Encuentro: St. Catherine University Theology Institute is a year-long program for rising high school sophomore, junior and senior girls that seek to awaken an encounter with God, self and other young women in an inclusive and sacred space.

Encuentro begins with a week-long residential summer theology institute, June 16–22, 2019, and continues throughout the school year with formative events in the fall, winter, spring and summer. There is no cost to participate, thanks to a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. Theology Institutes for High School Youth Initiative.

Encuentro particiapants out in a field

What to Expect

During the week-long residential summer theology institute, you will live and eat on the St. Kate's campus, while participating in prayer, classes, service activities, mentoring, and fun activities during the day. The week ends with a celebration for parents, adult mentors and participants.

Then, you will be required to attend four formative events during the school year and keep in communication with your mentor team.

Participants will be supervised and cared for during each Encuentro event. If you have questions about safety and supervision, please call us at 651.690.6046 or email us at encuentro@stkate.edu.

You'll arrive at St. Catherine University between 2–4 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, 2019.

You will stay in the University residence halls, share meals in the campus dining hall, and participate in variety of fun activities. You can expect a daily rhythm of communal prayer, theology classes, reflection, dialogue, mentor team activities and on-site visits to local communities and service site.

During the week, you will meet your mentor team. Alongside your mentor team throughout the school year you can expect to build relationships and develop skills and tools for vocational discernment and decision-making.

The week-long residential summer theology institute ends with a celebration meeting on the St. Kate's campus, 1–3 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, 2019. Parents are encouraged to attend, as this will be the time for them to meet their daughters' adult mentors, exchange contact information, and ask questions.

After the celebration, all participants are free to leave campus, and we will look forward to seeing you again in the fall!

Each of the four formative events that follow the week-long institute will take place on the St. Kate's campus in St. Paul. The dates for the 2019–2020 events are August 25, October 27, January 26, and February 23.

How do I get to St. Catherine University, St. Paul Campus- Building St. Mary Hall and Coeur de Catherine?
St. Catherine University's St. Paul campus is located two miles southwest of downtown St. Paul.

Getting to St. Mary Hall and Coeur de Catherine Rauenhorst Ballroom
St. Mary Hall is located behind The O’Shaughnessy building and kitty corner to the Coeur de Catherine. Please refer to the campus map.

Where do I park?
Parking at St. Catherine University is free for all events all day Saturdays and Sundays. No permit is required to park in The O’Shaughnessy lot, or other lots on campus these days.

For arrival and departure parking, please enter St. Catherine University GATE#4 from Fairview Avenue and park in The O’Shaughnessy lot.

Encuentro participants seated at candle-lit tables

How to Apply

We are accepting applicants for Encuentro 2019–2020—please apply as soon as you can to secure your spot!

Fill out the application, including a brief statement describing why you wish to participate in Encuentro, and request the recommendation of one caring adult from your parish and/or school community.

Once we have received your application, we will notify you of your admission status. Accepted young women will need to complete and submit a registration packet to secure a spot with Encuentro 2019–2020.

About Us


Encuentro: St. Catherine University Theology Institute empowers high school girls and their mentors for transformational leadership through the pursuit of wisdom. For the sake of the common good and love for the dear neighbor, Encuentro cultivates a culture of encounter through dialogue in local communities.


Encuentro: St. Catherine University Theology Institute inspires women and girls to be theologically formed leaders in the local and universal church.

Program Goals

Encuentro: St. Catherine University Theology Institute proposes that leadership qualities will be developed through the following goals as the high school girls and mentors:

  • Examine diverse charisms in the Catholic theological and spiritual traditions.
  • Explore contemplative and communal spiritual practices in the Christian tradition.
  • Engage in intergenerational and intercultural dialogue while addressing complex and urgent ethical dilemmas.
  • Become equipped with tools and skills for vocational discernment and decision-making.

Lilly Endowment Inc. High School Theology Institute initiative  

In November 2015, St. Catherine University received a grant to establish Encuentro: St. Catherine University Theology Institute. This grant is part of the High School Youth Theology Institute initiative sponsored by Lilly Endowment Inc., which seeks to encourage high school girls to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.

St. Catherine University is one of 82 schools participating in the Lilly Endowment Inc. Religion Initiative. The schools are located in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

The Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family—J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. and Eli—through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company.

The Lilly Endowment exists to support causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment affords special emphasis to projects that benefit young people and promote leadership education and financial self-sufficiency in the nonprofit, charitable sector.


Encuentro: St. Catherine Theology Institute adult mentors support a team of girls throughout the school year to develop and enhance critical thinking skills, engage in intercultural dialogue and practice spiritual disciplines that will shape their emerging identities.

The Encuentro mentors are an intergenerational and intercultural cohort committed to:

  • Mentoring high school girls for four years.
  • Discern the role of theological education in their own professional and ministerial contexts.
Encuentro participants seated in pairs face-to-face
Supporters and Vocation Partners

Religious Communities

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet—St. Paul Province
Sr. Jean Wincek, CSJ St. Paul Province Leadership Team

The Sinsinawa Dominicans
Sr. Mary Ellen Gevelinger, O.P. Prioress of the Congregation

Benedictines of St. Paul

Parish Communities

Ascension Parish
Anne Attea, Pastoral Associate
Fr.Dale Korogi, Pastor

Holy Rosary
Rev. James A. Spahn OP, Pastor
Cesar Cruz, Youth Minister

Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis
Estela Villagran Manancero, Director of Latino Ministry

Lumen Christi Parish
Fr. Paul Feela, Pastor

St. Alphonsus Parish
Fr. Donald Willard C.Ss.R., Pastor
Luz Zagal, Hispanic Ministry