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At the end of every Christendom rugby game, the players sing the prayer “Non Nobis, Domine,” which translates as “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory.” That prayer changed the course of Charles Smith’s life.

Charles Smith’s first interaction with Christendom College was on the losing end of a rugby match. Smith, along with his teammates, had just been defeated by Christendom’s rugby team, but something stopped him after the game. He heard the team praying in Latin — a moment that would impact him in ways he never expected at the time. A few years later, Smith is now finishing his first semester at Christendom after transferring into the college this spring, finding a new community where he is growing in intellect, camaraderie, and faith. 

Smith was born in Albany, New York, before moving to Richmond, Virginia, with his family 17 years ago. When it came time for college, Smith ultimately settled on a nearby school for his studies in 2019, joining the school’s rugby team as well. COVID-19 changed everything for Smith, however — he ultimately dropped out of the school and switched to an online program at a different school so that he could work full-time while obtaining his degree.

Soon enough, the school’s biases against Smith’s Catholic values began to creep in, and he found himself in a position where he felt he needed to “bite his tongue or get into trouble.” Then, one day, instead of going to class, he felt the pull to go to Mass — for the first time in three years.

“My father died a few months prior to beginning college, and so while I never ceased in professing the Catholic faith, I stopped living out the Faith,” recalls Smith. “I then began attending Mass at least three times a week, praying that I may discern the path to which Christ was calling me.”

As he prayed for discernment, Smith remembered Christendom’s rugby team and how they prayed following their game. Soon enough, Smith began researching Christendom, ultimately deciding that it would profess the values that he was so passionate about, support him as he re-grounded himself in the Catholic faith, and provide him with a quality liberal arts education. In the fall of 2022, Smith decided to apply for transfer to Christendom in the spring of 2023. By December, he had the answer he was hoping for.

Charles Smith transferred to Christendom because he saw the school as the ideal place that he could grow in his faith while pursuing the truth in his studies.

Charles Smith transferred to Christendom because he saw the school as the ideal place that he could grow in his faith while pursuing the truth in his studies.

The Catholic faith that is at the center of everything at the college attracted Smith, but the liberal arts education did as well. For him, a liberal arts education is the ideal education to form well-rounded individuals, providing one with the skillset necessary to succeed in any vocational calling.

“A liberal arts education has always been my preference, as it forms well-rounded individuals,” says Smith. “It teaches one how to think critically, speak articulately, and write effectively. My last college was based in the liberal arts tradition, but it was missing Christ as the foundation. With Christ as the bedrock at Christendom, the liberal arts atmosphere has been truly elevated with an orientation to what is most meaningful in life.”

Smith intends on majoring in Political Science and Economics at Christendom, using it as a springboard into his hope of attending law school after earning his bachelor’s from Christendom. From there, he hopes to start his own general practice law firm and potentially move into the political sphere — aiding in the college’s motto of “restoring all things in Christ.”

In addition to the faith and the education, the community life is impacting Smith for the better as well following his transfer. Immediately upon arriving in January, he felt something he had been lacking all along: a tight-knit community that supported and encouraged him in the pursuit of virtue.

“Since coming to Christendom, I have been welcomed into a tight-knit Catholic community unlike any other,” says Smith. “Professors and students alike are serious about the Catholic faith and the pursuit of knowledge. The events and activities offered such as the dances, the debate society, and others are all wholesome and fruitful. The overall atmosphere is conducive to growing in faith, intellect, and camaraderie — honestly, Christendom is all that I imagined and then some.”

At the end of every Christendom rugby game, the players sing the prayer “Non Nobis, Domine,” which translates as “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory.” That prayer changed the course of Smith’s life. Today, he is striving to give glory to God within a community that feels the same, pursuing the true, the good, and the beautiful both in and outside the classroom.

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