“Brothers and sisters:
Our citizenship is in heaven, 
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”



What is the relationship between man-as-citizen and man-as-Christian? Is there a distinction between the two? What happens when the two come into conflict, as often occurs in the modern world? And how can we come to understand man as a true Christian citizen—fully Christian, fully citizen—in modern society? In our customary interdisciplinary fashion, the Portsmouth Institute will consider the nature and prospects for Christian citizenship in the 21st century through a study of literature, theology, history, and philosophy. We will bring the Catholic intellectual tradition of 2,000 years to bear on temporary conversations of faith and culture. This June, join the Portsmouth Institute and prominent scholars, clergy, opinion-makers and community leaders for thoughtful reflection, convivial friendship, reverent worship, and sacred music. This intellectual retreat is hosted at Portsmouth Abbey, a Benedictine monastery and boarding school up the road from Newport, Rhode Island on the banks of the Narragansett Bay.



Portsmouth Abbey and St. Louis Priory School First-Time Parent Attendees
Receive 50% Discount: Use Discount Code PARENT19


R.R. Reno
First Things

Thomas Hibbs, PhD
President, University of Dallas

Leah Libresco
Building the Benedict Option

Daniel Mahoney, PhD
Assumption College

Father Cuthbert Elliott, O.S.B.
Saint Louis Abbey and Priory School

Sister Maria Francesca Wiley, O.P.
St. Pius V School

Donald Cowan, MFA
Portsmouth Abbey School

Enrique Pallares, PhD
 Casa Carmen Winery and Vineyards

Friday, June 14

3:00 PM: Conference Check-In
5:30 PM: Vespers in the Abbey Church
6:00 PM: Opening Reception
7:00 PM: Dinner and Session 1: Leah Libresco, “Building the Benedict Option: An Invitation to Hospitality”
8:30 PM: Evening Hospitality in the Winter Garden

Saturday, June 15

9:00 AM: Session 2: Daniel Mahoney, “The Great Crossroad for the Church: The Religion of Humanity or Political Reason Informed by Faith”
10:30 AM: Session 3: Panel: Catholic Education and Christian Citizenship with Dr. Thomas Hibbs, Fr. Cuthbert Elliott, O.S.B. and Sr. Maria Francesca Wiley, O.P.

11:30 AM: Lunch
1:00 PM: Session 4: Enrique Pallares on Living at Cana: God, Wine and Community
2:30 PM: Musical Performance in the Abbey Church
4:00 PM: Premium Reception at Aquidneck Club (Premium Registrants Only)
4:00 PM: General Reception at Portsmouth Abbey School (For All Attendees)
5:30 PM: Vespers
6:00 PM: Session 5: Dinner and Keynote Address by R. R. Reno on the State of the Christian Citizen in America
8:00 PM: Evening Hospitality in the Winter Garden

Sunday, June 16

9:30 AM: Mass Celebrated by the Portsmouth Abbey and Saint Louis Abbey monastic communities in the Abbey Church
10:30 AM: Session 6: Donald Cowan “Christianity and Citizenship in Shakespeare’s The Tempest


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)

Holiday Inn (Middletown, RI)
Marriott Courtyard (Middletown, RI)
Room block available under “Portsmouth Abbey”
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 themselves and their 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. Anselm’s Abbey) and another in St. Louis (St. Louis Abbey).  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.