This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others.
Elves, wizards, hobbits, magic rings and an impossible mission against a dark lord? What has this got to do with reality? With my life and my mission? EVERYTHING. Come and see.
This is a course blending faith, literature, life, and the masculine mission for middle school to high school level boys. The works and letters of J.R.R. Tolkien as well as various writings of the saints, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Pope Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II will be used to shine a light on the masculine mission of being 1) aware and awake to the wonders of the world 2) a caretaker of the garden of the world, 3) a brother to all in a shared humanity 4) a guardian and defender of the good, the true and the beautiful 5) a steward and protector of the family.
“It’s a living hymn to mercy, humility and the power of Divine Providence. It isn’t a fantasy epic but an epic of virtue… There are so many lessons and examples of perseverance, courage and many other virtues, so necessary for a person of faith… – Sr. Magdalen, Carmelite sister
Class 1: Unlocking the Longing
Being rooted in reality is the place to begin. “It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of the Shire is deep. Still there are things deeper and higher; and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not.” (Samwise Gamgee).
Class 2: Born into Battle
We are all of us born into a battlefield between good and evil, and boyhood is our bootcamp. But what is the fighting for? “War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” (Faramir, Two Towers).
Class 3: The Road Goes Ever On and On
A boy is called out and discovers himself in the gift of himself. “He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.’” (Frodo, of Bilbo).
Class 4: The Rightly Ordered Heart
What does a young man do with the desires of his heart and the attraction of the senses? Where should our passion be placed? ‘In many ways,’ answered the wizard. ‘It is far more powerful than I ever dared to think at first, so powerful that in the end it would utterly overcome anyone of mortal race who possessed it. It would possess him.’” (Gandalf, Fellowship of the Ring).
Class 5: The Fellowship of the Ring
Brotherhood, good friends and encouragement must be part of a boy’s life. The truth that we are not alone but move toward a common purpose is key. “’Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.’” (Aragorn).
Class 6: There and Back Again
Where does the journey lead and where will it end? Family, fatherhood, and the vocation of a man. “And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. He drew a deep breath. “Well, I’m back,” he said.” (Sam’s return home, Return of the King).
The Lord of the Rings: One Volume by J.R.R. Tolkien (http://a.co/4arbceW) and
Walking with Frodo: A Devotional Journey Through the Lord of the Rings by Sarah Arthur, ISBN 978-0842385541 (https://amzn.to/3cK2PRo). Note: While this is a Protestant book, it has a lot of good to offer. Mr. Donaghy will clarify any areas where we disagree as Catholics.
Suggested further reading (not required):
J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth by Bradley J. Birzer, ISBN 978-1932236200 (https://amzn.to/3cBgxpv)
Study on what makes LOTR a “profoundly Catholic and religious work” (Tolkien’s own words) will be undertaken.
Assignments and short essay assessments will be given.
Assignments involving character studies and their application to the saints and the life of virtue will be undertaken.
“Choosing My Fellowship: A Band of Brothers” Project. Who would you want on the journey with you? 4 LOTR characters, and 4 saints.