The Religious Family of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) is proud to introduce, for the first time in the United States, Universitas, a summer event offering Catholic formation for college students. This event is focused on giving students in university “The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason,” the way in which Catholic theology can enter “into the debates of our time.”[1]

DSCN3170 Hike

The four-day event will take place at the Institute’s St. Patrick Retreat House in Cairo, New York. This retreat center is located at the foot of New York’s impressive Catskill Mountains, making hiking a must! Along with lectures over the course of the four days, there will also be excursions “verso l’alto!” – “Towards the heights!” – like the patron of youth himself, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, an avid climber while in the university. Be ready to top some summits and experience the beauty of God’s creation!

WYD Madrid 1 060Witness

In his final World Youth Day, Blessed Pope John Paul II said that “The Church needs genuine witnesses for the new evangelization [sic]: men and women whose lives have been transformed by meeting with Jesus, men and women who are capable of communicating this experience to others.” Universitas is designed with the purpose of our late Holy Father in mind. The modern university can be a hostile place for the Catholic Faith; challenged by rationalism, atheism, historicism, secularism college students need to know how to answer contemporary attacks on the Faith to bring about the conversion of the world to Christ. As Pope Leo XIII testified – “Christians are… born for combat.”[2]

One of the most important aspects of Universitas is fraternity. Speaking to college students in 2011, Pope Benedict reiterated, “We do not live alone in this world. And it is for the important things of life that we have to rely on other people. Particularly in our faith, then, we do not stand alone, we are links in the great chain of believers. Nobody can believe unless he is supported by the faith of others, and conversely, through my faith, I help to strengthen others in their faith.”



Universitas is an opportunity for college students to take this truth to heart. Those who attend will have four days to spend, perhaps for the first time, with other young men and women who share their same ideals, their same convictions, striving for holiness in that great contest of Faith.


convivencia 086Faith

In addition to hiking excursions, talks, and sports, time will be provided daily for the Holy Mass and for reception of the Sacrament of Confession. The sacraments are the “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us,”[3] the mainstay of every Catholic. These times for prayer are crucial to strengthen the soul, preparing students to be open to God’s Word and Will in their life.

The cost for this year’s Universitas has been kept to a minimum at $70 for the four days, from May 18th-22nd. Saint Patrick’s Retreat Center can be found at 348 Sunside Rd, Durham, NY 12423 (Drive through Blackthorne Resort and make a right where Sunside road dead-ends at Co. Rd. 20). For more information or to register, please contact us at We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Blessed John Paul II, pray for us!

[1] Pope Benedict XVI, Regensburg Address

[2] Pope Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae, 14

[3] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1131