Home » Program » Community » Columbanus Fellowship

What makes a person to be educated?  Institutions of higher learning in the United States of America, in recent decades, have answered this question with narrowed focus on specializations, often at the cost of both deep and comprehensive intellectual development. It is little accident that, regardless of their degrees or credentials, many persons today seem less capable of clear thinking.  Universities, given the arduous task of cultivating the human mind, have largely abandoned this duty. The Lyceum Institute offers a different path: one which strives both to plant deep and nourish continually in the human mind those habits which grow into insight and meaning for all of life. 

St. Columban

Among our inspirations for this approach is St. Columban, (c.543–615AD), an Irish monk, missionary, and dedicated student of language and the Trivium.   That his education would not be in vain, St. Columban turned away from all the fruitless pleasures of the world and practiced a rigorous self-discipline. As his first biographer (a monk named Jonas who studied under the great saint) writes, Columban, once emerged from childhood, “began to devote himself enthusiastically to the pursuit of grammar and the sciences, and studied with fruitful zeal all through his boyhood and youth, until he became a man.” 

Threated by the “lusts of the world”, however, he feared that his studies would be in vain should he follow the conventional ways of the world.  Thus, he sought refuge from error and confusion in a holy life. After entering a monastery in his native Ireland, Columban gave himself over entirely to self-discipline, “that he who was to instruct others might first instruct himself.”  This humility was characteristic of all his life, through which he utilized his talents in rhetoric and knowledge of grammar to spread a consistent message of virtue: one that united learning with living well. He embraced this unity wherever he went, and used it to spread the truth eloquently. Often, this required great courage on his part: he was shy about remonstrating neither kings nor popes. Yet always he did so in a spirit of humility.  Too few are those, today, who seek a moderation of pleasure so that the mind may be enlarged instead, and even fewer seek learning as the means to a virtuous life—seeing it, instead, as only a tool by which the material conditions of animal living may be bettered. 

The Fellowship

In an effort to provide this opportunity to serious students, we are proud to provide the Columbanus Fellowship.  This Fellowship, the first offered at the Lyceum Institute, accepts applications from the public and currently-enrolled Lyceum members alike.  Each recipient is a full member of the Lyceum Institute, free of charge, for two years.  During those two years, the Fellow will take a rigorous course of study in the Classical Trivium—Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric—take at least two Philosophy Seminars, study either Latin, Greek, or a combination of the two, and defend a Quaestio Disputata.

Columbanus Fellows are expected to dedicate no fewer than 10 hours (and likely more than 20) per week to study at the Lyceum Institute.  They also agree to limit all exposure to and usage of social media and are expected to keep their entertainment consumption to a minimum, pursuing instead true leisure: that betterment of the mind and soul discussed so admirably by Josef Pieper. Applications will be open from September through November every other year.


The Columbanus Fellowship combines core Trivium requirements with a selection of language and philosophy courses.  Courses required of all Fellows are in bold.  Students may take either Latin or Greek but must take one or the other.  Students who have taken Latin I-II must either declare to continue with Latin III or switch to Greek I.

First Year

  • Winter
    • Art of Grammar I: Foundations
    • Latin I: Foundations
  • Spring
    • Art of Logic I: Basics of Argumentation
    • Latin II: Foundations
  • Summer
    • Latin III: Foundations or Greek I: Foundations
    • Philosophy Seminar
      • Introduction to Philosophical Thinking, Introduction to a Living Thomism, Aquinas’ Cosmological Vision, or Aristotle’s Organon
  • Fall
    • Art of Rhetoric I: Discovery of Arguments
    • Greek II: Foundations
    • Quaestiones DisputataeInquirere

Second Year

  • Winter
    • Art of Grammar II: Composition
    • Advanced Latin or Greek III: Foundations
  • Spring
    • Art of Logic II: Advanced Argumentation
    • Quaestiones Disputatae – Formal Preparation
  • Summer
    • Advanced Latin or Greek
    • Philosophy Seminar
      • Any primary seminar in Ethics, Thomistic Psychology, Semiotics, or Politics and Culture
  • Fall
    • Art of Rhetoric II: Styles of Persuasion
    • Quaestiones DisputataeDefensio

We have great expectations for this program to cultivate the virtue of studiousness in its Fellows! St. Columban, pray for us.

Applications are open for 2024-25 from September 1st—21st November 2023.

%d bloggers like this: