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Year 1: Philosophy

Love of Wisdom: Plato’s Symposium

Tools for the mind: Aristotle’s Categories/Physics

Man’s soul: Chesterton’s Everlasting Man / Hopkins’ Poetry

Virtues / Vices: Lewis’ Screwtape Letters

Family Life: Fr. Sebastian Walshe’s Understanding Marriage & Family

Current moral issues: Gay/Trans, Abortion/Euthanasia, Feminism/Effeminacy 

Proving God’s existence: Thomas’ Summa


Year 2: Theology

Holy Scripture

Life of Christ / Redemption: Escriva’s Christ is Passing By

Tradesman’s spirituality / Prayer: Teresa’s Interior Castle

Holy Trinity: Sheen’s Divine Romance

Our Lady: Alphonsus’ Glories of Mary

Judgment / Heaven: Newman’s Dream of Gerontius

Sacraments: Baltimore Catechism


**Articles from Thomas’ Summa / Thoughts of St. Josemaria Escriva to be used throughout program



Work attire includes pants, belt & tucked shirt.

No hardy work on Sundays.

Men are daily to be present and engaged at mass as well as lunch & dinner.

Those under 21 are not to drink alcohol.

Dirty jokes are forbidden as well as use of the Lord’s name in vain.

Women visiting students are to be introduced to the headmaster upon arrival.

Pornography is forbidden.

Students are free to leave campus on weekends after lunch (normal curfew remaining; special permission may be requested to spend the night off campus).

Weekends are used for extended work study on the property, prayer, and fraternal fun.


Split into squads of about 5 men

Designated leader chosen by team

Weekly rewards: Saturday outings

Team ratings on projects: quality, speed & beauty

 -choice of new projects given to winning teams first


Students are paid for work performed at Santiago Retreat Center. Not only does this partially or completely offset the price of tuition, but it contributes to the fruitful work of the retreat center for souls.


Upon graduation from our trade school, students should expect to be hired by a contractor or Santiago Retreat Center. Santiago’s relationships with numerous construction companies are sure to provide attractive opportunities for graduates.


Daily Schedule:



7:00 – 11:00





Angelus / Lunch


Recreation / Chores



(3x/week trade study,

2x/week formation class)



Angelus / Martyrology / Dinner



Rosary / Scripture




Lights out

Santiago Trade School challenges its students to maintain a generous schedule of work, study, communal life and prayer. The day officially begins at 6:30AM with Lauds prayed as a group, before working between 7AM and 11AM. Work is scheduled in the morning hours so that men may form the habit of attending to their work promptly and as a first priority. 


Holy Mass is celebrated at 11:30AM with the rest of the Santiago Retreat Center community as the central point of the day. Well executed work projects of the morning are an early offering to God that blossom in the sacrifice of the Mass, and the midday liturgy strengthens our men to dedicate themselves to study in the afternoon. Men take a communal lunch following Mass and have an hour for recreation or housework. 


From 2PM - 5PM studies of the trades (3 times per week) as well as formation classes in philosophy, theology & Christian living (twice per week) take place. In the evening, men enjoy dinner as a community, and pray the rosary or meditate on the Scriptures to close the day in the Lord. Lights out is at 11PM.



Cohort I

Cohort III

September - January (Christmas vacation two weeks)



Cohort II

Cohort IV

January - May (Easter vacation)


Summer Intensive 

Mid June through Mid August 


**10 students per cohort / 5 students per squad

STS boasts a four semester program with optional summer intensive courses. After an introductory orientation to the trade school and Santiago Retreat Center, men spend their first semester learning basic trade skills and laying philosophical foundations in the classroom. Friendships are first forged in these months, and students are challenged to work hard and take leaps forward with their skills on the jobsite.



Santiago tradesmen will work on a number of projects throughout their time in the program. Our first priority is to build the St. James Chapel as the spiritual center of the property. Students will have the opportunity to learn how their work can contribute to a sacred structure, and will be tasked with the unique work of finish carpentry, masonry, & more for a church. Beyond the St. James Chapel, work projects would include various forms of retreat housing and retreat center facilities like the future lake basin or basketball courts. Young tradesmen are to learn the joy of seeing a project through from start to finish, making it their own and even designing some aspects themselves. Whether it's the plumbing or the electrical work, whether the drywall or the roofing, our tradesmen will come to realize that good planning, hard work, and refined skills are sure to bear much fruit. This experience will leave its mark on the soul perhaps moreso than such work will be a visible contribution to Santiago Retreat Center.


“My trade is framing…” “Mine is concrete.” What’s yours? 

A trade school has done its job when young men graduate with a particular skill that produces results. What do you want to learn? How can you contribute to the construction industry today? What element of a project do you want to wake up at the crack of dawn to perform, …or after work, what do you want to step back and admire as your craft? Having worked for a year in our trade school, you will be in a position to choose an individual trade to begin understanding and practicing in all its details. This is a work that begins at Santiago Trade School, but takes a lifetime to accomplish. This is a matter of courage for the long days, memory for what the trade has taught you, and confidence in the talent God is entrusting to you.


Students graduate from Santiago Trade School with a bachelor’s in life. This place prepares a man to live well, to work hard, to find happiness, and ultimately, to serve his God. New students should expect to be a different man when they leave our community, and that change will be for the better. Not only will our graduates have received formation in philosophy and theology fit to their position as future tradesmen, but they will be prepared to raise a family and to find well-paying work through Santiago’s network of contractors.

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