emmanuel school of mission


Students of ESM singing at St. Peter’s square with World Youth Day cross.

The Emmanuel School of Mission is: AMAZING! I just spent the last 3 minutes trying to write and re-write how I would present the foundation of the school, it’s purpose, it’s objective, it’s audience… but words like amazing, life changing, beautiful, challenging, exciting and monumental were overriding my  attempt of a ” formal introduction”. I shall try again…

The Emmanuel School of Mission is a nine month faith formation program run through the Emmanuel Community. There are four schools of mission; Rome, France, Germany and the Philippines. Each school is founded upon four fundamental pillars: Spiritual Life, Academic Life, Community Life and Mission. The program is geared for youth 18-30 years of age, from all countries around the world.

I attended the E.S.M Rome in the 2013/2014 school year. I will give a brief overview of each pillar and how the year is organized.* side note* If you are searching to deepen your Catholic faith and learn more about the Church, then E.S.M might be something to pray about.

Spiritual Life

Each day, the students of the school are blessed with the opportunity to have daily mass, an hour of adoration, and a time of praise. If at this point, you are thinking  that sounds a little bit too intense for me…  don’t worry. I was the exact same and I really thought it sounded too Catholic. Needless to say, my worries were for naught. I received the best kind of JOY and PEACE in receiving the Eucharist every day. What a blessing it was.

Also, we had many different retreats ( some silent, some not), we had daily opportunities for confession and time for personal prayer in the chapel which was located in our house.

Academic Life

At the school, we spent a lot of time studying, and being taught by incredible professors and priests. A few of our teachers were priests working at the vatican and volunteering their time to teach us. We had classes in apologetics, patristiscs, sacraments, lectio divina, theology and Italian. We had extra courses on Islam, Judaism, Moral Theology, Theology of the Body, Education and the New Evangelization… the list could really go on.

We spent a portion of the year completing an essay on ” Who is God?”. Try delving into that topic for a while… it might make your brain hurt a bit. Trying to fit God into a few thousand words is no easy feat.

Community Life

One of the greatest gifts of the school, was the brothers and sisters I lived with! We were 18 students from 13 countries: Lithuania, Germany, France, Belgium, Latvia, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Russia, England, Romania, Sweeden, Kazakhstan. To spend the year with these beautiful men and women, was a gift beyond measure. I learned about new cultures, new perspectives, new foods, new traditions. Most of all though, I learned about love. How to love my brothers and sisters, and how to serve others. It was a huge challenge at times, for all of us- but so rewarding. My favourite thing about community, was the random spurts of singing and praise that would happen. While standing in line for gellato, or walking to the Vatican… someone would start a song, and the rest of us would continue! Every day we had mass, praise, adoration, meals, classes, and evening activities together. The amount of laughter, joy and fun we had was crazy!


Perhaps the most important aspect of the year was mission. This was taking everything we had received, from our spiritual life, academic life, community life, and sharing it with others! A few concrete examples were when we would take tea and coffee to the homeless on Wednesday afternoons, or take the World Youth Day Cross to St. Peter’s square to speak with pilgrims and tourists. We went on mission to Belgium and spoke to university students, held prayer evenings, facilitated mass and liturgies and worked with the local parishes. Just being 18 youth on fire for the Lord was often enough. People would comment on the joy they saw in us. Now, this was not by anything we had done, but by the Holy Spirit. It was amazing to see how He would work through us when we let him!


To conclude, I will just say that: When you give yourself to the Lord, he will bless you with amazing gifts. These gifts might be totally unexpected, but they are all part of his incredible plan for you! The school is a wonderful way to grow in your faith, to understand why you believe what you believe, to meet brothers and sisters who are also striving for holiness, to live in the Eternal city and to share this joy of the gospel with the world. God bless!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwMzR_GbtRE ( Promo Video of E.S.M 2013-2014)



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