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Benedictine Leadership Studies

What is the Benedictine Leadership Studies Program?
The Benedictine Leadership Studies (BLS) program will allow you to analyze who you are as an individual called to serve and promote the common good of your community, and to develop a meaningful understanding of God’s purpose for your life, using the teachings of the Catholic Church and Benedictine spirituality as guides.

Award-Winning Program
Benedictine Leadership Studies was recently named the best program in the country for Mission Integration by the Association for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASACCU).

The Rule of Saint Benedict serves as the cornerstone leadership model for the program, offering a deeper understanding of leadership in your personal and professional life and in service to local, national and global communities. Benedictine Leadership Studies is a virtue-based, ethical structure for the study of leadership. The program is grounded in the Benedictine Wisdom Tradition, which has been developing since The Rule of St. Benedict was published 1,500 years ago. Its 10 core principles, or hallmarks, are derived from The Rule and form the core of BLS. 

The 10 hallmarks distilled from the Rule of Saint Benedict are:

  • Love of God and Neighbor as Self
  • Prayer
  • Stability
  • Conversatio (Growth as a Disciple of Jesus Christ)
  • Obedience
  • Discipline
  • Humility
  • Stewardship
  • Hospitality
  • Community

The 10 Hallmarks shape the character of the BLS program. As a BLS fellow, you will be educated in the virtues associated with the Hallmarks, and encouraged to develop them in ways appropriate to your future profession and vocation. Love of God and neighbor as self, purposeful reflection, commitment to one’s obligations, openness to truth, steady work habits, humble regard for others, and a respect for creation are all attributes encouraged by the program. Recognizing that all leadership takes place in the context of communities, whether they be civic, natural or supernatural, the BLS program seeks to cultivate the complete human person: body, soul and spirit.  

For more information, please contact the BLS Director, Michael Krom, PhD (

To learn more about Benedictine Leadership Studies, listen to our Steel City Catholic Podcast and follow us on Facebook:  @StvincentBLS

BLS program content includes:

  • Academic courses with your fellow BLS students in leadership, ethics, politics and Benedictine spirituality
  • Seminars on leadership presented by Saint Vincent College faculty members
  • Annual trips focused on specific aspects of Benedictine leadership
  • Three-credit capstone course trip to Rome in the senior year
  • Experiential activities to enhance leadership skills and work collaboratively with peers
  • Spiritual formation under the guidance of Benedictine monks
  • Professional development and career services provided by the Career and Professional Development Center
  • Unique internships for academic credit
  • Service project opportunities
  • A $2,000 Fellowship (automatically renewed up to four years for BLS Fellows)
Academic Course Workbls-courses

In order to receive a Benedictine Leadership Studies certificate, you must complete 16-20 BLS credits. Up to 15 of these credits can count toward the college’s core curriculum.

  • Theology 342 BLS: Benedictine Heritage (BLS-designated section) - 3 credits
  • Political Science 100 BLS: Principles of American Politics (BLS-designated section) - 3 credits
  • Philosophy 215 BLS: Ethics (BLS-designated section) - 3 credits
  • Business 280: Leadership - 3 credits
  • BLS 200: Leadership and the Eternal City - 1 credit
  • BLS 250: Internship - 0-1 credits+
  • BLS 300: Rome Capstone Seminar - 0-3 credits*

An internship of at least 45 hours will be completed during the junior year. In addition to meeting the standard requirements for an SVC internship as stipulated by the Career Center, you will write an essay in which you analyze your experience in terms of the hallmarks. If you complete an internship course with another program, you may petition to count that course as the equivalent of BLS 250.  If accepted, you will be asked to complete the essay assignment to fulfill the BLS internship and take BLS 250 as a 0 credit course.  Likewise, students who already have 19 credits in each of their junior-year semesters will take BLS 250 as 0 credit so as to avoid paying overload fees. 

* The Rome Capstone seminar is normally scheduled in the spring semester of the senior year.  Exceptions are made for those in 3-2 programs (e.g., Engineering) and for those whose major program has spring break requirements in the senior year (e.g., Education and Psychology). These students take BLS 300 in the spring of their junior year. In addition, students take BLS 200 the fall semester prior to taking the Rome seminar. Students receive 0-3 credits for the Rome seminar so as to avoid paying for an overload if they are already taking 17-19 credits. 

In addition to these required courses, BLS Certificate students will take one of the following electives (3 credits).

  • History 102: Ancient Greece and Rome
  • Theology 204: Psalms and Wisdom Literature
  • Philosophy 271/Politics 261: Catholic Political Thought
  • Any ROTC course

After academic course work and other components of the BLS program are satisfactorily completed, a Benedictine Leadership Studies certificate will be awarded, upon completion of an academic degree at Saint Vincent College.

