Opening Fall 2018

St. Martin’s Academy is an independent Catholic boarding school for high school boys located in southeast Kansas.

Educational Vision

We begin with the end in mind.  As creatures made for union with God, the fulfillment of our personalities can only occur through an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ.  And that relationship demands engagement from the whole person: body, mind and soul.  In all that we do at St. Martin’s – farm-work, study and prayer – we seek to create a rich and fertile soil for God to do His work in cultivating Saints.

Our Commitments:

Nurture authentic masculinity

Rather than a coarse, superficial machismo, authentic masculinity demands perseverance in pursuit of the arduous good. It requires constant self-denial in service of God, family, and community. Boys at St. Martin’s will do hard things everyday to counteract our deeply rooted human tendency toward softness and sloth.

Heal the imagination

An imagination fed predominantly on the neon glow of screens is weakened by passivity and contact with the unreal. St. Martin’s replaces screens and the noise of pop culture with the great outdoors and with folk music and poetry — giving mind and heart the time and space to acclimate to the deeper beauty of God’s creation.

Awaken wonder

St. Martin’s will place boys in the constant, near occasion of wonder. The love of learning and the desire for God are magnified by the response of wonder in the face of Mystery and Beauty. Beholding Orion on a crisp winter’s evening, young minds will begin to stir with an affinity for first things and questions about our origin and destiny.

Develop attentiveness

Deep prayer requires sustained attentiveness, a skill all but lost in our era of sound-bytes and instant gratification.  Boys at St. Martin’s will learn to look beyond themselves in establishing habits of mind and soul sensitive to the silent places where God is found: in the Eucharist, in the wisdom of Creation, and within their own hearts.

“Noise is a whirlwind that avoids looking oneself in the face and confronting the interior emptiness…What will become of our world if it cannot find oases of silence?”

Robert Cardinal Sarah
Prefect, Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship

Life at St. Martin’s

Situated in the mixed prairie and woodlands of rural Bourbon County, Kansas, St. Martin’s Academy offers a rare retreat from “Noise” and creates a space for boys to be boys. These are young men in motion, with field, forest and stream offering a theatre for both study and play.

Take a glimpse into our weekdays

Note: On Wednesdays the entire school turns out for a full day’s work on the farm.

7:00am: Mass

“Liturgy is the consummation of education and the ultimate school of our humanity.” – Stratford Caldecott

7:45am: Breakfast

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking.” Matthew 11:19

8:30am: Classes

“If there is one mark more striking than another about the Catholic Church it is its intellectual freedom.” -Hilaire Belloc

12:00pm: Lunch

“Tis not the food, but the content, That makes the table’s merriment.” -Robert Herrick

12:40pm: Rosary

“He must bring the natural powers of the soul under the influence of grace, and this he does through prayer.” -St. Bonaventure

1pm: Classes

“A truly great intellect is one which takes a connected view of old and new, past and present, far and near, and which has an insight into the influence of all these one on another.” -Blessed John Henry Newman

3:15pm: Athletics

“To become a man one must be broken to bodily hardship and bodily strain such as are called forth in athletic contests.” -Fr. Edward Leen

5:30pm: Dinner

“This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal.” -Joel Salatin

6:15pm: Study Hall

“To open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it, to know, and to digest, master, rule, and use its knowledge, to give it power over its own faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, eloquent expression.” -Blessed John Henry Newman

8:00pm: Free Time

“Man only plays when he is in the fullest sense of the word a human being, and he is only fully a human being when he plays.” -Friedrich Schiller

9:00pm: Compline

“In manus tuas Domine, commendo spiritum meum / Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” -Responsory of Compline

9:30pm: Lights Out

“Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.” -St. Augustine

The Good life…

Liturgy

Mindful of the Benedictine dictum ora et labora – pray and work, St. Martin’s Academy is committed to a cultural revitalization centered in the Mass. The liturgy is at the very heart of the school’s life and mission. Students attend Mass, pray the Rosary, and sing Compline daily while participating actively in the calendar of the Church’s liturgical year.

