San Damiano Encounter

A Faith-based Leadership Program for High School Students

Deepen your faith. Become yourself. Heal the world.

Register Now!

Who are you?

High school students who want to grow in faith and develop as leaders, and who will be finishing 10th, 11th, or 12th grade.

Who are we?
Cardinal Stritch University is a Catholic Franciscan university with a commitment to transforming communities through service, learning, and leadership. Our mission in life is to help you find yours.

What is this?
A one week summer residential program

Stritch’s main campus, located just north of Milwaukee, WI

Either June 11 – June 16, 2017, or June 18 - June 23, 2017

Nothing. Through a generous grant from the Lilly Foundation, we are able to offer this program to qualified participants at no charge.

What is this program about?

Faith – The San Damiano Encounter will help you deepen your faith by exploring not only what you believe with your head, but also what you commit to with your heart, and how you live that out in your life. There will be a variety of prayer experiences and styles to help you feel more connected to God.

Leadership – The San Damiano Encounter will help you grow as a leader, learning about your own gifts and about how groups function. Interactive activities will help you strengthen your skills for working with others.

Theology – The San Damiano Encounter will provide theological substance to help you make connections between your questions, the issues of our communities, and the tradition of the Catholic church. Topics will be drawn from the issues participants are most interested in, and teaching methods will promote active and engaged learning.

Mission – The San Damiano Encounter will help strengthen your sense of mission and your understanding of your own calling – not only in terms of what you might do with your life in the future, but also how you can bring Gospel values to life right now. Experiential learning and service activities off campus will provide experiences for growth.

Community – The San Damiano Encounter will use the relationships you develop with one another as the context for all of this learning to take place. Participants will meet daily in groups which will function as small faith communities for prayer and discussion. Social activities each day will add fun into the mix.


This program is for high school students who will have finished 10th, 11th, or 12th grade.

Participants should be available to stay on campus for the full week-long summer session, and also for an initial gathering on April 30. This orientation event will give participants a chance to meet one another, and will give program staff an opportunity to uncover the specific questions and issues that engage this particular group of students.

Participants do not necessarily need to be Catholic, but our program will focus on connections between your questions, current issues, and the Catholic faith tradition. In addition, because Stritch is a Franciscan university, we will use stories from the life of St. Francis in connection with each topic throughout the week. (The life of St. Francis is where we get the name of this program:  San Damiano is the church where Francis received his calling, his vocation, from Christ.)

Interested individuals should submit an application online.  We ask that you apply by April 7, 2017 (though we may close registration if we reach capacity before that).

We have room for 48 young leaders. Are you one of them?

Register Now!

For more information please contact Michael Taylor at (414) 410-4353 or

Cross for SDE v2“Who are you, God? And who am I? And what do you want me to do?” 

When he was a young man, Francis of Assisi wrestled with questions. He took those questions with him as he went to pray at the chapel of San Damiano – and the encounter with Jesus he had there changed his life.