Other Componentsbls-other-components

Other aspects of the BLS Program include:

BLS Portfolio – You will maintain an online portfolio throughout your four years as a BLS fellow.  The portfolio will contain examples of your work, reflection on the skills you have gained and thoughts on how you are growing in understanding and implementing the hallmarks in your life. In addition to serving as an assessment tool for BLS faculty, this portfolio may be shared with family, friends and prospective employers.

Retreat Workshops - Each semester you will join with the other fellows in your cohort in a retreat workshop based on the Benedictine Hallmarks. In addition to the required reading and participation in discussion, you will write a brief reflection on what you learned about the specified hallmark(s) and include this in your portfolio. The topics build upon one another, starting with vocational discernment, then to implementing the hallmarks in your professional life, and finally to classical rhetoric as the means by which you communicate the beauty of the hallmarks to the outside world.

Experiential Learning - To pursue the BLS Certificate you must participate in experiential learning activities each semester of your four years, and complete a reflection on what hallmark(s) you put into practice, to be included in your portfolio. Examples of experiential learning activities are a team-building ropes course, career planning activities and service learning projects. In addition, you will be required to complete a 0-1 credit internship during your junior year.

Self-Leadership Exercises – You will be asked throughout your four years to reflect on how you are integrating the 10 hallmarks into your self-understanding and daily life. It is central to the program that you reflect on how your future profession and vocation will be shaped by your commitment to being a Benedictine leader. To facilitate this process, you will participate each semester in reflective exercises. Working with a faculty, staff or Benedictine mentor, you will write a personal narrative based on these reflective exercises each academic year.

Rome Capstone Seminar - In the spring semester of your senior year, (with the exceptions previously noted), you will enroll in BLS 300:  Rome Capstone Seminar. The core component of the course is a spring break trip to Rome which will contain academic content relating to specific examples of leaders directly related to the academic and Benedictine heritage material covered during the week. A member of the Saint Vincent College faculty and a Benedictine monk will coordinate and co-teach the material presented in the course. The academic essay that you will write after the trip, reflecting on the models of leadership presented by the leaders of Roman history studied throughout the week, will be included in your portfolio.

How to Applybls-apply

Thank you for your interest in the Benedictine Leadership Studies (BLS) Program at Saint Vincent College.  The BLS application deadline is February 15.

Depending on your previous experiences, this application should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Please click the 'Apply' button to begin the online application.


Meet Our Students
Current Membersbls-current-members
Myrissa Donaldson
myrissa donaldson
“I am the drum on which God is beating out his message.” 

– St. Joan of Arc

Danny Whirlow
danny whirlow
“Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.” 

– Robert F. Kennedy

Noah Spyra
noah spyra
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” 

–Harold S. Kushner

Julia Sarnowski
julia sarnowski
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

–Benjamin Franklin

John Allen
john allen
“The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.” 

– Joe Paterno

Ray Duffy
ray duffy
“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” 

–Saint Pope John XXIII

Andrew Kunz
andrew kunz
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” 

–Ronald Reagan

Genevieve LaFosse
genevieve lafosse
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” 

– Mark 10:45

Augustine Frohnen
augustine frohnen
“When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.” 

– Edmund Burke

Ruth Milne
ruth milne
“It is not your business to succeed, but to do right; when you have done so, the rest lies with God”.

– C.S. Lewis

Allyson Foster
allyson foster
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” 

– Douglas MacArthur

Abigail Rowe
Abigail Rowe
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”

– John Quincy Adams

Bethany Fritsch
bethany fritsch
“The leader who is forever in the learning mode is the one most likely to succeed.”  

– Lee Thayer

Joseph LaForest
joseph laforest
“With God, all things are possible.” 

– Matthew 19:26

Mary Conn
mary conn
“You have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.” 

– J.R.R. Tolkien

Laura Aston
Laura Aston

"A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example."
– Joe DiMaggio

John Crocetti
John Crocetti

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

Yariana Pino Sánchez
Yariana Pino-Sanchez

“I do know one thing about me: I don’t measure myself by others’ expectations or let others define my worth.”
– Sonia Sotomayor

Bertalan Papp
Bertalan Papp

“Hard work conquers all."
– Virgil

Samuel Cancilla

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things."
– Ronald Reagan

Catherine Kwait
Catherine Kwiat

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
– John Quincy Adams

Marisa Metropoulos
Marisa Metropoulos

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."
– Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Annie Trader
Annie Trader

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

An Khai Tran
An Khai Tran

"If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend."
– Saint Teresa of Avila

Kelsey Myers
Kelsey Myers

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the things you think you cannot do. “
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Alexandra Gerstel
Alexandra Gerstel

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."
– Marianne Williamson

Nicholas Duer
Nicholas Duer

“Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed.”