Academics

St Martin’s is no industrial assembly line of workforce preparation. It is an encounter with the Real in its organic form, as faith and reason are brought into contact with daily life. Our rigorous academics include Latin, Greek, Logic, Physics, and Natural History (to name a few), and are a thorough preparation for any college or vocation.

Farming

Boys “labor in the vineyards” as full participants in a diversified farming enterprise that incorporates animal husbandry and permaculture. Respecting the rich natural resources of southeast Kansas, our farm-to-table operation helps boys learn the value of hard work and good stewardship, while connecting them to the food they eat.

Sports

Rugby is played in the Spring in the competitive Kansas and Missouri region. Fall semester features our unique Functional Outdoor Resilience Training—FORT Leadership Program. Run by outdoorsmen and former military, FORT develops fitness, teamwork, and grit through intense physical and mental challenges.  

Recreation

With immense natural resources available, weekends and free-time at St. Martin’s will offer students limitless opportunities in fishing, camping, kayaking, boating, backpacking, hiking, rock-climbing, and bush-craft.  Complementing these outdoor activities will be trips to nearby cities to enjoy museums, plays, concerts and other cultural events.

Music

As you go about your daily life, how often do you hear voices in song?  If you hear much at all you are with us in a happy minority.  Saint Martin’s as a campus and culture is suffused in song where students are encouraged to be makers of music rather than simply consumers. This is not an exercise in nostalgia, but participation in vibrant oral culture.

Semester Abroad

St. Martin’s enjoys a monastic groundedness with roots in the tough Kansas clay.  But there is wisdom to be learned from travel.  Struggling to communicate in a foreign-tongue is humbling.  Encountering different cultures expands the mind.  And traveling abroad makes home sweet again.  St. Martin’s graduates are nothing if not well-rounded.  

“The only honest endowment for a school is a self-sufficient farm, without machines, to feed a chaplain, teachers, a cook, and boys who eat like hogs but also hoe, chop, pitch hay, and shovel dung.”

– John Senior
The Restoration of Innocence

About Us

In essence, St. Martin’s is a faculty of friends united in Christ around a common vision of the good life and a desire to share that vision with young men of good-will.  

Mr. Patrick Whalen, Headmaster

BA, University of Michigan

Mr. Whalen graduated from St. Gregory’s Academy in Pennsylvania in 2005. From 2007 to 2016 Mr. Whalen served on Active Duty in the United States Marine Corps, first enlisted and subsequently as an officer. He has deployed multiple times, served in a variety of leadership positions within the Marines, and received multiple leadership awards. Currently a Ph.D. candidate at Washington University in St. Louis, Mr. Whalen has published poetry, translations, and articles in a variety of journals and books. Mr. Whalen and wife Kristi have four children.

Daniel Kerr, President

BA: University of Dallas

Daniel Kerr’s desire to start St. Martin’s began well over 15 years ago after reading John Senior’s short work on the founding of a boys’ school, The Restoration of Innocence. In 2007, Mr. Kerr founded AdjusterPro, transforming a one-man operation into a team of 25 that has become the nation’s leading educational provider in insurance adjuster & appraiser licensing. In 2015, in conjunction with Fr. McElwee, Daniel started The Prairie Troubadour, an annual Symposium of Catholic Culture named in honor of his father, the late Gerald F. Kerr. Mr. Kerr and his wife Katie raise their 5 spirited children on a farm bustling with cattle, hogs, sheep and a variety of barnyard fowl.

Dr. Kenneth Klassen, Teacher

BA, MA, Ph.D.: University of Kansas

Dr. Klassen has devoted his life to education. With over 40 years teaching experience in a variety of subjects from Calculus and Physics to English and Latin, Dr. Klassen’s warmth and wit have made him a beloved and revered figure in the Fort Scott community. He and his wife, Holly, raised 7 children on a small farm where they embraced agrarian living long before it was cool: milking a cow, growing vegetables, raising chickens and a variety of livestock as they enjoyed encountering God in His other book, the book of Nature.

