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Testimonies | BWE


Quotes from Past Participants of the Best Week Ever

It was honestly one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. The Catholic culture that surrounds Christendom is something that I didn’t even know I needed until I experienced it, and it truly changed me. I have never been surrounded by so many other kids who have such a strong faith and actually live their lives as a Catholic should, and it definitely changed me. I currently go to a Catholic high school, but the culture of the students is not the most Catholic place, so being at Christendom, just for this one week, gave me lots of hope for the future of the church and my own future as I learn to grow in my faith. This week really sparked something in my heart and gave me a push to never give up in a time when I honestly didn’t even realize how much I was struggling. The experience I got at Christendom is something that I will never forget. — Annalise T., Louisiana

I can truthfully say this was the best week ever because of the huge impact it had on me and my life. I didn’t really want to go to the program, but I went because I thought it may be a way to experience college life. Even though I didn’t want to go, the second I arrived I knew I made the right choice. When I began unpacking my clothes and settling in, and I could tell the atmosphere at the program was amazing. My roommate Charlie walked into my room, and the first thing he did was yell very loudly, “Looks like we’re going to be rooming!” That small remark really set the tone for the rest of the week for me. No matter what we were doing, or where we were, there was always great happiness and excitement among the people there. I also grew in the spiritual sense from many activities offered at the program, mainly the Adoration and confession each day. It was a blessing to have a chunk of time that allowed us to sit with the Lord, and also to go to confession. I also want to thank the program counselors because they made the program awesome. They were always there for the students. No matter how small or large the favor, they were always very helpful. They are great role models. — Roger S., New Hampshire

Christendom’s Best Week Ever program changed my life. I mean that, honestly and truly. Living in Boston, Massachusetts, I’d reached a tipping point about a week before coming to the program. I was getting dragged into the secular culture at an astonishing rate, and my head was going under. For the first time in my life, I was questioning the truth of my faith, morality, the Catholic Church, and God Himself. I felt like I had to choose between succumbing to my passions and positions contrary to Church teaching, or being labeled a bigot and keeping the faith. Christendom saved me. The people there unknowingly pulled me up out of the muck and sent me off with even stronger convictions and a will to live faithfully, to dare to be great, than ever before. And for that, I owe you my sincerest gratitude. The counselors were some of the kindest, funniest, and most godly people I’ve ever met. Their deep devotion to Christ and their sense of purpose were so clear; their faith and love shined through their smiles, their friendly jokes, their stories, and their hugs. They showed me what it means to be a follower of Christ in today’s world, and rekindled my hopes that there are perfectly normal, happy, and unapologetically Catholic kids out there. I have aspired to be like them ever since. All the BWE activities, from classes (I loved the teachers!) to games (what fun) to debates (a unique event), made for a thoroughly wonderful time. I enjoyed the atmosphere of mealtimes (not to mention the delicious food!) because there I could bond with many in our group. And the kind of respect and friendship cultivated in those traditional dances we participated in are so lacking nowadays. The convenient abundance of sacraments as part of daily life there was also an amazing blessing. I know I made lifelong friends at Christendom, and that is why I cannot wait to go back – perhaps permanently, as a college freshman! — Liana W., Massachusetts

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how life-changing it would be. The growth in my faith has been exponential since I have left the program, and all of the Masses, adorations, and rosaries we prayed while there have inspired me to continue to attend daily Mass and pray more often. — Ryan M., Virginia

I attended the Best Week Ever program this summer. This was really and truly the best week of my entire life! I had heard that it was amazing and transforming, but after experiencing it I am in awe as all my high expectations were exceeded. In this short amount of time, I have made closer friends than ever and made great leaps in my spiritual life. In addition to the amazing faith life and classes, this program showed me how to have real wholesome fun. The amazing counselors were able to bring out the best in everyone so we could have a wonderfully fun and transforming experience. This is something that I will never forget and I am so grateful to everyone who made it possible for me to go. — Monica K., New York

It has been three weeks since the Best Week Ever, and I still fondly look back on the memories of Christendom. Never in my life would I have thought that I could ever be convinced to consider a small, Catholic, liberal arts school. But it has risen to the top of my college list, and it’s not really even close. Being surrounded by like-minded, interesting, Catholic young men and women was a surreal experience, and a feeling I would like to potentially spend four years living. — Noah L., Arizona

