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  • CMEC 2019 Annual Summer Retreat

CMEC 2019 Annual Summer Retreat

  • 12 Jul 2019
  • 9:00 AM (UTC-04:00)
  • 13 Jul 2019
  • 5:00 PM (UTC-04:00)
  • Eastern University


  • Dinner will be held locally on Friday evening and will include a lecture by Dr. Jeanne Schindler.
  • The full conference includes two days of sessions and workshops, lunch and refreshments both days, and dinner on Friday evening.

CMEC Annual Summer Retreat 
July 12-13, 2019

The Beautiful Person Within: A Living Approach to Character Formation

“Such a panorama of human nature, with its heights and hollows, its hopes and its risks…should help us to realize that our dreams of greatness fall short of the truth, that each of us has indeed a great and beautiful person within him, only waiting to be produced to the world; but that this beauteous person has many enemies also within. The hope [is to] liberate the beautiful self which is himself; and also to see that everyone has a beautiful self waiting to be let out. St. George and the dragon is a fable each of us is called to enact.”

~Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

Retreat Details:

Eastern University, Warner Memorial Library
1300 Eagle Rd
St Davids, PA 19087

Friday, July 12

8:15-8:45 Check In.

9:00 Welcome.
9:30am to 4:45pm.  Workshops and Afternoon Occupations.
Lunch and Refreshment Breaks provided.
6:00pm Dinner at Le Pain Quotidien, with an evening lecture by Jeanne Schindler.

(223 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, PA 19087)

Saturday, July 13
9:00am to 4:45pm.  Workshops and Afternoon Occupations.
Lunch and Refreshment Breaks provided.

Retreat Overview:

This retreat combines philosophy, method, and practical advice. Time for narration and reflection, personal examples, and workshop-style materials will be woven into the schedule. Attendees will be offered both a solid grounding in Mason principles and an actionable plan for implementation in the home.

Talks and workshops will cover Character Formation from a broad viewpoint:

  • A Vision for Character Formation
  • The Role of the Curriculum: Living Material and Living Methods in Character Formation
  • Growing in Virtue Through Narration and Notebook Keeping
  • Cultivating Magnanimity: The Scope of Citizenship, including immersion lessons of Ourselves and Plutarch’s Lives
  • Building the Foundation for Habit: Considering the Early Years
  • Growing in Habit: Guiding Older Children in the Way of the Will
  • Habits of Life for Mothers and Teachers
  • “Captain Ideas” for Character in the Home
  • The Posture of the Parent: Masterly Inactivity, Peace and Cheerfulness, Sympathy and Trust

Active Rest Breaks will include immersions in Picture Study, Swedish Drill, Folksongs, Singing Games, and Poetry Recitation!

Afternoon Occupations will include handicrafts instruction (with time to complete a paper-crafting project) and a brush-drawing lesson (led by the Mason Academy’s art teacher, Lynda Nestor, who has spent years studying Mason’s work and teaches from her approach).

Friday Evening Dinner Lecture:

Dr. Schindler will discuss the great educational task of shaping the affections of our students so that they come to love what is truly worth loving.  She will argue that the foundation of this task is a proper understanding of creation and man's unique place within it.  Once the basic goodness of the world is recognized, the endeavor to learn can be a profoundly joyful experience.

Special Bonus: The Retreat Handbook, artistically designed and full of inspiration, includes a guide to the retreat and resources for the mother-teacher.

Workshop Notes :: Several pages are dedicated to each of the workshops, collecting all of the quotes shared in the retreat talks. This allows the listener to engage, narrate, and ponder through the retreat, secure in the knowledge that these selections from the volumes will be there for to revisit later.

The Reader :: A special collection of brand new articles centered on Character Formation from The Parents' Review, to provide both philosophical and practical insights into how we can better orient ourselves, and our schoolrooms, to meet our aims.

Appendix :: Helpful resources, hands-on planning materials, and sample tools from the Snell and Cruz households.


Celeste Cruz
Celeste lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their nine children, all age 13 and under. Once upon a time she was training to be an English professor; now she can usually be found with a baby strapped to her back and littles underfoot as she learns alongside her six school-aged kids. She discovered Charlotte Mason before her children were born and has been an enthusiastic devotee ever since. She enjoys working with Mason mother-teachers across a variety of platforms: writing for
Common Place Quarterly, curating content @charlottemasonirl and @keepingcompanycm, organizing retreats for Charlotte Mason West, running a local Mason nature club and study group, and sharing the joys of Catholic Charlotte Mason home education at Joyous Lessons and @celeste_cruz.

Amy Snell

With a graduate degree in Literature from the University of California-Irvine, Amy Snell had taught in a variety of classroom environments. Amy then discovered the 19th century British educator, Charlotte Mason, whose philosophy quickly convinced her to begin homeschooling her five children. As her family thrived using Mason’s methods, Amy wanted to share and learn more about Mason’s philosophy with others, including speaking at the Charlotte Mason Institute National Conference, hosting Mason book discussions and workshops for parents, running a Nature Study Club, facilitating Truth, Beauty, Goodness afternoons, and creating the Mason Academy as director, teacher, and parent. Amy now serves as the Board President of the Charlotte Mason Educational Center of PA and as its Curriculum and Methodology Consultant.

Friday Evening Lecture Dr. Jeanne Schindler

Dr. Jeanne Schindler is a Fellow of the John Paul II Institute.  Until 2013 she was an associate professor at Villanova University.  Dr. Schindler's intellectual interests are interdisciplinary, integrating philosophy, theology, and political science.  She has lectured and published in a variety of areas, including Catholic social thought and democratic theory.  She edited Christianity and Civil Society: Catholic and Neo-Calvinist Perspectives (2008) and co-edited with her husband, D.C. Schindler, A Robert Spaemann Reader (Oxford University Press, 2015).  Dr. Schindler is a homeschooling mother of three children.


Rooms may be reserved at the Courtyard Marriott Philadelphia Devon (762 W Lancaster Ave, Wayne, PA 19087) and must be made online or by phone at 1-800-321-2211 or 610-687-6633 before June 21, 2019. Please indicate that you are part of the Charlotte Mason Educational Center (CMEC) group.


Full retreat registration: $160 includes daily lunch and refreshments, as well as Friday dinner and lecture. 

Friday Evening Dinner and Lecture only: $30 to attend only the Friday dinner.

All tickets are non-refundable. 

Our Host:

We are grateful for the sponsorship of The Templeton Honors College.

The Templeton Honors College is a four-year undergraduate program in an intellectually demanding learning community that forms students for whole lives of Christian excellence. At Templeton we are committed to helping each student discern their vocation while they grow intellectually, morally, spiritually, and aesthetically. Our curriculum combines the Great Books approach to education with a classical liberal arts vision of an educated person. Our goal at Templeton is to form Christian students for lives of moral standing, public service, ordered liberty, and faithfulness in the Church; and our pedagogy is to sit together in small, semester-long seminars to discuss and debate what the wisest, most originative thinkers have written concerning the enduring human questions. In this context, under the care of the Templeton faculty, young people enter the tradition of Christian liberal education, where Christ the Logos is seen as the Reason of God who gives light to every person in the world (John 1:4).

An Eastern University campus map is available here.

Infants and Children:

You are welcome to bring an infant with you to this retreat. Please be prepared to take a crying baby out of our meeting space so as not to distract the other attendees. We are not able to accommodate older children or teens at this conference. 

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