Editor’s Note: The Cardinal Newman Society, a nonprofit organization based in Virginia that promotes and defends faithful Catholic education, recently announced that Jacob Kristine, a homeschooled student from Pennsylvania, is the winner of the Society’s 2023 Essay Scholarship Contest for Catholic college-bound students. Kristine received a $5,000 scholarship toward his education at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., this fall. Below is the full text of his winning essay. More information about the contest can be found here, and rising high school seniors who would like to compete in next year’s contest can sign up for our Recruit Me program here.
I have had the blessed opportunity to see the value of a truly Catholic college education played out in the lives of four of my older siblings. My older brothers and sister have attended a school that is not just Catholic in name, but fosters an environment that allows one to “breathe Catholic” in all aspects during the most crucial formative years for a young man or woman. They are now living lives imbued with the True, the Good, and the Beautiful in their chosen vocations.
Their quest for higher learning led them to an institution which encourages and provides the tools necessary for gaining the wisdom needed to seek out and live out the Truth. They were treated to professors who infused every lecture with the life of Christ and His Church. The core curriculum’s bedrock, founded upon theology, philosophy, and the other liberal arts, allowed them to not just learn facts and statistics, but to actively and prayerfully think and engage in conversations to further illuminate the topic.
College life is more than the fifteen to twenty hours spent in a classroom each week. Being at a Catholic college brings the opportunity to meet and develop friendships that will bring out the Good in each individual. The friendships my siblings forged throughout their four years among like-minded followers of Christ have challenged them to grow in wisdom, remain faithful to God through worship and devotional practices, and encouraged virtuous living without sacrificing fun, laughter, and an abundantly joy-filled life—then and now.
But what good is an education that teaches Truth and promotes the Good unless it allows one to appreciate and seek the Beautiful? True beauty not only pleases the eye but stirs the intellect and feeds the soul. The divine liturgy is celebrated at their alma mater with deep reverence and with utmost care in order to solidify the reality of the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Likewise, outside of the Holy Mass, each student’s spiritual formation has every opportunity to flourish and grow by making devotional life accessible and desirable.
My siblings have bestowed upon me the great riches of understanding what gifts a truly Catholic college can impart to a young person. I have seen firsthand how this pursuit of Truth leads to a life that is Good and wholesome and sincerely promotes seeking the Creator of Beauty. I want to be immersed in that experience. In the fall of 2023, I will embark upon the path forged by my brothers and sister in seeking the True, embracing the Good, and drinking in the richness of the Beauty of a Catholic education.