My week at Christendom was undoubtedly one of the best in my life because of the way it immersed me in an authentic Catholic community. As I think back on the week, there are three things I am most grateful for: the joy I found in the community, the loving care of the professors, and the emphasis on daily Mass and adoration. I am so grateful I was able to be a part of a community of students who were taking their education and development as persons seriously. The integrity and joy I found in the people I met during the week were amazing! One of the things about my week at Christendom which really made me appreciate Christendom more as a school was the loving dedication that the professors showed to all of the students. Within the classroom, the professors were so engaging and their love for their subjects was so apparent, but I was especially struck by the way they became like a second set of parents, inviting us into their homes (or barns) to dance, sing, and pray together, staying after class to discuss questions we had, and even giving us a break in the middle of class to give us a delicious recipe for caramelized bacon! Finally, I was especially impacted by the way the sacraments were incorporated into the day. Having adoration and Mass every day was so wonderful, and motivated me, after I came home, to be more intentional about going to daily Mass more frequently. I will never forget what an amazing experience I had! — Maria S., Ohio

I absolutely loved the week I spent there. When I first heard about Christendom almost three years ago, I knew that I wanted to attend the college. I went into this week with only one critique. I was so hung up on how odd the name was. I thought that “Best Week Ever” sounded like something from an advertisement. After the first two days, I realized that there simply was no other way to describe the experience. I will definitely be coming back, so thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity! — Lillian W., Florida

I think this summer program is a really awesome week to not only experience Christendom but to also grow as a person. I can say personally the program not only helped me get ready for college but also formed me as a person. I think the best way for me to sum up the week was what some of us guys were telling each other as we said goodbye, “Be a Saint!” — Luke R., Georgia

I arrived thinking I would have fun but that Christendom wasn’t for me. Encouraged by Mr. Phillips, I changed my perspective at the beginning and went in open-minded—and I was sold by Tuesday. It truly WAS the best week, and I’ve never enjoyed myself more with a group of teenagers as I have at this program. The Best Week Ever instilled in me the inspiration to truly “dare to be great”—to learn and study and grow in our friendships so that we may bring more to the Catholic Faith. I certainly plan to apply and I hope to be there next year! — Tess B., Georgia

This past week was my first exposure to Christendom College, and I had a wonderful time! The authentically Catholic culture I experienced at Christendom is something so rare in today’s world. I particularly enjoyed the atmosphere in the classrooms. I was taught by professors who truly cared about the material they were teaching, and they cared about the students they were teaching. I also appreciated the staff’s presence at daily Mass. The environment at Christendom College is one representative of what it means to truly live according to our Catholic faith. It was so beautiful to witness! I was also appreciative of the emphasis on the proper role of men and women in society. Our culture has cast aside these differences, to a point where the roles have almost completely changed. It is clear that it is Christendom’s mission to preserve the proper roles of men and women given to us by our Heavenly Father. My week at Christendom helped strengthen my relationship with Christ through daily Mass and adoration. The reverence of the counselors and staff around me was very inspiring! I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the summer program, and I would encourage anyone to attend, regardless of their interest in the college. This week has taught me valuable lessons that I hope to implement into my everyday actions. I am grateful for the counselors, professors, and staff who have made this week possible! It truly was the best week ever! — Nora R., Oklahoma

I not only was introduced to a wonderful college but grew as an individual through the friendships I made and most importantly the faith formation I received. It truly was the Best Week Ever! — Paulina G., Virginia

I had an amazing time at the summer program. I came into it hardly knowing anything about Christendom and didn’t have too much interest in attending it for college. But throughout the week, I fell in love with Christendom. It has a wonderful community filled with many amazing people, great teachers teaching great things, fun activities, and a wonderful prayer life! This week changed my life. — Gabrielle C., Ohio

