Summer Institute 2021

Cosponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago Vocations Office and The University of Saint Mary of the Lake at Mundelein Seminary

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



“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 wonders: Is 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 were 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 included Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Newman, Ratzinger, von Balthasar, as well as relevant biblical texts. 

We balanced 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 balanced work and play. Mornings were devoted to lectures and discussion, with afternoons and evenings filled with excursions and fun programming (including a trip to Six Flags!) 

See some photos of the 2021 Summer Institute below:

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