Summer Institute 2022

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.

 July 13th-17th, 2022


“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 5-Day Summer Institute, high school students are introduced to college-level philosophy and theology through an investigation of the three “transcendentals” (truth, goodness, and beauty). Notre Dame professors Jay and Jennifer Newsome Martin will lead students through a discussion of  Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Newman, Ratzinger, von Balthasar, and relevant biblical texts. 

Academic excellence is balanced with spiritual formation. We learn how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours together. We reflect on the vocation to which God is calling us.

We also balance work and play. Mornings are for lectures and discussion; afternoons and evenings for excursions to the city and fun programming (including a trip to Six Flags and the city of Chicago).

An acceptance decision will be made within two weeks of your application. Successful applications submitted before May 1st are eligible for a $100 early bird discount. Handbooks, schedules, syllabus, and texts will be emailed beginning on May 15th.


  • Wednesday:
    • 4pm – arrival
    • 5pm – Opening Mass at the Marian Grotto
    • 6pm – Dinner
    • 7pm – Introductions & Icebreakers
    • 8pm – Bonfire & Smores
    • 9pm – Night Prayer
  • Thursday
    • 8am – Morning Prayer
    • 8:30am – Breakfast
    • 9:30am – Morning Sessions on TRUTH
    • 11am – Small Group Discussion
    • 12pm – Lunch
    • 1:30pm – Leave for SIX FLAGS
    • 7:30pm – Return
    • 9pm – Night Prayer
  • Friday
    • 8am – Morning Prayer
    • 8:30am – Breakfast
    • 9:30am – Morning Sessions on BEAUTY
    • 11am – Small Group Discussion
    • 12pm – Lunch
    • 1:30pm – Leave for CHICAGO / ART INSTITUTE
    • 5:30pm – Dinner and Visit to Historic Catholic Chicago Sites
    • 8pm – Return
    • 9pm – Night Prayer
  • Saturday
    • 8am – Morning Prayer
    • 8:30am – Breakfast
    • 9:30am – Morning Sessions on GOODNESS
    • 11am – Small Group Discussion
    • 12pm – Big Group Discussion
    • 12:30pm – Lunch
    • 2:30pm – Field and Game Day / Walking Pilgrimage to Marytown
    • 6:30pm – Dinner and Vocation Night
    • 9pm – Night Prayer
  • Sunday
    • 8:30am – Breakfast
    • 10:00am – Mass
    • 11:30am – Concluding Brunch (Families Invited)

See some photos of the 2021 Summer Institute below:

Open to all high school students, including outgoing 8th graders and incoming college freshman.

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