All of us had a great time. The counselors were awesome! The way they all fit together perfectly was great. At first, I wasn’t so thrilled with learning how to dance, but at the end of the week, it was one of the things I looked forward to most. The week was crammed full of activities and at the end of the day, one of the things I looked forward to was getting to know the people I bunked with! Everyone there was so cool. We still keep in touch and it is an experience I’ll never forget. — Elijah F., Oklahoma

Christendom gave me a sort of brand new slate to start off on. I think the week really gave everyone a chance to really be themselves and not worry about fitting into the general idea of how people think of you at home. I made wonderful connections and really enjoyed all of the bonding with the students. The classes were amazing (philosophy became a new favorite of mine), and the teachers were even more so. Throughout the course of the week, I found myself always thinking about the topics in conversations or from classes. It was just a pleasant, stream-of-consciousness that had me constantly thinking about life, my interests, and those around me. Overall, it was most certainly one of the best weeks ever. — Abigail L., Florida

My son attended the 4th session of The Best Week Ever. We were pleasantly surprised by the affordability of this summer program for all the benefits it offered with room and board and we didn’t know what else at the time. Since he has come home, I can’t even explain what a life-changing experience this has been for him. He is on fire with his faith. He has already made a trip to Virginia to visit some of his new friends. He wants to attend Christendom and experience this in the next phase of his life. I have talked to him about not wanting to go somewhere with this excitement, but to share it here in his current high school. It has opened his eyes to the opportunities that his Catholic school has offered that he might have overlooked before. He is in contact with group leaders at school and is planning to be an active part and take some leadership roles in these groups. The groups are not what I would describe as thriving. I hope that Kyle can keep up his mission to make them more successful. What a great example of a Catholic community Christendom showed our son, and through his experience, also showed our family. Thank you for that hope and inspiration to make things better where we are and to try to achieve the devotion that Kyle saw and describes to others. Your gifts are multiplying and we are forever grateful. — Mr. and Mrs. B., Parents of a Session 4 participant, Kentucky

When I was first trying to find my college, Christendom wasn’t even on my list– not because I didn’t want to go there (I did), but because it was a liberal arts college (and who can actually get into medical school with a liberal arts degree?). But then came the Best Week Ever. The people were amazing, the classes were fantastic (especially philosophy! I nearly forgot to eat lunch a few times because I was pestering the professor with questions), the activities were a blast (my hands felt like a phone left on vibrate, but I actually spoke in the debate!!), and the whole place felt like it was Catholic because it wanted to be, and not just because it happened to be. After speaking to the advisors there, my reservations about a liberal arts degree were blown to pieces– I’m convinced their program will make me a better human and doctor. It all sounded so perfect that I actually had to ask one of the advisors to tell me why I shouldn’t go there! She did her best, but it was too late. I was more and more certain that God meant for me to be there. Before the Best Week Ever, I had been determined not to go to Christendom. And now… well, I’m applying as soon as I can. I want to go. If all goes well, I’m going. — Clare S., Ohio

It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  The everyday adoration was truly a time that I realized Christendom’s deep love for Catholicism.  This program showed me the unique campus life that little to no other college can claim. — Vincent A., North Carolina

This week impacted my life in ways that I believe will continue to show themselves for the rest of my life. Two of the most prominent ways are a strong desire to go to Christendom and I have gained a strong Catholic friend group. Before attending BWE, I never dreamed of attending Christendom. Now, I cannot imagine my college experience without attending there. As far as the Catholic friend group, I have never been able to experience that before. I live in the Bible Belt so Catholics are rare. Now I have 63 fantastic friends who share a love for the Catholic faith. — Therese S., Kentucky

My time at the Best Week Ever was truly amazing – and free from anxiety, which was absolutely wonderful. Typically summer camps and so forth are hard for me (anxiety, being away from home, etc.), but from the moment I arrived, I was completely at peace, which was a huge blessing. The week was fantastic, too! I feel like I experienced a lot of what it’s like to be a student at Christendom – the rigorous academics, the authentic Catholic atmosphere, and the true joy that seemed to be present in everyone and throughout the various activities. This was truly a beautiful experience, and one I will never forget! — Margaret C., Ohio

I can sincerely and honestly claim that it was one of the best and most memorable experiences I have had in my recent life. — John K., Virginia

