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“At a moment of history in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it, and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family, the Church perceives in a more urgent and compelling way her mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family….


Family is the basis of civilization; and, as we know, the Christian (and ancient, for that matter) understanding of family is under assault in modern culture. But as Pope Saint John Paul II made clear (following thousands of years of consistent theology, philosophy, and experience) the family is central to the flourishing of the Church and society. Together, we will seek answers to fundamental questions surrounding the future of the family, including:

What are the contemporary legal challenges to the traditional family? How do modern pop-culture portrayals of the family, i.e. Modern Family, This Is Us, Parenthood, Gilmore Girls, etc., create new standards of family life (or, perhaps, reaffirm the classical-Christian notion of family)?  Why does Christianity sacramentalize the husband-wife marital relationship? Does monasticism provide a blueprint for healthy family life? What does the decline in religious life have to do with the decline of the family? How does the Holy Family help us understand all families?  How should Catholics respond compassionately but truthfully to the modern redefinition of marriage, family and sexual identity?  What’s the truth about Amoris Laetitia?

Join the Portsmouth Institute for its 2018 Summer Conference as we seek answers to these questions and more.


Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archdiocese of New York,
Mary Eberstadt, Faith and Reason Institute,
R.J. Snell, Witherspoon Institute,
Fr. Roger Landry,  Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the U.N.
and more speakers to be announced shortly!


Friday, June 15

3:00 PM: Conference Check-In
5:30 PM: Vespers in the Abbey Church
6:00 PM: Opening Reception
7:00 PM: Dinner and Opening Address by Fr. Roger Landry
8:30 PM: Evening Hospitality in the Winter Garden

Saturday, June 16

9:00 AM: Address by Mary Eberstadt, Author and Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute
10:30 AM: Address TBA
1:00 PM: Address TBA
2:30 PM: Musical Performance in the Abbey Church
4:00 PM: Premium Reception at Carnegie Abbey Club (Premium Registrants Only)
5:30 PM: Vespers
6:00 PM: Vigil Mass Celebrated by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan in the Abbey Church
7:00 PM: Dinner and Address by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan in the Abbey Church
8:30 PM: Evening Hospitality in the Winter Garden

Sunday, June 17

9:30 AM: Conventual Mass in the Abbey Church
10:30 AM: Brunch and Closing Address by R.J. Snell, Witherspoon Institute


Portsmouth Abbey Dormitories (select on registration form):

$75/night single-occupancy
$125/night double-occupancy

Linens including sheets and pillow are provided. Please note that this is DORM STYLE accommodations, with common bathrooms and dorm room furniture. If you prefer more comfortable accommodations, please see our hotel listing below.

If you choose to stay in the dormitories, we advise that you bring the following:

Personal window fan
Shower Caddy
Toiletries and soap
Bathrobe and sandals (common bathrooms on each floor)

Marriott Courtyard – Room block available under “Portsmouth Abbey” (Middletown, RI)
Holiday Inn (Middletown, RI)
AirBnB (Aquidneck Island)


Newport Mansions
Green Animals Topiary Garden
Newport Art Museum
Redwood Library and Athenæum
Downtown Newport, RI
Downtown Bristol, RI


The Portsmouth Institute summer conference is hosted annually at the beautiful Abbey of Saint Gregory the Great (Portsmouth Abbey). Portsmouth Abbey is a community of Benedictine monks on Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.  The monks’ mission is to seek God guided by the Gospel, the Rule of St. Benedict, and by prayer and work to sanctify ourselves and our community.

The monastery was purchased in 1918 by Dom Leonard Sargent, an American monk of Downside Abbey in England and established formally in 1919 by Pope Benedict XV.  In keeping with the congregation’s early history, we run a college preparatory boarding school for boys and girls.  The monks also focus on scholarly and artistic work, hospitality, and liturgical observance.

The English Congregation of which Portsmouth Abbey is a member is the older of the Benedictine congregations.  It has canonical continuity with the first congregation erected in the 13th century by the Holy See.

The monks run schools attached to their monasteries and look after parishes near them.  In the United States, there are two other monasteries, one in Washington, DC (St. Angel Abbey) and another in St. Louis (St. Louis Priory).  Both run day schools for boys.

Fr Augustine Baker in the early 1600’s emphasized contemplative and mental prayer, a tradition that continues at Portsmouth and the other houses of the Benedictine Congregation.