The Personalist Project

Courtship in the Christian Vision

Katie van Schaijik

Spring 2012


519 N High St, West Chester, PA


Fridays between 8 and 10 pm

Class sessions

What is love?
Love and its counterfeits
The stages of courtship
Being single / Love & suffering
Conclusion: frequent questions


This lecture series draws on the insights of Christian personalism—especially the writings of Dietrich von Hildebrand and Karol Wojtyla on spousal love and human sexuality—and shows what they imply for courtship: the way a man and a woman meet, fall in love, and approach marriage. It considers the question of what conjugal love is, how to recognize it and distinguish it from its counterfeits; how it grows and develops, what it means for our lives, and what we do with our suffering in its absence.

More about the class

The first four lectures will lay the theoretical foundation for the more practical lectures that follow.

Those who live too far away to participate in person will be able to follow the course online.  We will establish a web page for that purpose, where we will post podcasts of the lectures, suggest readings, and open a forum for questions and dicussion.

The series is for personal enrichment, not academic credit, for adults college age and up.  Married adults who want to deepen and clarify their understanding of spousal love or learn to guide their older children are more than welcome.  

Reading materials are optional.  There will be no tests, papers or grades.

About the teacher

Since taking a class on the nature of love in her junior year at Fanciscan, followed by a long, personal conversation with Alice von Hildebrand, through her own courtship, 3 years of graduate studies in philosophy, and more than 20 years of marriage, this topic has been at the center of Katie van Schaijik's intelletual interest.  She has given numerous talks on the subject, including at Franciscan University, Ave Maria University, Notre Dame, and the University of Pennsylvania.  The material for this course is taken from a forthcoming book on the subject.

Alice von Hildebrand says:

The curse of modern men is often to be so absorbed by what is 'time bound' that we lose sight of things that will echo in eternity.  The topic of courtship is very high on the list of things that matter…This course, offered by a very dear friend and one of my talented students (among thousands), is one that (given her superb philosophical training and her gift of communicating truth) will offer insights that, if lived, will guarantee the success of one of the very great human experiences: marriage.  I cannot recommend it strongly enough.