During this week I was challenged, taught, but most importantly inspired. I have never been surrounded by so many teenagers as eager and curious about the Faith as I am. It was a week that brought me much growth and I will forever be grateful to have gone. The counselors showed us how to not feel ashamed or embarrassed to be Catholic, but instead to be proud. The friendships and connections I formed are ones that are centered around God’s love and are examples of just that. It was truly a rewarding experience and will have an everlasting impact on my life. — Chloe R., New York

The entire week was action-packed with so many fun activities that I really took joy in, and I am so glad and grateful that I was given the great opportunity to attend! Higher education in our country has really deteriorated over the past couple of decades, to the point where at most colleges and universities students graduate more misinformed and spiritually lost than when they first joined. I quickly found that that was not the case at Christendom. Even over just a short week, I encountered 59 other students and 10 counselors who were so deep in their faith that it truly inspired me to go even further in my love for Jesus. Not one person was just “going through the motions” at Mass or constantly checking the time to see when our time in Adoration would end. The faith is truly alive and well in all those that attend the Best Week Ever, and that was, above all, my strongest takeaway from the week. Knowing that we have a large number of young people who are authentic in their faith and can be a light in the darkness of our modern wicked culture is truly reassuring that not all hope is lost. My time at Christendom has galvanized me to go the extra step to be the best person that God wants me to be. — David A., Virginia

The Best Week Ever really lived up to the name. Living in such a Catholic environment as provided at Christendom was life-changing. The activities were great. Being around other practicing Catholics my age was incredible and nearly all of them are my friends. I have kept going to daily Mass and it has made a real impact on my life. Living to know, love, and serve God is truly the best way to live, and trying to see God in everything brings meaning and joy. I don’t want to forget even a minute of my time at Christendom. — Abram U., Maryland

This week at Christendom was indescribable. I had great expectations for it, but it exceeded them completely. It helped me learn some things about myself that I didn’t know and really surprised me, like the fact that I really enjoy dancing or that I can have fluent conversations with people I don’t know at all, who belong to a different country, have different likes and customs, and even speak a different language than me without feeling nervous or embarrassed. I discovered one can get to really love some people in only a week’s time. I was shocked with how little I know about my faith (especially because before I thought I knew a lot), and I experienced a sincere will to learn and grow in that aspect of my life. I’ve had some amazing weeks in my life, but I’m sure I can say this was one of the best ones, if not the best week ever. — Mercedes G., Argentina

At the program, I grew both spiritually through the adoration and Masses that were offered, but also through the people I was with. Everyone there reminded me of what living the Catholic faith really means. I met some amazing people who I hope to stay in touch with and who I hope I can help as much as they helped me. I will remember this week as one of the best weeks ever! — Bella B., Maryland

For me, it was the “Best Week Ever!”  I enjoyed every moment but was really sad when Saturday morning came.  If I could’ve, I would have stayed for the rest of the summer!  I’ve been asked what my favorite part was, but I honestly can’t choose one thing.  The Counselors were outstanding!  I had a great time talking with them about different things and really admire our Head Counselor for being such a good leader.  It was fun to learn new things in class and hear the professors’ jokes and insight on whatever subject we were learning.  I had a great time learning how to dance!  The contra-style dance was my favorite.  I was expecting that the debate would be boring, but it was one of the most exciting things we did all week!  Everyone who gave speeches did an excellent job.  I felt so blessed to be able to attend daily Mass and Adoration.  Perhaps my favorite thing we did all week was sing the Salve Regina after each dance.  It was amazing to see that everything we did revolved around Christ and our love of Him.  All the things we did showed me that Christendom offers so much more than just great classes: it offers students a chance to be great Roman Catholics who can defend Christ and enjoy every moment of life that He gives. — Danielle P., California

For me, it was truly the best week ever. Before coming to this program I had heard of Christendom but had written it off as a Catholic liberal arts school for philosophers, theologians, and religious orders. I had never considered going to any Catholic college. Now, after this incredible week, my views have completely flipped, and three Catholic colleges, including Christendom, are at the top of my list. Being at Christendom changed my views on who I want to be surrounded with when I go to college, and even what I wanted to study. Yet, there was a bigger part of this week that showed me why these kinds of people at Christendom are the people I want to spend my college years with. I did not go into the BWE looking for friends to make, especially since the chance of seeing one of those sixty people ever again is so low. And yet, I made friends with everyone, and a few friendships meant more to me and I want to keep them up, despite living states away. This helped show me why being surrounded by Catholic men and women is the key to staying faithful but also to having fruitful long-lasting friendships. — Peter E., Texas

