In-person summer experience for high school students exploring truth, goodness, and beauty at Mundelein Seminary

Presented by the Lumen Christi Institute’s Newman ForumOpen to current high school students and incoming college freshman only. This seminar is cosponsored by the University of Saint Mary of the Lake at Mundelein Seminary, and the Archdiocese of Chicago Vocation Office. 



“It is through wonder that men now begin and originally began to philosophize; wondering in the first place at obvious perplexities, and then by gradual progression raising questions about the greater matters too...”   -Aristotle, Metaphysics 982b

“The Christian remains the guardian of that metaphysical wonderment which is the point of origin for philosophy and the continuation of which is the basis of its further existence. Wonderment is constantly on the point of turning into a marveling at the beauty of existence as a whole…”   

-Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Volume V, The Realm of Metaphysics in the Modern Age


Philosophy begins in wonder: How can I explain what I see, put words to what I feel, or communicate what seems inexpressible? 

Looking out at the world, one wondersIs there some order to the universe and to my soul? Or is it all random? 

We wonder most of all about the true, the beautiful, and the good: Is there such a thing as Truth? Beauty? Goodness?  There must be, but so many people disagree! How can one talk about the reality of concepts that seem so hotly contested?



In this 4-Day Summer Institute, high school students will be introduced to the disciplines and distinct methodologies of philosophy and theology through college-level lecture and discussion of the three “transcendentals” of truth, goodness, and beauty. Figures under consideration will include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Newman, Ratzinger, von Balthasar, as well as relevant biblical texts. 

We will balance academic formation with spiritual formation, focusing on themes of discernment, vocation, and the practices that comprise an intellectually informed and responsible life of faith. In addition to a balance of the spiritual and intellectual, we will also balance work and play. Mornings will be devoted to lectures and discussion, with afternoons and evenings filled with excursions and fun programming (including a trip to Six Flags!) 


Applications are now closed. Check back next Spring 2022 for information on the 2022 Summer Institute!





    Day 1 -- Student Arrival

    4:00pm Check-In (Building E, Main Entrance)

  • Room assignments 

  • Time to settle in

    5:00pm Welcome Mass (Building E, Chapel)

    6:00pm Dinner (Building B, Dining Hall)

    7:00pm  Icebreakers & House Rules (Building N, Classrooms)

    8:00pm  S’Mores (Fire Pit)

    9:00pm Night Prayer (Building E, Chapel)



    Day 2

    7:30am Morning Prayer (Building E, Chapel)

    8:00am Breakfast (Building B, Dining Hall)

    9:30am Morning Class (Building N, Classooms)

  • 30 min. Philosophy lecture

  • 30 min. Theology lecture

  • 15 min. Q&A each

    11:00am Small Discussion Groups (Building N, Classrooms)

    12:00pm Leave Mundelein for Six Flags

    7:00pm Leave Six Flags to Return to Mundelein

    8:00pm Night Prayer (Building E, Chapel)




   Day 3

   7:30am Morning Prayer (Building E, Chapel)

   8:00am Breakfast (Building B, Dining Hall)

   9:30am Morning Class (Building N, Classrooms)

   11:00am Small group (Building N, Classrooms)

   12:00pm Lunch (Building B, Dining Hall)

   12:45pm Break 

   2:30pm Outdoor Games (Ball Fields)

   4:00pm Vocation Talks (Mundelein Grounds)

   6:00pm Dinner (Grab-N-Go, Building B, Dining Hall)

   9:00pm Night Prayer (Building E, Chapel)




  Day 4 -- Student Departure

  8:00am Breakfast (Building B, Dining Hall)

  8:30am Morning Class (Building N, Classrooms)

  10:00am Farewell Mass (Building E, Chapel)

  11:00am Brunch (TBD)

  12:00pm Small group (Building N, Classrooms)

  12:45pm Big group (Building N, Classrooms)

  1:30pm Students depart


Safety & Wellness Information:

Mundelein Seminary's COVID-19 procedures at the time of the Summer Institute will be consistent with State Guidelines for outdoor and indoor group gatherings. Complete information regarding protocol will be circulated to all accepted students as the Institute nears.

Single occupancy accommodations are available to all accepted students. To the extent that you are comfortable, accepted students are encouraged to select "Double Occupancy" come registration time. This will assign each student a roommate to bunk with for the duration of the Institute. Siblings will room together. Male and female students are assigned to separate floors, and there are no communal bathrooms. Nightly curfew will be strictly observed. There will be one adult chaperone for every three students, with a balanced number of male and female chaperones. 

Arriving to the Institute late and/or leaving early will not be permitted. 

Further information about allergies, medical concerns, dress code, etc. will be made available to accepted students upon registration.