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!) 


EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Apply before May 1st for $100 off ($200 total! )

Cost of attendance is $300 (includes all room/board, supplies, and excursions/ticketed experiences.) Contact us to inquire about scholarships.

Applications will be accepted through June 1.

2020 Summer Institute participants who attend the 2021 Summer Institute will only be charged $150 (50% discount )






    Day 1 -- Student Arrival

  • Room assignments 

  • Time to settle in

  • Introduction/House rules

    6:00pm Dinner

    7:00pm  Icebreaker

    8:00pm  S’Mores

    9:00pm Night Prayer



    Day 2

    7:30am Morning Prayer

    8:00am Breakfast

    9:30am Morning Class 

  • 30 min. Philosophy lecture

  • 30 min. Theology lecture

  • 15 min. Q&A each

    11:00am Small Discussion Groups

    12:00pm Lunch

    1:30pm Leave Mundelein for Six Flags

    8:30pm Return from Six Flags

    9:00pm Night Prayer




   Day 3

   7:30am Morning Prayer

   8:00am Breakfast

   9:30am Morning Class 

   11:00am Small group

   12:00pm Lunch

   12:45pm Break

   3:00pm Outdoor Game Day / Tour / Vocation Night 

   6:00pm Dinner

   9:00pm Night Prayer




  Day 4 -- Student Departure

  8:30am Morning Class

  10:00am Farewell Mass

  11:00am Brunch

  12:00pm Small group

  12:45pm Big group

  1:30pm Students depart