Our Culture

Our Culture
Spiritual Patrons

Starting with the 2016-17 academic year, our four quarters, or terms, will correspond to four saints who are also Doctors of the Church.

St. Margaret of Scotland, patron of learning and family, is our school patron.
Thérèse Term (1st Quarter) is under the patronage of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
Damascus Term (2nd Quarter) is under the patronage of St. John Damascene.
Aquinas Term (3rd Quarter) is under the patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Catherine Term (4th Quarter) is under the patronage of St. Catherine of Siena.

Mass & The Sacraments

We attend Mass every Friday morning, usually at St. Barnabas Catholic Church. In weeks when St. Barnabas doesn’t have a daily Mass on Friday, we go to Immaculate Conception, St. Lawrence, or St. John the Baptist. Occasionally, on feast days, Mass will be celebrated on campus.

Opportunities for confession on campus are not (at the moment) on a fixed schedule, but they come, usually, at least once a quarter.

Fr. Adrian Porras serves as our Interim Spiritual Adviser.


“Leisure,” Josef Pieper reminds us, “is the basis of culture.” In his short essay, “Work, Spare Time, and Leisure,” he warns us not to misunderstand leisure as spare time. “Spare time [i]s a break from work in order to recover, a time after work to restore one’s strength for more work. …Loafing is the exact opposite of engaging in leisure.” Rather, leisure is “an activity in which man’s true and proper good, his genuine richness, fullest life, and most perfect happiness is attained.” Leisure is to “behold the very essence of reality” and this “activity that is meaningful in itself can happen in countless actual forms.”

The curriculum and community life at Canongate spring from and aim at these particular forms of leisure, these ways of beholding reality.

“A particularly venerable form… is religious mediation, the contemplative immersion of the self into the divine mysteries. Another form is philosophical reflection, which should not be conceived as limited to some specialized academic discipline. Anybody can ponder human deeds and happenings and thus gaze into the unfathomable depths of destiny and history; anybody can get absorbed in the contemplation of a rose or human face and thus touch the mystery of creation; everybody, therefore, participates in the quest that has stirred the minds of the great philosophers since the beginning. We see another form of such activity in the creation of the artist, who… make[s] visible and tangible in speech, sound, color, and stone, the archetypal essences of all things as he was privileged to perceive them. But those, too, who experience the spark of poetry while listening to a poem, who behold a sculpture and perceive the artist’s intention — yes, those who only listen and observe, as long as the conditions are right, can also touch, in contemplation, the core of all reality.

Notice: leisure can be experienced by anyone — if the conditions are right.

Canongate was founded to partner with parents to provide the right conditions: to restore a learning environment in which young people can have leisure and become free (before they leave the home for college or career or the religious or married life).

“Wherever the arts are nourished through the festive contemplation of universal realities and their sustaining reasons, there in truth something like a liberation occurs: the stepping-out into the open sky, not only for the creative artist himself but for the beholder as well, even the most humble. Such liberation, such foreshadowing of the ultimate and perfect fulfillment, is necessary for man, almost more necessary than his daily bread, which is indeed indispensable and yet insufficient.”
~Josef Pieper

The Arts

Music, theatre, dance, rhetoric, art and literature are not enrichment courses at Canongate. They’re the foundation on which we build our school identity and our community life. As glorious as scientific knowledge of the world is, and as useful and profitable as it is in today’s economy, the arts, for their humanizing power, deserve our greatest respect. To help foster this respect for the nature of art, all students participate in the art courses offered each semester.

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

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