Sometimes I get tied up in earthly thoughts but the Best Week Ever was an amazing reminder that we are not made for this world. This was reflected in everyone’s attitude, including the faculty and staff. What I believe makes Christendom so different and special is while other schools also have high ideals, Christendom is one of the few schools that actively live out all what it strives in words to be. — Luke R., Texas

In my week at Christendom this summer, I was able to share in the love and truth Christendom is spreading through their work.  This week helped me to learn of the beautiful knowledge Christendom teaches in its classes, the fellowship of its students and faculty, and the desire of every person involved with Christendom to love Christ in all they do and still always have a good time.  — Jack B., Michigan

I loved the program because of how well it seemed to represent life at the college. It certainly made me far more open to considering Christendom as a possible choice for college. I experienced nothing but a positive and encouraging atmosphere in both the classes and the recreational activities. The daily opportunities to receive the sacraments allowed me to focus more on becoming closer to Christ. I cannot recall any week of my life that has been better than this one; I suppose that means that this program actually was the “Best Week Ever” for me. — Daniel F., Virginia

Christendom College is now my top choice for college. I really enjoyed being with so many people who cared so much about the faith and were able to have fun with each other at the same time. My week at Christendom was truly the best week ever. — Dominic S., Virginia

I loved attending this “Best Week Ever.” I loved the Catholic identity shown throughout the college, especially the love everyone had for their Faith. This program has affected me in the most positive ways: to appreciate prayer more profoundly, to learn to serve others first, and to live the Truth. This program has helped me grow closer to Christ by finding joy in practicing my Faith and by learning that I can do it to others who can lift me up. This truly was the “Best Week Ever.” — John Paul M., Virginia

I loved being able to spend a whole week with fellow young Catholics in learning, fellowship, and fun. Singing, dancing, talking, praying, and more singing, left me physically exhausted but spiritually fresh. I think I can say that it was the Best Week Ever. — Michael F., Georgia

I really enjoyed it!  It really did exceed all of my expectations.  I particularly enjoyed the philosophy and theology classes. — Ryan W., Georgia

The week I spent at Christendom was truly the best week of my entire life. The most amazing thing I noticed was the fact that our entire schedule seemed planned around the daily Mass, Adoration, and confession. I have never been so busy before in my life, and yet I felt drawn closer to Jesus than ever! The entire week was truly the most amazing experience of my life and I cannot wait to attend Christendom college next fall. — Maggie W., Georgia

Before attending BWE, I had not viewed Christendom in such a positive light. I thought it to be a Catholic bubble that would stifle me. How wrong I was. Christendom is a Catholic bubble, yes, but as Mr. McFadden says, thank God for that. Before attending the summer program the only three colleges I was planning to apply to were Hillsdale, Grove City, and William and Mary. Now, I can proudly say that Christendom College is foremost among those. The experience not only changed my opinion of the college but also of my faith and community as a whole. Whether or not I decide to attend Christendom next year, I will be bringing my experiences from this summer back to my home and wherever I travel throughout my life. Even more importantly, at the BWE I was given the deepest faith experience I had ever received to date. The daily Mass and in particular the daily adoration gave me much-needed healing and insight into my spiritual life. Curiously, I developed a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus while at the program. I am seeking to cultivate these seeds further by getting into a daily prayer routine and looking to attend daily mass at the local chapel. Friendships that I made while at BWE have been helpful in keeping me accountable for my commitments. Though attendees came from all corners of our nation (and even outside its borders), I am confident that these friendships will last and many of our paths will cross again in the future. — John N., Ohio

I enjoyed every minute of it. Witnessing the beautiful Catholic environment that Christendom College provides was a new and wonderful experience for me. I felt closer to Christ during my visit than I have in a very long time. I loved everything about Christendom and hope to attend soon as a student. — Lucy W., Georgia

