Summer Program 2018

"Human Suffering and Divine Providence:
Thomas's Commentary on Job"

June 17th - 28th 2018 in Norcia, Italy

"The whole intention of this book is directed to this: to show that human affairs are ruled by divine providence using probable arguments."
~St. Thomas Aquinas, Prologue, Commentary on Job

Program Description
The theme for the 2018 Summer Program is Divine Providence. We will be undertaking a close reading of selected texts from the Exposition of Aquinas on the Literal Sense of the Book Job. Aquinas restricts himself to the literal sense, for, as he says, "The mystical sense has been explained for us both accurately and eloquently by the blessed Pope Gregory so that nothing further need be added to this sort of commentary."

"The affliction of just men is what seems especially to impugn divine providence in human affairs. For although it seems irrational and contrary to providence at first glance that good things sometimes happen to evil men, nevertheless this can be excused in one way or another by divine compassion. But that the just are afflicted without cause seems to undermine totally the foundation of providence. Thus the varied and grave afflictions of a specific just man called Job, perfect in every virtue, are proposed as a kind of theme for the question intended for discussion."
Sancti Thomae de Aquino,
Expositio super Iob ad Litteram

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 consist of the Fellows of the Center, joined by members of the monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia. A keynote will be given by Fr. Cassian Folsom, the founder of the community. 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' of the disputation will give his solution, and then reply to each of the arguments posited by the participants.

Throughout the two weeks of the program there will also be ample opportunities for spiritual activities. Holy Mass will be available daily through participation in the conventual Mass of the monastery; or else, for those who are early risers, through participation in a private Mass provided by one of the monks or fathers on the faculty (Usus Antiquior). The program participants also have the opportunity to participate in the communal celebration of the Divine Office. The priests of the monastery will be available for spiritual counseling, guidance, and/or confessions upon request.

view from the site of the 2018 program, "in monte"

Finally, the enrichment of mind and spirit fostered by attentive reading of the Scriptures and participation in the prayers and liturgical celebrations of the monastery will be complemented by moments of relaxation and cultural activities. The town of Norcia is located right at the edge of the beautiful Mount Sibilini National Park. An optional excursion will be organized to Orvieto. See the Excursions Itinerary for more details.

Calendar and Schedule

May 1. Deadline for applications for 2018 Summer Program. 350 Euro deposit due upon acceptance.

June 1. Deadline for remainder of payment for 2018 Summer Program.

June 17. Sun. Arrival Day.
June 18. Mon. Normal Program Schedule.
June 19. Tues. Normal Program Schedule.
June 20. Wed. Normal Program Schedule.
June 21. Thur. Normal Program Schedule.
June 22. Fri. Normal Program Schedule.
June 23. Sat. Optional Excursion to Orvieto.

June 24. Sun. Modified Program Schedule
June 25. Mon. Normal Program Schedule.
June 26. Tues. Normal Program Schedule.
June 27. Wed. Modified Program Schedule.
June 28. Thur. Departure
July 29. Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (optional excursion)

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. Open for reading, etc.
16:00-17:15. Seminar 2.
17:30-18:15. Vespers.
18:30-19:30. Dinner.
19:45-20:00. Compline.

Eligibility: The 2018 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.


Triple room: 1200 Euro
Double room: 1350 Euro
Single room: 1550 Euro.

Camping (bring your own equipment): 550 Euro
Camping (rental equipment provided): 800 Euro

See our Housing Page for more details.

Click here for updated exchange rates. The price includes tuition, program materials, room, and full-board in Norcia. Participants should also plan some extra money for excursions, souvenirs, etc. Payment can be made by check, credit card, or paypal account. 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 Job (Retailed at $40). This will be included as a part of the program fees!

Location: The 2018 Summer Program will be held in Norcia, Italy. Norcia is a small town in the province of Perugia in southeastern Umbria. 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 and complete the application form, and have your letters of recommendation emailed to the following address:

Once you are accepted, you will be asked for a 350 Euro deposit to confirm your space on the program.


Post a Comment