Baylin Snyder
Baylin Snyder

"Great leaders don't set out to be a leader...they set out to make a difference. It's never about the role-always about the goal."
– Anonymous

Mary Anand
Mary Anand

"Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave."
– Matthew 20:26-27

Tyrique Anderson 
Tyrique Anderson

"I've learned that  you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back."
– Maya Angelou

Joseph Heldrich
Joseph Heldrich

"When you become a leader, you lose the right to think about yourself."
– Gerald Brooks

Moira Sullivan
Moira Sullivan

"When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do."
– Walt Disney

Olivia Zulisky
Olivia Zulisky

"Where God guides, He provides."
– Isaiah 58:11

Tia Epps
Thea Epps

"Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change. But if each one would light a candle we'd have a tremendous light."
Servant of God Thea Bowman

Garrett Miller
Garrett Miller
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
- C.S. Lewis
Madison Kozera
Madison Kozera

“Never forget! You can design, create, and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make the dream a reality.”
- Walt Disney

Joy Pontzer
Jay Pontzer

"Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching."
– C.S. Lewis

Dylan Slebodnik
Dylan Slebodnik

"Leadership is not about being in charge; leadership is about taking care of those in your charge."
Simon Sinek

Elizabeth Fitzgerald
Elizabeth Fitzgerald
"Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.”
- Saint Theresa of Lisieux
Giovanni Scott
Giovanni Scott

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
- Vince Lombardi

Christina Mulloy
Christina Mulloy

"It's not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts."
– Mother Teresa

Abigail Claus
Abigail Claus

"You are rewarded not according to your work or your time, but according to the measure of your love."
Saint Catherine of Siena

Vincent Lombardi
Vincent Lombardi
"Diligence is the mother of good luck.”
- Benjamin Franklin
David Lynn
David Lynn

“Christians are born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God willing, the triumph: ‘Have confidence; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33)”
–Pope Leo XIII

John Hurley
John Hurley

"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things."
– Ronald Regan

Jonah Vaglia
Jonah Vaglia

"There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it."
George Carlin

Margaret Day
Margaret Day
"Persevere along your way no matter what happens. Persevere, cheerfully and optimistically, because the Lord is bent on sweeping aside all obstacles. Hear me well: I am quite certain that if you struggle, you will be a saint.”
- Saint Josemaria Escrivá
Sophia Livelsberger
Sophia Livelsberger

“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.'”
- Lou Holtz

Sophie Neubert
Sophie Neubert

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

BLS Alumnibls-alumni

Marion Emerson
“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together, we can do great things.” 
– Mother Teresa

Thomas Fitzsimmons
Thomas Fitzsimmons
“Life is not about warming yourself by the fire, life is about building the fire and generosity is the match… If you want happiness for an hour take a nap but, if you want happiness for a lifetime help somebody.” 
– Larry Lucchino

Rachel Douds
Rachel Douds

"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent."
– Douglas MacArthur

Paul Gnatowski
"If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever."
– St. Thomas Aquinas

Grace Harris
Grace Harris

"Never underestimate the power of quiet people; they may just change the world."
– An Original Quote

Elspeth Mizner
Elspeth Mizner

"Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others."
– Jack Welch

Genna Niemiec
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence for every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Matthew Kenney
“I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.” 
- Lou Holtz

Benjamin Watt

"There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit."
– Ronald Reagan

Cheyenne Dunbar
"Great leadership is about human experiences. It's not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine." 
- Lance Secretan

Kaitlyn Thomas
"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being." 
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Carrie Wylie

"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."
- John F. Kennedy

Rebecca McCullough
"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask, act! Action will delineate and define you." 
-Thomas Jefferson

DJ Hough
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” 
- John Quincy Adams

Samuel Geer
"There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you." 
- Richard Branson

Mikayla Nolfi
"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." 
-Steve Jobs

Samm Firestone
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." 
-Winston Churchill

Luke Good
"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." 
- Ronald Reagan

Kathrine Curtin
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” 
- Douglas MacArthur

Peter Reiter
“Do it to do it, not to have done it.” 
-Author Unknown

Justin Trumbetta
"Stay hungry. Stay foolish." 
- Steve Jobs

Mary Jane Yeckley
"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish."
-Sam Walton

Timothy Robbins
"But he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger: and he that is the leader, as he that serveth. For which is greater, he that sitteth at table or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at table? But I am in the midst of you, as he that serveth." 
-Luke 22:26-27

Nicholas Anderson
"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."
- John F. Kennedy

Peter Santiago
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming."
- Theodore Roosevelt

Kate Palko
Kate Palko

"If we can develop a truly humble attitude, we can change the world."
– Pope Francis

Zelie-Marie Hummer
Zelie-Marie Hummer

"I am not afraid. I was born to do this."
– St. Joan of Arc

Michael Navarro
Michael Navarro

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”
– John Maxwell

Jamie Sherry
Jamie Sherry

"A true leader does what is right, no matter what others think."
– J.K. Rowling

Paul Weisser
Paul Weisser

"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Ben Firestone
Ben Firestone

"Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example." 
– Cory Booker