Monday, October 25, 2021
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Get Thee to a Monastery

UMKC students will have the opportunity to live life as a monk this summer.

Monastic Worlds is a 3-credit course that that will take place in May and June.

“The Monastic world course is an initiative by medievalists at UMKC and MU to put together an experiential learning course that will allow students across the UM system to engage in some learning that isn’t offered at either campus,” Dr. Virginia Blanton said. “It teaches something about the history of monastic life.”

Blanton noted that, despite being a course on medieval life, Monastic Worlds has relevance to our modern day society.

“A lot of American nuns right now are really politically active,” Blanton said. Blanton elaborated on the history of monastic life in the United States, which took off when monks and nuns escaping religious persecution in Europe ventured to the Americas.

There are even a few monasteries here in the Midwest. Students in the Monastic Worlds course will experience two weeks of classes at the Benedictine communities of Conception Abbey in Conception, Mo. and Mt. St. Scholastica in Atchison, Ks.

The first two weeks of the class are online, then the next two weeks will be spent in monastic communities.

“One group will go to Conception the first week, and the other to the Mount,” Blanton said. “Then they’ll swap the next week.”

Students will be able to see manuscripts that predate the voyage to the Americas.

Blanton will be co-teaching the class with Dr. Rabia Gregory, associate professor of Religious Studies at MU.

The course is open to students of all faiths.

“This is not something where you need to be a believer to be involved,” Gregory said.

The course is a form of what Blanton calls “experiential learning,” the first of its kind in the UMKC English Department.

“It’s like going on archeological dig where you go and participate in some way,” Blanton said.
UMKC Students can enroll for the through one of these course numbers:, English 450, English 5560, History 400B and History 5500BB.

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