Santiago Community

The Santiago Community is a designated "living-learning community" at Saint Mary's for students who desire to explore community, justice, and spirituality. It is named after Brother James MillerFSC. Br. Santiago worked with the indigenous people of Guatemala. He died tragically in Central America when his work to educate the poor came in opposition to the military powers.

In keeping with Br. Miller's namesake, the Santiago Community seeks to create inclusive communities that work to cultivate a more just world. Members of the Santiago Community will connect with new friends and mentors, join local communities and individuals engaged in critical work, and explore questions of meaning and purpose.

Santiao Community participants aspire to uphold Br. Miller's legacy by exploring justice, living and learning together in community, and engaging their purpose and direction through the lens of spirituality and faith.

The Santiago Community has a .25 credit attached to it throughout the academic year. The requirements are as follows:

  • Attend Monday night activities from 7-9PM
  • Attend the annual Fall Retreat in September
  • Dedicate two hours per semester at the GaelPantry on campus
  • Join Alameda Point Collaborative one Saturday per semester to work on the farm.

Additional benefits:

  • Regular suite dinners with peers
  • Assigned staff/faculty mentors 
  • Regular fun community building events
  • Opportunities to grow in critical thinking, spiritual awareness, and a supportive community 


The Mission and Ministry Center and CILSA work together to provide a dynamic learning environment that promotes the core values of the Santiago Community: justice, spirituality, and community.

All rising juniors and seniors are welcome to apply each year. There is no previous service requirements or class prerequisites.  

Here is what previous students have said about their Santiago Community experience:

“I learned about my limits and how much I am willing to be bothered or hurt by others. I also gained new skills in regards to meeting new people and how I should deal with both the pleasure and difficulties of it.”

“My favorite activity was really the retreat! It was super fun to bond with everyone in a beautiful place. But other than this I also really liked the suite dinners because it was a way for all of us super busy students to not only sit and be with each other but to remember to take care of ourselves and cherish these genuine interactions.”

“Honestly, my favorite part about being in this community was my suite. I really appreciated the fact that we could all be so comfortable with each other to leave our doors open, invite each other to different events, stay up doing homework together in the living room, and even just have silly moments together...this is the most at-home that I've ever felt in my living situation at SMC.”

“I learned to value community more so than I had in the past - it is now an integral part of my being that will guide me to make career choices where I can cultivate a community wherever I go.”

Santiago Community Leader, Naomi Hayes Community Leader, Naomi Hayes '19:

For more information:

Email Nick van Santen: or call 925-631-4075

Email Samantha Coon: or call 925-631-8168

Read about the Santiago Community in The Catholic Voice!