nelson. “I hope this becomes an annual event.”

After that, the men kicked off an intense matchup between the alumni led by starting goalkeeper and Ben McMahon and Ryan Doughty, and the current team led by seniors Jonathan Fioramonti, Johnny Foeckler, and Tim Vander Woude. With a plethora of talent and experience on both sides the game proved a tough contest from start to finish.  In the first half, the current team struck first when freshman Stephen Foeckler found sophomore Pat Audino with a through ball that Audino shot past McMahon. For periods of time, the spotlight was stolen by the goalies of both teams with some amazing saves including a one-on-one shutdown by Ben McMahon, and a full length dive by Tim Vander Woude to stop a laser from Ryan Doughty. 

“I saw Ryan lining it up and knew it was gonna be a rocket, if I was a couple of inches shorter I think that it would have been a goal,” noted Vander Woude.

Before the end of the first half, freshman Joey Kuplack scored a goal from an impossible angle after a deflection off of alumni sweeper Michael Bugin. The alumni team opened the second half with a beauty of a goal scored by Ted Cantu after Nicholas Blank set him up with the crucial pass inside the eighteen.  With momentum swinging back to the “old men” the current team regained possession and found Kuplack for two more goals and to complete his hat trick and to give the Current team the win at 4-1.  Despite the 3 goal difference, the game was a very close one, and both teams showed that they had come to play.

At the end of each game both teams gathered to complete the day with the traditional singing of the "Non Nobis Domine," a tradition begun under Coach Tom Vander Woude that remains today.

"It was a real example of comradeship and proved that we were all playing for the same reason and proud to be Crusaders,” Senior Klarissa Blank said.


more pics on picasa



Special Report

Men's Residence Halls

The Men’s Residence Halls at Christendom College are sources of fun and fellowship. The three on-campus halls are located by the main campus entrance, across the street from the Student Center and St. Killian’s Café. St. Benedict Hall, the largest of the three, houses 75 men and is positioned between the two smaller halls, named after St. Francis and St. Joseph. St. Benedict’s is known for its vibrant sense of community, made apparent by the amount of guys who spend time talking, hanging out, and goofing off together in the common rooms on each floor daily.

Freshman Robert Gripshover lives on the top floor of St. Benedict’s and shared that he really enjoys the brotherly atmosphere in the common room every night:

“It’s really cool, you’ll come up to your room and there will be guys wrestling, talking, or studying together. It’s a lot of fun, but when it comes down to it, if you’re going through a tough time and need help or support, they’re always there for you.”

St. Francis and St. Joseph Halls both feature full bathrooms in every room. For guys with special dietary needs, or for upperclassmen with a desire to have a more quiet space to study, there are three off-campus dorms that are right across the street from the campus, enabling them to have the accommodations they need without being totally removed from campus life. The off-campus dorms are named after St. Dominic, St. Augustine, and St. Pius, and though they are smaller they still provide a close-knit community life that provides support and amusement for the residents.

Check out the video below:


Tom McFaddenAsk the Director

Q. I was wondering about the financial aid statement on your website, which says that some student loans can be deferred for lay apostolic work and missionary work. Can the same amount of debt be paid off for missionary workers as for those entering the priesthood/religious life? What kinds of missionary or apostolic work and how many years of it can qualify someone for debt forgiveness, and how much debt can missionaries expect to be paid off?

A. Here's the deal.

If a student gets loans from Christendom, and then they decide to pursue a vocation and enter a house of formation or seminary (for an order that takes a vow of poverty), then they do not need to pay back their loans, and no interest accrues during that time. If they end up saying final vows or getting ordained, the debt is completely forgiven and erased. If they end up coming out and choosing to not join a religious order that takes a vow of poverty, then they have to start paying back the loan.

We are able to do this because we do not take Federal funds and when our students get loans, they get them from us (the money comes from our generous donors rather than Uncle Obama and taxpayers), and that is why we are able to forgive the debt in this manner.

If someone ends up deciding to do some type of apostolic/missionary work after graduation, they can take up to three years of not paying anything back toward their loans, and during this time, no interest accrues either. This applies to people who go to graduate school as well. People can pay money back during these three years, and any money they pay back will have not accrued any interest. So, after three years of paying the loan down, whatever amount is left will be the amount that interest is computed on.

Only those entering religious life or priesthood who take a vow of poverty can be forgiven of their debt. Someone can work for a Catholic apostolate, such as Christendom or a Catholic school or parish or pro-life group, or they can actually do missionary work oversees or in the US. Basically, the group has to be recognized as a Catholic apostolate by the Catholic Church.

God bless,




Issue 4/30/2014