"Let the man of study then be perpetually listening for truth. While he bends over his work, the Spirit breathes in him, reveals himself perhaps from outside, sends His prophets—men, things, books, happenings; the attentive soul must neglect nothing of it all..."

—A. G. Sertillanges


At Harmel, men work to connect their trade to the philosophy and theology of work; their work to an understanding of human flourishing; and their understanding of human flourishing to the universal call to holiness. Key to this is a careful study of the humanities. And while we do this through a careful study of the humanities, our study is, above all, grounded in the real circumstances of a real life.

Integrated Study For Integrated Men

At Harmel, the humanities are not disconnected disciplines. They are simply a variety of approaches to the same question: “what does it mean to be human?” Our goal is not to produce academics, but men with well-formed imaginations who are prepared to think deeply and act prudently their entire lives. Here is what makes our humanities programs distinct:

  • Humanities study is integrated. Instead of separating subjects from one another, the various subjects are presented in their essential complementarity.
  • Lessons are firstly applicable and personal, and only secondarily critical and theoretical.
  • Instruction is Socratic, not didactic. We learn to ask good questions, not memorize correct answers.
  • Mastery is measured primarily through oral disputation and debate and not through written, academic essays.
  • Critical analysis is placed in service of moral imagination.

God and man at Work

We have developed a four-semester cycle of Humanities classes named God and Man at Work. This cycle of classes is designed as a continuous thread of thematic study where, through study, discipline, habit, and reflection, men learn to see their calling as men, workers, and family men as an apprenticeship in the Way that is Christ himself. Apprentices take all four semesters, while Gap-Year students take the first two.

Semester One:
Master and Apprentice

Part One: Man as Wanderer – Lessons on living in a post-Christian world
Part Two: Man as Apprentice – Learning to conform one’s life to Christ
Part Three: Man as Worker, Priest, Adorer – Learning to orient work and life to the Eucharist

Semester Two: Husbondi

Part One: Man as Husband – Finding our vocation as husbands & fathers
Part Two: Man as Maker – Finding our vocation as co-creators/laborers in the Lord’s vineyard
Part Three: Man as House-Manager – Finding our vocations as servants of a larger community

Semester Three:
The City of Man

Part One: Man as Father – Man’s call as strengthener, leader, and cultivator of the common good.
Part Two: Man as Brother and Son – Learning the virtues that enable solidarity.
Part Three: Man as Citizen – Learning the practical wisdom that safeguards subsidiarity.

Semester Four:
The City of God

Part One: Man as Sinner – Learning to persevere in holiness.
Part Two: Man as Saint —Deepening one’s life of prayer and charity.
Part Three: Man Deified – Learning to live in memory of heaven and the call to divine intimacy.

What sold it for me was the humanities program. Frankly, I think that’s one of the most unique points of the school. It shows that you can be both a pious, learned man and also a hard worker with your hands. I think that’s very unique.”

— Nathan Hatley
Electrical Apprentice, Class of 2022