Summer Program 2015

"Light unto the Mysteries of God:
Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians"

July 12 - July 25 in Norcia, Italy

To me, though I am the very least of the saints, this grace was given, to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God"
~ Ephesians 3:8

Program Description

The theme for the 2015 Summer Program is St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. We will be undertaking a thorough reading of the Letter, following St. Thomas's commentary upon the epistle as our guide. The Epistle offers the opportunity to explore in depth the subject of grace as it is found principally in the sacraments.

In particular, St. Paul's letter focusses on the sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony, and the Eucharist, and so participants will gain a greater understanding not only of these sacraments, but also an understanding of how grace works through the sacraments so as to order man to his end.

"'I will not hide from you the secrets [Gk: μυστήρια; La: sacramenta] of God, but will trace out her course from the beginning of creation and make the knowledge of her clear and will not pass by the truth.' (Wis 6:24)... Thus, the [preceding] text discloses to us the subject matter of this epistle, in which the Apostle discusses the sacraments of the Church."
~ St. Thomas Aquinas,
Super Epistolam Primam B. Pauli ad Corinthios Lectura

In accordance with the particular mission of the Saint Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies, which seeks to promote the study of theology according to the mind and method of the great scholastics, the core of every Summer Program lies in the attentive reading and thoughtful discussion of the great texts of the Catholic theological tradition. After Scripture itself, pride of place belongs to the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and especially to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Our verbal commentary on these texts, carried out in a formal seminar setting, is intended to approximate the scholastic practice of written commentary undertaken by the theological ‘baccalaureates’ of the day (e.g. St. Thomas’s commentary on the Sentences of ‘the Master’ Peter Lombard). Participants in the program will be expected to read the assigned selections before each seminar in order to come prepared to participate actively in group discussion of the texts. Although every participant is expected to contribute his or her insights to aid the entire group in coming to a deeper understanding, these seminars will be guided by our program directors, who have advanced degrees in theology, competency in the subject matter, and experience in the seminar method of pedagogy, or by other guest professors with appropriate academic degrees and experience.

Fr. Cassian, O.S.B.

The second part of the program consists of a series of lectures delivered by our ‘masters’ of theology, who are again this year members of the monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia. The keynote will be given by Fr. Cassian Folsom, the prior of the monastery. Topically, the lectures will complement the subject-matter of the seminars.

Scholastic Disputation

The program reaches its culmination with our authentic scholastic disputation: the questions to be disputed will be announced at least one day in advance, and the participants divided into teams, which will be assigned to argue either for or against each question. Each participant will be expected to form his or her own thoughts on the questions, and attempt to answer them. At the disputation itself, members of each team will offer arguments in scholastic style as an objection or a ‘sed contra’ (“it seems that…” or “it seems not…”). After each team has argued its case, the 'Magister' (again, one of the monks) will give his definitive solution, and then reply to each of the arguments posited by the participants.

Basilica San Benedetto di Norcia

Throughout the two weeks of the program there will also be ample opportunities for spiritual activities. Holy Mass is available in Norcia several times per day. Our schedule is constructed in such a way as to encourage participation in the daily Conventual Mass of the Benedictine monks, which is offered in Latin (Usus Antiquior) in the Basilica of St. Benedict. Participants are also invited to join the monks in praying the divine office: Lauds, Vespers, Compline, or even Matins at 4:00 A.M.! The priests of the monastery will of course be available for spiritual counseling, guidance, and/or confessions.

Basilica San Pietro, Roma

Finally, the enrichment of mind and spirit fostered by attentive reading of the Gospels and participation in the prayers and liturgical celebrations of the monastery will be complemented by moments of relaxation and cultural activities. The picturesque medieval town of Norcia is located right at the edge of the beautiful MountSibilini National Park. Optional excursions will be organized to nearby towns (places to be announced) - in the past, we have traveled to Assisi and Cascia. In addition, we will plan a longer weekend trip to Rome at the end of the program in order to have a relaxing but formative experience in the Eternal City, the glorious foundation seat of the Church – optional, but highly recommended! See the Excursions Itinerary for more details.

Calendar and Schedule

May 16. Deadline for applications for 2015 Summer Program. 200 Euro deposit due upon acceptance.

June 01. Deadline for remainder of payment for 2015 Summer Program.

July 12. Sun. Arrival Day.
July 13. Mon. Normal Program Schedule.
July 14. Tues. Normal Program Schedule.
July 15. Wed. Normal Program Schedule.
July 16. Thur. Optional Excursion (Location to be announced).
July 17. Fri. Normal Program Schedule.
July 18. Sat. Normal Program Schedule.
July 19. Sun. Optional Excursion to Cascia.

July 20. Mon. Normal Program Schedule.
July 21. Tues. Normal Program Schedule.
July 22. Wed. Modified Program Schedule.
July 23. Thur. Modified Program Schedule.
July 24. Fri. Optional Excursion to Rome.
July 25. Sat. Optional Excursion to Rome.
July 26. Sun. Departure Day.

Normal Program Schedule

06:00-06:45. Lauds.
07:00-08:15. Breakfast.
08:30-09:45. Seminar 1.
10:00-11:00. Holy Mass.
11:30-12:30. Lecture.
12:45-14:15. Lunch.
14:30-15:45. Seminar 2.
16:00-17:15. Open for reading, etc.
17:30-18:15. Vespers.
18:30-19:30. Dinner.
19:45-20:00. Compline.

Eligibility: The 2015 Summer Program is open to all applicants 18 years and older. The application process includes the completion of an application form and the submission of a letter of recommendation.

Cost: 675 Euro. As of December 29, 2014, this was roughly $825 (exchange rate 1.121). Click here for updated exchange rates. This covers tuition, room, and half-board in Norcia. Half-board includes a light breakfast and a multi-course Italian style dinner, leaving the midday meal to be arranged individually by the participants. It does not cover the cost of our trip to Rome. Participants should also plan some extra money for excursions (especially to Rome), souvenirs, etc. Payment can be made by check, credit card, or paypal account through our donations page. If paying with U.S. Dollars, simply calculate the amount necessary based on the exchange rate at the time of payment. Contact us with any questions.

Course Book: We are very blessed to be in partnership with the Aquinas Institute, who is giving us a substantial discount on the beautifully bound volume of St. Thomas' Commentary on the Epistles to the Corinthians (Retailed at $40). This will be included as a part of the program fees!

Location: The 2015 Summer Program will be held in Norcia, Italy. Norcia is a small town in the province of Perugia in southeastern Umbria. It is located right on the edge of the beautiful Mount Sibillini National Park. For directions on reaching Norcia, see Getting to Norcia.

Course Credits: The Saint Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies is not a degree granting institution, but we will assign grades and provide official transcripts verifying completion of a four credit-hour course for those who are interested.

To Apply: Apply now online or download and complete the application form, and mail your letters of recommendation and intention to the following address:

In America:

St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies
Attn: John Joy
La Lumiere School
6801 N. Wilhelm Road
La Porte, IN 46350
In Europe:

St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies
Attn: Chris Owens
(contact for address)

You may also scan the completed application and email it to

Once you are accepted, you will be asked for a 200 Euro deposit to confirm your space on the program.