T4934: John Paul II in his Polish Context

Lublin, Czestochowa, Krakow, Warsaw
Faculty: Paul Wojda and Kenneth Kemp
01/01/2018 – 01/27/2018

This course examines the life, thought, and ongoing significance of Karol Wojtyła/Pope John Paul II against the background of the history, culture, and politics of his native Poland.

Academic Overview

John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła) was the first Slavic Pope in the history of the Catholic Church and the first non-Italian to occupy that office in more than 450 years. His long pontificate (1978-2005) witnessed profound changes within the Catholic Church, global Christianity, and world affairs (e.g., the collapse of the Soviet Union), in all of which this son of Poland played an important if not decisive role. This course will examine the origins, development, and legacy of Wojtyła’s thought in the context of the history, culture, and politics of his native Poland. Students will attend lectures at the Catholic University of Lublin (where Wojtyła taught), delivered by that university’s faculty (in some cases, people who knew and worked with Wojtyła). In addition to visits to sites in and around Lublin, there will be excursions to Cracow (where John Paul II served as Archbishop), Częstochowa, and Wadowice (his birthplace).

Program Fee
Cost: $4,520 – $4,820
*Each home institution may have supplementary fees in addition to the price listed.  Comprehensive Fee includes:  Transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations in twin and triple rooms, continental breakfast daily, twenty-two mid-day meals and eleven dinners (subject to change).

Students from the University of St. Thomas must have taken THEO101 and PHIL115.

Required Readings
Selections from primary sources, i.e., philosophical, theological, and literary writings of Pope John Paul II, including:

  • Philosophical Works—Love & Responsibility, Memory & Identity
  • Papal Encyclicals—e.g., Laborem Exercens, Centessimus Annus, Evangelium Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, Fides & Ratio.
  • Literary—The Jeweler’s Shop, “The Quarry,” “Thinking My Country,” “Stanislas”

Selections from secondary sources, such as:

  • George Williams, The Mind of John Paul II
  • George Weigel, Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II
  • George Weigel, The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy

Reflection papers (5% and 10%):                      15%
Reflection Journal:                                            20%
Poetry recitation:                                             10%
Final paper                                                      25%
Final (oral) examination                                   20% 
Participation (including language study)            10%

Program Directors

Paul J. Wojda, Ph.D. University of St. Thomas, (651) 962-5385, e-mail address: PJWojda@StThomas.edu

Kenneth W. Kemp, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas, (651) 962-5360, e-mail address: KWKemp@StThomas.edu

Description of Faculty Directors
Professor Wojda, Associate Professor in the Theology Department at the University of St. Thomas, has a B.A. in Government/Political Theory and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Ethics/Moral Theology. He studied abroad as an undergraduate in Austria and has taken UST students to Poland and Ukraine for three previous J-term courses.

Professor Kemp, Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of St. Thomas, has a Master’s Degree in Slavic linguistics and a Ph.D. in philosophy. As an undergraduate, he studied abroad in the Soviet Union and in Yugoslavia. More recently, he spent a semester in Poland under the Fulbright program. He has taken UST students to Poland for six previous J-term courses.

Application Procedures & Deadline
· Select the How to Apply link to start your online application.
· All applications received by your home institutions priority deadline will be sent to the faculty immediately. Applications will be taken after that deadline for programs with space still remaining until the final application deadline of October 1, 2016.

Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2017

For more information on course content, contact Sam Ogdie
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office.

How To Apply


Rules and Procedures 2017 (PDF)

Rules and Procedures
Each UMAIE member school has their own application process in place. The UMAIE application process is described in the attached PDF file, and the required documents are available in the How to Apply section.

Applications are accepted until October 1, 2016.
No application will be considered without ALL the required signed documents, copies and a deposit check. If you have any questions please contact your campus UMAIE Board Member.

Travel Packet

ePacket (Link)

Click the image at left to access the course Travel Packet. The ePacket contains important information about traveling abroad, including your itinerary, frequently asked questions, participant letter and culturegram.

Preliminary Itinerary will be posted by October 16.
Final Itinerary will be posted by December 7.


The Orientation process includes 3 components:
– an online self-study and quiz on the UMAIE student handbook.
– an online orientation webinar conducted by your faculty director(s)
– an on-site orientation upon arrival.

You are REQUIRED to participate in and complete all 3 steps within the deadlines specified below. Failure to do so may result in your removal from the course.

Student Handbook and Online Quiz

2018 Student Manual (PDF)

We have put together this handbook to provide you with helpful information for planning and spending your time abroad. The handbook is also your primary study guide to pass your online quiz. There are excellent tips in this handbook, and it is organized in a way we hope will be user-friendly and straightforward.

Please carefully read the UMAIE student handbook and complete the quiz on the UMAIE student handbook by October 20, 2017.


quiz_thumbYou can access the online quiz through your online application by logging in to your school’s study abroad website. Complete the 2018 UMAIE Participant Quiz under Assessments on your online application portal.

For students at St. Ambrose University, see your study abroad adviser for a paper copy of the quiz.

 Orientation Webinar

The online orientation webinar for this course is on:

Monday, October 16, 2017 – 4:00pm-5:30pm

Your participation is required. Please review the sign-in instructions below and make yourself available to participate on this date.

Click the webinar icon below to access the launch and sign-in screen for Zoom.

Instructions (PDF)

Instructions (PDF)

Webinar Link (Zoom)


(Alternate Access to Webinar)

Topic: UMAIE: John Paul II in his Polish Context – Wodja/Kemp
Time: Oct 16, 2017 4:00 PM Central Standard Time


Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16468769923,,739393223#  or +16699006833,,739393223#

Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 646 876 9923  or +1 669 900 6833  or +1 408 638 0968  or +1 877 853 5247  (Toll Free) or +1 877 369 0926 (Toll Free)

Meeting ID: 739 393 223

Participants are required to bring their Student ID card with them on the course to qualify for reduced student entrances at many sites. Without your ID, you could be responsible to pay any difference in entrance fees.