Welcome to the 2017 Augustine College Summer Conference.

Dates: Sunday, June 11th to Saturday, June 17th.

Venue: Laurentian Leadership Centre, Ottawa.

Theme: The 19th Century: Darwin and Beyond.

Conference Schedule:

Register: online or by mail.

Accreditation: This Group Learning program has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario Chapter for up to 23.75 Mainpro+ credits.

For further questions or information contact Sally Patrick.


Each year Augustine College holds a weeklong conference for physicians, medical students and others who are interested. We look at the history of ideas from within a particular era. Augustine College teachers will be contributing. John Patrick will lead a discussion on today's ethical issues in medicine and we have also invited others with particular knowledge of the ideas that emerged in the 19th Century. This year John Patrick will address the 19th century advances in science and medicine as well as a session on today's ethical issues, Edward Tingley will speak on Nietzsche, Jonathan Patrick will talk about the use and abuse of statistics, John Robson about the political upheaval on both sides of the Atlantic, and Scott Kindred-Barnes about the explosion of missions, including medical missions, in the 19th Century.

The conference is held at the Laurentian Leadership Centre, the century-old J.R. Booth mansion, a registered heritage site in the heart of downtown Ottawa. The entire main floor of the building is characterized by a striking array of wood and impressive carving, a legacy from the founder's career as a lumber baron. There is limited accommodation available in dormitory style rooms.

This conference is a highlight for many physicians who return year after year. There is lots of opportunity for discussion and reading time. Ottawa in June is very beautiful. We look forward to seeing you.



Since 2002 Augustine College has presented a week-long annual conference (usually held the first full week of June) on the topic of medicine seen against the backdrop of the ‘big picture of Western history’.

With what principles and moral commitments did Western medicine begin, as it emerged from its Greek roots?
What shape did medicine take in the traditional cultures of Jews, Christians, and Muslims? What ends did it serve there? And how was that understanding of medicine protected by the flowering of a profoundly Christian civilization?
As medicine has advanced, over the centuries, vastly increasing its technical powers, what also has it lost? Have the idea and the ends of medicine changed?
How well equipped is medicine, in its 21st-century form, to serve the end it once accepted: caring for the full human being who is ill?

The Roots of Modern Medicine looks at questions such as these in a week-long series of summer lectures, focusing each year on one period of Western thought. The span of time covered in the full series of Modules is Western history from its beginnings to the present century; we are currently embarked on our second cycle.


Each summer doctors, medical students, and other interested people arrive at Augustine College to participate in organized lectures and group discussion on the themes of that year.

The week begins with prayer and worship Sunday evening at a local church. Then for five days (Monday to Friday) we begin each day with worship and a Biblical reflection conducted by the Chaplain of Augustine College, followed by one lecture/discussion session in the morning and another in the evening. (Afternoons are free.)

The lectures are delivered by professors and professionals in the various disciplines under discussion. In addition time is set aside to discuss the ethical issues physicians and others are facing today.  

The Conference winds up with a country get-together on Saturday.


Due to the involvement of Dr. John Patrick, President of Augustine College, in lecturing for the Christian Medical Dental Associations and the Christian Medical Dental Society, it became apparent that a Christian liberal arts college had something to offer to physicians – many of whom commented on a need to supplement their education in philosophy, theology, literature, and art as conveyors of essential ideas. Augustine College has therefore geared the conferences towards the doctors and dentists who would benefit from such discussions.

Augustine College can offer this kind of conference because it came into being precisely to teach the ‘big picture of Western history’ so often missed in higher education today. Its curriculum is therefore tailored to just this mode of exploration and, in a sense, the Roots of Modern Medicine lecture series offers participants a kind of ‘crash course’ in sections of the the College’s academic program.

Although the conferences have been specifically designed for physicians, we welcome other professions, students and all those interested in exploring the ideas that shaped western civilization. While a specialization in medicine provides a natural point of entry to some of the topics of the lectures, the content is not developed by physicians and is of broader general interest.


Registration: $800 per person; $400 for students or spouses attending the lectures.

Please contact the college if cost is an issue for you.


Registration may be completed online or by fax/mail.


This Group Learning program has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario Chapter for up to 23.75 Mainpro+ credits


Offered in 2002 and 2010

A series of lectures investigating some of the most enduring contributions to the development of Western culture made by ancient thinkers – Greeks, Jews, and Christians. Specific topics covered are Hippocratic medicine, the idea of illness, power and politics, the culture of death, wholeness (of body and spirit) and salvation, and the ancient view of suffering and hereditary guilt. An exploration of the Greek cultural context, considering the implications for a Christian understanding of the relationship between physical and spiritual healing.


Offered in 2011

Sessions dealing with an aspect of intellectual life in the early medieval period, with topics such as Galen and the “fossilization of medicine, the impact of Christianity on politics and culture, the ethics of the New Testament, and Roman and early Christian art. The sessions on problems in medicine today include one titled “When Are We going to Get Evidence-based Management in Medicine?”


A special conference offered in 2012 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Augustine College


MODULE IV | The Middle Ages: Where It All Began

Offered in 2013

Topics included the beginnings of the scientific revolution in Paris and Oxford in the 14th Century, Aquinas, Machiavelli, art in the Middle Ages, medical ethics today and more.

Module V | Time for a Change: 14th – 16th Centuries

Offered in 2014


The College is located in part of Ottawa called The Glebe. The nearest hotels are downtown, a 30-minute walk from the College. We recommend:

There is only one bed and breakfasts in the Glebe we recommend*:

Nearer downtown, we recommend the following b&bs (part of Bed and Breakfast Ottawa):

There are many b&bs in Sandy Hill, just east of downtown and a five-minute drive or 40-minute walk from the College. We recommend the following, all near King Edward Ave.:

The following Sandy Hill b&bs are part of The Ottawa Bed and Breakfasts Network:

See the following for more options (b&bs are sometimes listed that are no longer in operation*):

* In the Glebe, the following have gone out of business: A Rose on Colonel By Bed & Breakfast, Alanbury House Bed & Breakfast, Brighton House, Echo Bank House Bed & Breakfast, and The Ottawa Guest House.
Bed and Breakfast Ottawa is currently not taking guests and Sunnyside Bed & Breakfast is not recommended.