About the Spiritual Life Institute

Spiritual Life Institute logo

Since the early 1980’s, the Spiritual Life Institute at Saint Martin’s University has brought together nationally and internationally renowned theologians, scholars of religion and public intellectuals to commonly reflect upon pertinent issues of religious faith and identity, the contemporary relevance and intersection of religion and the pursuit of social justice within the public square and the enduring spiritual quest in search of God [quaerere Deum] and self-understanding alike within an increasingly globalized world.

In keeping with the Institute’s Catholic rootedness and equally robust ecumenical and dialogical spirit, the overall purpose of the SLI aims to facilitate a healthy balance and immersive educational experience that is nourished by the age-old Benedictine emphasis of Ora et labora et lege - Prayer, work, study.  In addition to daily lectures by our guest lecturers and community roundtable discussions, there will be times for both daily silence, community prayer and service learning work at Saint Martin’s Our Common Home Farms (OCHF) that ultimately aims to integrate both theory and practice.

Institute participants are thus actively encouraged to fully take part in these immersive experiences that inspires both self-examination, personal growth and is warmly hospitable to a diversity of views that ultimately enriches our common dialogue with major scholars and leaders active in theological reflection, spiritual formation and social justice work both nationally and internationally.

Register for the Summer 2019 Spiritual Life Institute

The Contemplative Difference: Prayer – Work – Study

June 16 to 21

Current student registration New student and adult learner registration

The Spiritual Life Institute’s Summer 2019 program The Contemplative Difference: Prayer – Work – Study seeks to mine the theological and historical depths of differing views on Contemplation while equally exploring its vast psychological and practical relevance in terms of contemporary appeals to ‘Mindfulness’ and the difference of contemplative pedagogy. Course material will draw upon a variety of historical-cultural-literary-psychological, philosophical and ultimately theological perspectives in framing the unique heritage and the difference of theology done and lived within an intentional contemplative focus that have invariably come to influence how we relate to categories such as Theology, Religion and/or Spirituality today.

Students praying in the prayer room

Ora - Prayer


Students pulling weeds at Our Common Home Farms

Lege et labora - Work and study

Schedule of events

Sunday June 16           

5 p.m.Opening lecture and evening receptionLambert Lodge

Weekly schedule: Monday – Friday, June 17-21

8 a.m.Morning massAbbey Church (all are welcome)
9-10:30 a.m.First lectureCebula Hall, Third Floor
10:30-11 a.m.Coffee break with refreshments provided

Cebula Hall, Third Floor

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.Second lectureCebula Hall, Third Floor
12:30-1:45 p.m.Break 
2-4 p.m.Service work Saint Martin's Our Common Home Farms (transportation included)
4-4:45 p.m.Rest 
5-5:30 p.m.Evening prayer Abbey Church (all are welcome)
5:45-6:15 p.m.Break 
6:15-7 p.m.Community seminar roundtableCebula Hall, Third Floor

2019 guest lecturers

Dr. Bradford Manderfield

Dr. Bradford Manderfield

Ph.D., Systematic Theology
& Medieval Mysticism

Catholic University of Leuven

In 2011, Dr. Manderfield moved to Leuven, Belgium, to pursue a doctorate degree.

He focused in particular on the late-medieval visionary Julian of Norwich, her Patristic and Scholastic influences, in addition to the pedagogical role of Julian’s work within a largely illiterate culture. Stemming from his doctoral work, current scholarly research interests include study of churches as symbolic spaces, the liturgy, the Eucharist, and illuminated manuscripts. Dr. Manderfield is currently teaching at The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary. His current teaching interests surround Ecclesiology, Mariology, and Eschatology. When not teaching, Bradford likes to walk, nap, dream, drink, cook, garden and converse.

Dr. Alan Mostrom

Dr. Alan Mostrom

Ph.D., Systematic Theology
University of Dayton

Dr. Mostrom is a native of Tacoma, Washington and is an assistant professor of Systematic Theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount Saint Mary's of the West in Cincinnati, Ohio.

His scholarly interests include the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the theology of Yves Congar and the nouvelle théologie, trinitarian theology, ecclesiology, and sacramental theology. Alan is also a huge NBA fan, and still mourns the loss of his beloved SuperSonics.


(Please note that tuition rates and fees are subject to change.  For the most up-to-date information about tuition rates, please contact the Office of Student Financial Services)

RLS 399: Spiritual Life Institute (3 semester credits)
Fee: $2,325

Requirements: Attend all lectures and presentations, read the required texts, participate in discussions, author a daily journal, and submit a 3,600–4,500 word research paper two weeks after the final meeting.

RLS 094: Spiritual Life Institute (non-credit)
Fee: Approximately one half of the regular tuition fee.

For a reduced fee, students may attend the Institute without receiving academic credit. Students should inquire at the Office of Student Financial Services for an exact fee-auditing schedule.

CEC 080: Spiritual Life Institute (30 clock hour credits)
Fee: $200

Saint Martin's University invites those who are seeking continuing education credit to attend the Spiritual Life Institute for their own personal enrichment and spiritual growth. Participants are required to attend all lectures and presentations in order to receive their certificate of continuing education.

DAF 080: Spiritual Life Institute (non-credit)
Fee: $40

For those individuals who are unable to attend the Institute in its entirety, Saint Martin's University now offers a daily attendance fee. This non-credit attendance option enables those individuals with busy schedules or prior commitments to participate on a level that works for them. Simply select the number of days that you would like to attend the Institute, submit your payment in advance, and participate on the days that suit you best.

On-campus living is encouraged as an important part of Spiritual Life Institute. Residence halls are located in a peaceful, forested setting.

Make reservations for University housing:

Please contact the University associate director of residence life at housing@stmartin.edu or 360-412-6163.

Important: Housing fees are billed separately from the Spiritual Life Institute program tuition.