Overview of the Program

Vita Consecrata Institute —
Overview of Program of Summer Studies for Men and Women Religious

The VCI is a joint effort of the IRL and the Graduate School of Christendom College, in Front Royal, VA

A program of graduate level studies, launched in July 2001 by the Institute on Religious Life, the Vita Consecrata Institute (VCI) centers on various aspects of the theology of the consecrated life, as reflected in the mission and life of the Church. The VCI is an intense, yet rewarding, academic program rooted in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the magisterial teaching of Pope John Paul II, and the rich historical tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vita Consecrata program is ideal for priests, religious and other consecrated persons wishing to pursue further academic studies, those interested in a brief sabbatical experience, religious in formation, and those preparing for perpetual vows. This Institute is designed to assist all participants grow in a deeper understanding and appreciation of the consecrated life as "a gift of the Father to His Church through the Holy Spirit" (VC, no. 1).

The VCI is structured in such a way as to assure the participants the full living of their consecrated life in a context of prayer, silence, study and community. Its format consists of intense sessions of theological study on particular topics relating to the consecrated life. Satisfactory completion of the courses allows students to work toward a specialized certificate of completion, as well as continuing education credits.

pdf Click here for the 2017 Summer Courses of Theological Studies. (756 KB)

Joint effort of IRL and Notre Dame Graduate School

Since 2006, the Vita Consecrata Institute, held each summer, has been a joint effort by the IRL and the Graduate School of Christendom College in Virginia. The VCI is held at the beautiful Christendom campus in Front Royal, Virginia. Participants register directly with the Graduate School.

For first-time participants a few additional documents are required:

  • Letter from the religious superior or ordinary stating (a) express permission to attend, and (b) how her or she sees you may personally benefit from the program and how it might enrich your community;
  • Brief (2-3 paragraph) history of your vocation; and
  • Brief (2-3 paragraph) summary of the your educational background and/or ministeral experience.

The three documents should be submitted to the IRL at the address at the bottom of this page.

Optional Master of Arts in Theological Studies

Classes may be taken for credit and applied to a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree from the Graduate School of Christendom College.

What Participants Have Said:

  • "My time at the VCI is one of the most valuable investments our community has made. Not only the quality of the courses, but the inspiration and comaraderie has been one of the most edifying experiences of my life."
  • "I found the VCI program to be an excellent source of renewal. Living in community with other religious provides an opportunity for sharing and growth. I would highly recommend this program for those who wish to enrich their lives and grow in the love of God."
  • "I am so grateful.. I have learned and appreciated the beauty in unity within the Church as well as the mission of the Church to bring God's love present into the world."
  • "I have never had such a profound, educational and enjoyable experience in a classroom."
  • "I would recommend this program to all religious in all stages of formation... Not only because of the exceptional instructors and subject matter, but moreover because of the spirit in which the program is run, that Spirit of contemplation which draws us together as one community, not merely many different religious institutes, but one large institute of religious communities as one community of God."
  • "Bravo Vita Consecrata for a solid Catholic learning experience. Christ was truly present!"


Now Available - VCI Courses for Purchase as MP3 Downloads!
The IRL has produced the audio of several past courses for download as MP3 files. The courses are typically 10 or 20 lectures, each lecture being a separate MP3 download, so, 10 or 20 downloads. Each course is priced at US$20 regardless of length. pdf Click here (44 KB) for a list of available courses. Click here to pay online using the ReligiousLife.com shopping cart. When you order, be sure to identify the course you want using the "Special Instructions or Order Comments" area.

Call the IRL office at 847-573-8975 for more information.

IRL Blog

Vocation Blog

A blog about vocations to the consecrated life.
  • Why did the early Church accept some strands of Greek philosophy and not Greek mythology as a whole? Both had a theological worldview, one possibly more specific than another. It was not as if philosophy was simply within the realm of reason yet as one step to faith, but Greek philosophy already had a more … Continue reading Why Philosophy and not Mythology? →

  • When I lived in Washington D.C. there was a group of nuns that accomplished everything. They were the hardest working people in the city. I once asked them how do they find the time to accomplish all of their work and still find time for other things. Their simple answer was prayer. Taking the time … Continue reading Models for Living: Prayer and Work →

  • Saint Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews writes that the Christian virtue of “Hope” is set before us as “an anchor of the soul, sure and firm.” (cf. Heb 6:19) The anchor of a ship is that substantial piece of equipment that when thrown down, grabs hold of the solid sea bed below.  The … Continue reading “The one who has Hope lives differently” says Pope Benedict XVI →