Guiding Principles

Real Learning: An Emphasis on a ‘Return to the Sources’

Primary texts are invaluable in both communicating the splendor of truth and inculcating wonder

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“The sessions were informative and engaging”

Rural Catechist


Alcuin understood that the movement of the mind from a state of ignorance to a state of knowledge, though at times difficult, ought not be a cold, sterile, and impersonal act that hardens the soul. Education should instead resemble a well-planned meal, advancing from course to course, each plate preparing the next, in the end leaving the guest utterly satisfied yet somehow desiring more. The pleasure of the feast is a result of the company kept and the food served. Alcuin maintained that the best intellectual diet consisted of ‘ancient’ fare, that is ‘toothsome food’ that has been proven to cause health and vitality.

The Alcuin Institute seeks to return to this kind of education, one that is at once broad and deep, yet light and whimsical and thoroughly grounded in the primary sources of the Christian West; the deer and pheasant to be found in our very own precincts. Such a feast among friends in Christ is “the best that life can offer.”

Real Friendship: The Cultivation of Authentic Community

Both education and culture are ‘handed down’ most effectively in a community of friends


The transmission of the faith—like the sharing of a glass of wine or a loaf of bread—is a communal act. Alcuin’s educational program hinged upon what was later described by Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman as the importance of “personal influence.” Cor ad cor loquitur, Newman tells us, “Heart speaks to heart.” One drinks with friends, just as one should transmit the faith within the context of deep and authentic friendship.

Like Alcuin and Newman, our faculty treasures the importance of deep friendship centered on Christ. The truths of the Gospel, like choice wine, are best enjoyed when shared with others. Accordingly, the Alcuin Institute is committed to the cultivation of authentic friendships, so that through these the heart may be open to truth, truth may be pursued, and the will rightly formed … all while having a good time!

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“A wonderful way to learn in community”

Urban Catechist

Real Living: the Integration of the Truths of Faith

The truths of faith have a direct impact on all aspects of life—personal, social, political, & religious

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“We left with a greater sense of wonder and gratitude”

Cultural Event Participant


The Alcuin Institute shares in the historical quest for the most exact understanding of truth in order to bring its saving power closer to ourselves and others. In this sense and in this sense alone we are a ‘school,’ a place of truth-seeking for its own sake. Unlike other schools, we—like Alcuin—are equally concerned with the concrete integration of these truths into every aspect of our daily lives.

Alcuin understood that deep and lasting cultural reform requires more than simply knowing the truth; abiding cultural renewal demands freely and foolishly conforming ourselves and our environment to the same truth. To this end, the Alcuin Institute provides opportunities for individuals to ground and refine their aesthetic senses, inviting others into dialogue about how to incarnate the truly good and beautiful into their homes and places of work.