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San Damiano Encounter

Deepen your faith. Become yourself. Heal the world

During the San Damiano Encounter, you will journey with others in an exploration of who you are and what the world needs from you. Throughout the week, framed by key events in the life of St. Francis of Assisi, we will share varied experiences of learning, service, prayer, community and reflection. These experiences will help you to find out how God is calling you, to recognize and develop your leadership potential, and to grow in relationship with God and with others.

San Damiano Encounter student

June 25-30, 2023

The San Damiano Encounter takes place on the Cardinal Stritch University campus, located just north of Milwaukee, WI.

Program fee: $50

A generous gift from the Lilly Foundation will cover all additional costs. Some financial aid is available.

Grace Dow, Class of '24

San Damiano Encounter Participant | 2018

You will make those lifelong friends you never thought you would have, and you'll grow closer to Christ, whether you thought you would or you wouldn't.

Grace Dow, 2018 SDE participant

Grace Dow had hoped to make a few new friends during the San Damiano Encounter (SDE). Now, nearly three years later, she has kept in contact with almost every single person she met through the program. The community she found through the San Damiano Encounter was huge, but Grace emphasized the importance of the spiritual formation she received that week, too.

“It deepened my understanding that I really need to follow Christ.”

To Grace, following Christ means listening to him and trusting him, and she continues to lean on him to find that place of peace in the midst of life’s uncertainties.

Through the immersive experience, Grace also found her independence and a greater confidence in who she is and who she was created to be.

Read Grace's Story

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 program connecting you to college students, university professors and local faith leaders.

What is San Damiano?

The chapel where a young Francis of Assisi was transformed by love and inspired to serve


Because you want your faith to make a difference in your life - and your life to make a difference in the world.

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

Participants do not need to be Catholic, but the program will explore connections between your questions and concerns, current issues and the theological tradition of the Catholic Church.

We are excited to be able to conduct this year's program in person, on campus, and to offer overnight stays in our residence halls. Appropriate health and safety protocols will be observed.

We have room for 24 young leaders. Are you one of them?

Application for Summer 2023 is now open

Please provide information about a youth minister, campus minister, or teacher who can serve as a reference for you
Please contact St. Clare Center leadership with questions about this program.