When we think of the liberal arts, we typically think of activities that primarily take place in the mind and the imagination, arts corresponding to the fundamental verbal and mathematical disciplines of grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy.
While the traditional subjects of the liberal arts are not in doubt, this characterization is incomplete. (One can, after all, study these subjects in an illiberal way.) Another essential characteristic of the liberal arts is that these arts are studied for their own sake. It is this feature that marks the athletic clubs and activities at Magdalen College: we engage in them for relaxation, restoration, leisure, and the building-up of friendship and community. These are noble ends conducive to higher purposes.
And no doubt the ancient Greeks would approve. Among ancient writers on education, Plato described education as consisting of two basic disciplines: music and gymnastics. Both categories include far more than the terms currently designate, but they indicate an important understanding of the need for an education that includes attention to the body and the benefits that a healthy body contributes to a mind open to learning.
And how much more would we, who live after the Incarnation, affirm this attention to our embodied nature.
Feasting & Celebrations
Students at Magdalen College embrace the good things of life, including the opportunity for a social community born of common interests and commitments. Some of these emerge from natural interests, including swing dances, film series, poetry and literature readings, coffee houses featuring student performances, theatrical productions, athletic activities, bonfires, the Sophomore Dinner, snowball fights (usually following the first major snow), and the Winter Ball. Others flow from the Catholic ethos of the college, including feast days and celebrations, pilgrimages, service trips, students’ baptismal days, and the great traditions associated with the fall semester’s “Lessons and Carols” and the Easter Vigil Feast in the spring. Whatever its source and form, students enjoy community together, sharing their lives with one another.
Athletics & Active Living
The Magdalen College campus is located just above the base of a mountain in beautiful New England. There are many opportunities to be active both indoors and out. Students begin each year with the annual hike of Mt. Kearsarge and canoe trip on the Contoocook River. Each student receives a free ski pass to Pats Peak, a local ski resort. The college gym includes a full-sized basketball court, and volleyball and tennis nets. Each residence includes a fitness room.
As the Greeks understood, authentic education trains both body and soul. Students at Magdalen College play a variety of intramural sports in both formal and informal settings. The College is equipped with a spacious gym that includes a tennis court and basketball hoops.
Throughout the year the students participate in regular tournaments and pick-up games in a variety of sports including soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball, football, and hockey. In the fall the students play at least ten games of soccer on our full-size outdoor soccer field overlooking the beautiful Mink Hills. Volleyball—played in our expanded gym—is a much-loved game played in the evenings after classes and homework, bringing together students from all different skill levels. Students also use the local recreational field to play co-ed games of softball.
Hockey is played both in our gym throughout the winter as well as on an ice pond that is utilized for hockey and skating in the winter months. (The college has a collection of ice skates for the students to borrow.)
Skiing and Snowboarding (following the example of John Paul II)
With an average annual snow fall that is rivaled by only six other states and a free ski-pass for all students, the four years of study at Magdalen College are also the perfect time to enjoy skiing and snowboarding. The college provides multiple and regular shuttles to Pat’s Peak and with a valid student ID, students can rent ski gear for only $10 and enjoy unlimited free lift access. In addition to skiing, snowtubing is also available free of charge on Fridays and Saturdays.
Magdalen College understands that the fine arts and the created beauty of nature are ways that we can travel ever closer toward an encounter with God. The College simultaneously affirms the goodness of human making, rooted in the goodness of material creation and the crafts that undergird significant cultural products. This twofold perspective of the arts finds its place in our Program of Studies, where students take four years of music and can select other art courses as well. We also offer an Arts of the Beautiful program, which offers students opportunities to engage concerts, museums, theatre productions, and other cultural experiences in Boston, Manchester, Concord, and beyond.
Magdalen College is located in Warner, New Hampshire and occupies 135 acres of pine and hardwood forest, open fields, gravel footpaths, and stone walls that are remnants of late-nineteenth century farms. The buildings and layout of the campus are designed as a traditional New England village.
Students enjoy climbing Mt. Kearsarge (on which the College is located), swimming in the Warner River, attending the Warner Fall Foliage Festival, visiting the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, spending time at the local covered bridge, serving at the local food pantry, visiting our local bookshop Mainstreet Bookends, singing at the Festival of Christmas Trees, and visiting the residents of Pine Rock Manor, the local senior living community.
At Magdalen College, students form a variety of student organizations. Each year begins with a student activities fair at which each organization sets up a booth and promotes its activities. Every year, new organizations begin while established groups grow in exciting ways. In addition to those described below, some of the student organizations presently running at Magdalen include the Catholic Monarch (student newspaper), the Chesterton Society, American Kenpo Karate, the TS Eliot Club, and the Gardening Club. Students are encouraged to start their own club according to their particular skills and interests!
