Enrollment now open.

Scholarships available: Apply Below

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or contact Executive Director Christopher Fisher at cfisher@portsmouthabbey.org or 401.643.1255.


The Vision

PIETAS exists to celebrate the Catholic intellectual life so that we teachers may flourish, and as a result, our students may flourish as well. By offering Catholic teachers an inspirational encounter with the best literature, philosophy, and theology of the West, participants will be equipped to inspire their own students with a shared love of learning. PIETAS will thus strengthen Catholic teaching– and Catholic school identity–through an encounter with the Catholic intellectual tradition.  

Rather than studying the practical dimensions of teaching, PIETAS offers teachers an opportunity to be students themselves—encountering and re-encountering the passion for learning which draws all teachers to their vocation in the first place. PIETAS is designed to be accessible and beneficial for Catholic teachers of all educational backgrounds and from any discipline.

PIETAS was created when a group of Catholic teachers and heads of school recognized a need for faithful Catholic teachers to gather in a shared community of fellowship and encouragement, based on an encounter with the rich Catholic and Western literary tradition. The cornerstone of PIETAS is a six-day intensive and immersive program in classic literature, philosophy, and theology, where Catholic educators gather out of a deep, shared love of the Catholic imagination.

Daily lectures delivered by expert faculty illuminate the inherent meaning of a text. Breakout sessions offer teachers an opportunity to integrate the literature with their own expertise and interests. Teachers from a variety of disciplines will thus be encouraged to share their core knowledge with fellow teachers. This makes PIETAS truly interdisciplinary.

What Makes PIETAS Unique

PIETAS is unique in its focus on an interdisciplinary encounter between literature, theology, art, philosophy, and history. We treat education as fundamentally interdisciplinary because Christ “is all, and is in all ” (Col. 3:11). Thus, wherever truth is, there is Christ. This is the Incarnational reality of our faith.

Further, the classical and Christian tradition teaches that an education in literature stirs the affections and moves the soul towards the attainment of the beautiful, and the beautiful leads us to God. Education, then, is a poetic experience, in that it addresses the human imagination and affections. It is the poetic spirit which Blessed John Henry Newman attributes to the Benedictine monk, with his “desire for learning and love of God.” Thus, in both our study of literature and participation in Benedictine life, PIETAS is a fundamentally Benedictine experience.

By spending time with fellow teachers and program faculty in various settings, participants will encounter pedagogy, rather than study it. PIETAS will treat teachers as intellectuals in their own right: intellectuals who desire to continue learning with similarly-spirited teachers.  At its root, PIETAS recognizes the sacred authority of the teacher, and we seek to nurture, cultivate, and ennoble that sacredness.

Participation in the sacraments and the Divine Office, excursions to local cultural treasures in Newport County, visits to local vineyards and experiences with nature, feasts and celebrations, generous hospitality—all will energize, motivate, and uplift teachers in their pursuit of the good, true, and beautiful.

Finally, consistent with the vision of the Portsmouth Institute, PIETAS aims to be a place of learning, leisure, and love. Through learning, we will enliven teacher’s imagination in its pursuit of truth. Through leisure, we will encourage contemplation and open receptivity to God’s goodness. And through love, we will engage the heart in its pursuit of God in the beatific vision. In this way, we will cultivate a vibrant Catholic intellectual community and contribute to the restoration of Christian culture in New England and beyond.


2019 PIETAS:

  • Cost: $1,500 (lunches, dinners, cocktail receptions, special events, and reading material included; 50% scholarships available via application, available here)
  • Curriculum: Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • Dates: June 23-28, 2019
  • Location: Portsmouth Abbey Monastery and School in scenic Newport County, Rhode Island
  • Overnight lodging available (includes continental breakfast)

If you are interested in attending or sponsoring an attendee, please contact Portsmouth Institute Executive Director Christopher Fisher at cfisher@portsmouthabbey.org or 401.643.1255.