Mr. Ron Klassen, Teacher

BA, MA: University of Kansas

Ron Klassen has taught Latin in the Fort Scott school system for over 30 years, justly earning the nickname by which he is universally known: “Magister.” The Magister’s quixotic quest to bring beauty and tradition via Latin to the public school systems has touched the hearts and imaginations of generations of Fort Scottians. Ron and his wife, Jean, raised 4 children on a farm where they now cultivate one of the most bountiful food-producing vegetable gardens in Bourbon County.

Mr. Michael Taylor, Farm Foreman

Native Kansan Mike Taylor spent two formative years as a hunting guide in some of the most remote wilds of Alaska, frequently surviving alone on what he was able to catch or kill. Whether it’s bush-craft or religious art, Mike is a natural maker with an artist’s eye. He was raised on a farm and has spent the last decade working in a dairy. He is an enthusiast for small-scale, intensive agricultural methods including permaculture, aquaponics, and mob-grazing. Mike and his lovely wife Jenna have two beautiful daughters.

Fr. Robert McElwee, Chaplain

BS, MA: Wichita State University M.Div.: Nashotah House Seminary MS: Pittsburg State University

Fr. McElwee has served the diocese of Wichita for over thirty years in a variety of capacities including: Chaplain of a state college, Chaplain of a VA hospital, Associate Pastor, and Pastor. Currently retired from full-time parish work, Fr. McElwee remains tireless in providing the Sacraments, running a local Catholic radio station (that he started), working on and riding Harley Davidsons, teaching at a community college, and serving as a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist.

St. Martin of Tours

Our patron served as an elite soldier in the Emperor’s guard in the Roman army in the early 4th century.  It was during this period that Martin branded Christian consciousness with the iconic image of the mounted soldier giving his cloak to a freezing beggar.  Soldier, monk, bishop, mystic, and saint:  Martin exemplifies every ambition of the Academy for its students. St. Martin’s feast on November 11th, known formerly as Martinmas, was for centuries a kind of Catholic Thanksgiving where roasted beast and the fruits of the harvest adorned the table to be enjoyed in community. At St. Martin’s Academy, Martinmas is celebrated in that same spirit as we delight in the true festivity made possible by meaningful work.

Duc in Altum

St. Martin’s Academy’s motto Duc in altum (from our Lord’s direction to Peter, James and John to “cast out into deep waters”) goes beyond good fishing advice.  It sums up the boldness of the adventure to which our Lord calls each of us in pursuit of His Will. You can play safely in the shallows, or, casting out into the deep, catch something of Real, Everlasting value.

Campus Development

  • 2017: Lodge
  • 2018: Bunkhouses
  • 2019: Additional bunkhouses
  • 2020: Library & Amphitheatre
  • 2022: Chapel

Commons / Lodge

We break ground on our first and largest building in Fall 2017. Sustainably constructed of native oak timbers and stone, this building will serve the needs of the school for the first year before becoming the permanent dining hall and hearth. By 2022 we plan to complete construction on the crowning feature of the campus, a beautiful chapel made of native stone.

  Nature is never spent. There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.  

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Pre-Apply Now

Will your son be a sophomore or freshman in Fall 2018?  Let’s talk.  Please submit this form and we’ll be in touch to discuss whether Saint Martin’s might be a good fit.

St. Martin’s Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in administration of any of its policies and programs.

Spring and Summer camps at St. Martin's Academy


FUNCTIONAL OUTDOOR RESILIENCE TRAINING:


  • Can you build a fire ... without matches?
  • Treat and evacuate a hiker with a broken leg ... with no stretcher or medical supplies?
  • Identify a Zebra Swallowtail ... and know why its presence signals wild edibles nearby?

That's what we thought. You need to attend a F.O.R.T. Leadership Camp–A Faith, character, and skills based experience for boys ages 12-14.


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    Our Master Site Plan, and
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    A full-color Artistic Rendering of Saint Martin's campus