The Student Ambassadors serves as an open channel of communication between the student body and the President of the College. The ambassadors meet with the President at least once each semester for the purpose of discussing matters of college life. The cohort of ambassadors has as its primary focus the mission of the College and helps to foster that mission in the community’s life.
St. Genesius Players (Drama Club)
The St. Genesius Players are dedicated to bringing excellent theatrical productions to the College and local community by performing at least one major play or musical each year. The troupe welcomes all levels of acting ability and encourages all students to come and immerse themselves in the craft of acting so that they may better understand the true form of the art and enrich student life through beautiful and compelling works of the theater. Recent performances have included The Importance of Being Earnest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Alcestis, Twelfth Night, Pride & Prejudice, and Arsenic & Old Lace.
Knights of Columbus
In the spring semester of 2012, Jonathan Camara (class of 2013) began the process of establishing a council at the College. The first inductions took place in March and April that semester. Council activities focus on developing leadership skills and include working with the campus pro-life club (Spes Vitae), assisting at the Warner Fall Foliage Festival, different service projects around the school, as well as working with other college councils from New England.
The Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Hiking Club
The Pier Giorgio Hiking club, founded in 2013, was established for the enjoyment of God’s creation and to provide leisurely exercise. The club features hiking within New Hampshire’s forests and trails as well as spend time with members of the Magdalen College community.
Nestled at the base of Mt. Kearsarge and just miles from the White Mountains, the Magdalen College campus is the ideal location for an active hiking club. Members of the club undertake a range of moderate to advanced hikes, the most advanced being the Franconia Ridge Mountain Range, an eight-mile hike. Other locations near campus include Rollins St. Park, Mt. Sunapee, Mine Falls Park, and others.
The students hike in the spirit of their patron, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who once said “The higher we go, the better we shall hear the voice of Christ.” He was known for his piety and dedication to works of social action, charity, prayer and community. He was also a lover of nature and enjoyed participating in outdoor activities, especially hiking.
At Magdalen College, music is all around—inside the classroom and beyond. Students sing and play as soloists or form their own ensembles, performing extemporaneously and in more formal settings (such as at Parents’ Weekend). Students also attend concerts, operas, and ballets in Boston and Concord.
Our collegiate choirs exist at the heart of our musical life together. There is the all-college choir that sings at our Sunday Mass, has produced six recordings in its history, has sung at the Boston Eucharistic Congress, and sings each year at the cathedral for the Red Mass and the Feast of Christ the King. The choir also offers a beautiful Lessons and Carols service on the Feast of Saint Nicholas during Advent for the collegiate and local community. The culmination of the choir’s year comes during Holy Week, particularly at the Easter Vigil. Students also participate in the polyphony choir and various chant ensembles.
Confraternity of Saint Joseph and Sodality of Mary
The Confraternity of Saint Joseph for men, and the Sodality of Mary for women, meet at different times in the president’s home. Each gathers on a semester basis for a home-cooked meal, conversation, prayer, and fellowship.
Spes Vitae is Magdalen College’s pro-life club. Through the club, members have the opportunity to serve the pro-life movement and actively participate in advocating for the protection of all human life. Spes Vitae members participate in the annual March for Life in Washington D.C., and local 40 Days for Life campaigns, as well as club-organized trainings, and speakers.
Societas Latina is devoted to promoting a love of the Latin language outside of the classroom. We meet in order to hold conversations in Latin and to make learning the language both fun and worthwhile. We hold weekly Mensa Latina, so that students can practic the skills thy have learned in the academic program, as well as enjoy the company and words of fellow Latin scholars.
St. Jerome Writing and Presenting Club
The St. Jerome Writing and Presenting Club is a Catholic, student run organization that promotes literacy and creativity. Our society has a dual purpose: as we seek not only to become better writers, but to further comprehend those who have written before us. This is done by discussing different authors and literary styles – which is followed by a writing activity of some sort. We meet monthly, but also have unique events throughout the year.
This is a student-led series of Socratic seminars on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, one of the greatest fantasy authors and philosophers of our age. It meets once a month to discuss Tolkien’s writings in a comfortable and enthusiastic atmosphere.
Several Magdalen students met Bishop Barron during his recent trip to Harvard University! They resonated deeply with his appreciation of the Catholic intellectual tradition, the subject of his address at Harvard‘s Memorial Church.
What a gift he is to our Catholic Church! I am happy for you, Mary Grace🙏🏻🕊
What is a Catholic approach to alcohol? Listen to the latest episode of Magdalen‘s “From the￼ Summit” podcast for a fascinating conversation with Dr. Jared Staudt on fasting, feasting, friendship … and drinking for the glory of God. Listen at magdalen.edu/about/podcast.
Magdalen students welcomed students from Dartmouth College for a brunch and hike up Mt. Kearsarge. Thanks to Fr. Timothy Danaher (Director of Aquinas House at Dartmouth) and Fr. Ethan Moore for celebrating Mass on top of the mountain. ￼