Visiting the college and participating in all it had to offer in that one spectacular week really opened my eyes to the liberal arts education system, and made me reconsider what a successful college experience really means. The place is alive with music and laughter. Simply put, it’s a glorious place. The truth taught and absorbed at Christendom and the people learning it are changing the world. I am honored to have had the opportunity to learn alongside truly zealous classmates, and to have been guided by such great leaders. — Lucy B., California

When I arrived on Sunday, hoping that it would be all that I heard about it, I realized it was going to be that and so much more.  Right from the start, I loved it.  The classes, especially philosophy, were very thought-provoking. I liked the companionship that all the other students showed toward me.  The counselors were amazing role models.  They were nice, friendly, and willing to talk to us about anything concerning Christendom.  After that week, I only want to go to Christendom more.  All in all, it was definitely the Best Week Ever! — Peter S., Connecticut

Going into the week, I was already very confident that I wanted to attend Christendom College for my undergraduate education, and was eager to visit campus for the first time, but I must admit I wasn’t really expecting it to be “The Best Week Ever,” nor for it to have any particular impact on my life other than in regards to my college decision.  But by the time I was back in my dorm room Monday night, I had already decided that my week’s experience was going to be very different from expected!  What impacted me the most was simply the balance throughout the week between intellectual activities, spiritual activities – and fun!  Going home, I knew I wanted to make some adjustments to my daily life to retain that balance.  Also, I now know that Christendom College is definitely the place for me!  It was truly the Best Week Ever. — Sarah D., Pennsylvania

I enjoyed it more than I ever expected: learning to swing dance, contra dance, and waltz, singing along to Irish music, canoeing in the Shenandoah River, learning philosophy, going to adoration every day. Everything about the Summer Program was really enjoyable. The truly Catholic atmosphere that surrounded the faculty, the counselors, and the entire campus was awesome. To see other people my age actually live the Catholic faith, and act properly and responsibly was amazing. And everything combined definitely made this the Best Week of my life. — Stephen K., Kentucky

This program was truly the high point of my summer. I have never been in a stronger atmosphere of community and been around a better group of good, Catholic guys before in my life. Before this program, I was becoming very discouraged and disappointed in the world in general, but this program showed me that there are still genuine, good, solid people in this world. This program did a fantastic job of rekindling my prayer life, which had started to lag a bit, and allowed me to take a break from the outside world and focus on what really mattered. It was a life-changing experience for me and it is also for many others. — Thomas D., Wisconsin

I was very hesitant at first to go, and I honestly had no expectations. I wasn’t in the best place spiritually or mentally. But as the counselors said we would, and by the middle of the week I was having the time of my life and I knew that Christendom was where I want to spend the next few years of my life. — Amy K., Pennsylvania

Christendom was amazing and is probably one of the most Catholic places I’ve ever seen! — Justin O., Virginia

Christendom’s summer program was an experience I will never forget. I expected the week to be fantastic; after all, it was advertised as “The Best Week Ever.” But when I actually got to the campus and lived the Christendom life, it was better than I could have ever imagined. Every aspect of the camp was amazing. The Best Week Ever Summer Program really helped me grow as a person and as a Catholic. I felt like I connected with everyone, counselors and students alike. This week truly was my best week ever, and a memory I will cherish forever. — Sophie S., Louisiana

During my stay, I came to realize the benefits of a liberal arts education and was enlightened by the classes. Also, I have never experienced such an encouraging and wholesome community as I found at Christendom. The counselors were inspiring and the professors were passionate about what they were teaching. There was a positive message that we are all important and made in a unique way for greatness. It was amazing to be surrounded by Catholics who lived their faith not just during Mass. Christendom truly lives up to its name by being a world inhabited by Christians. At the end of the week, I thought I had lived there for ages and I did not want to leave. — Clare P., California

Although at first I was very reluctant to go and not very excited to attend, it was truly a life-changing experience. In only the one week I was there I learned so much about my faith and really grew closer with Christ. I loved my experience at Christendom College and I can’t wait to apply this fall. — Jordan R., Ohio

They can’t all be wrong, can they?