Click here for information on our 2016 pilgrimage!St Nicholas Institute, Santa School Michigan, Santa Claus Training, Santa Claus School







2016 Pilgrimage:
Footprints of St. Paul, St. John, Mary & St. Nicholas

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5th Annual
St. Nicholas Institute

Monday, October 3th thru Thursday, October 6th, 2016
29125 Six Mile Road
Livonia, MI 48152

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Monday, October 3th thru Thursday, October 6th, 2016  

St Nicholas Institute, Santa Claus Training Schools

Join St. Nicholas, Santa, Mrs. Claus Professionals and Serious Amateurs From Across North America

The St. Nicholas Institute is the one-of-a-kind spiritual retreat and educational symposium uniquely designed with the professional St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and the serious “St. Nick” amateur in mind.  

Conducted each October in the beautifully serene setting of Detroit’s St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center, the multi-day St. Nicholas Institute represents a refreshing change of pace for “men and women in red.” Institute participants will experience: informative seminar sessions presented by knowledgeable speakers representing diverse fields of expertise. As an added plus, there opportunities for private reflection and/or prayer, recreation, welcome periods for relaxation and/or “siestas.”  This balanced combination of informative seminar sessions held within a warm environment that encourages mutual sharing, socializing and building comradery is all shared among faith-based men and women who recognize that "Jesus is", indeed, "the reason for the Season." 

The St. Nicholas Institute is open to all Mrs. Clauses, St. Nicholases and/or  Santa Clauses (traditionally bearded or theatrically bearded “St. Nicks”) from all Christian backgrounds (Eastern Orthodox Christians, Protestants, as well as Roman and Eastern Catholics). Our program is uniquely designed for cross-training of individuals to effectively portray Santa Claus and St. Nicholas for a wide variety of venues (both secular and religious). Just as importantly, the program encourages a prayerful openness to the very same Spirit that animated the life and actions of the original "jolly old St. Nicholas", whose heart was made glad by the Babe born in Bethlehem.

Fr. Joseph Marquis, Founder and Executive Director, St. Nicholas Institute, is likewise the pastor of Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church, Livonia, MI. Possessing over 43 years of professional Santa Claus and St. Nicholas experience. Fr. Joseph is an Emmy Award winning Santa, was judged “Super Santa” by The Detroit News, and is also a member of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. Most recently, He appeared as St. Nicholas and Santa Claus, accompanied by six puppet characters of his creation, for the children’s Christmas DVD, “Saint to Santa: How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus.” (See “Saint to Santa” trailer and additional information, below).

Rev. Rennie Kaufmann,Associate Director, St. Nicholas Institute, is the pastor of Risen Christ Lutheran Church, Plymouth, MI. A true "Renaissance Man" in the field of entertainment, he has distinguished himself professionally in a wide variety of venues for more than two-and-one half decades. His long list of credits include: numerous private parties hosted by Oprah Winfrey, working with the legendary Quincy Jones, musical presentations at Walt Disney World in addition to countless appearances on television and radio. Pastor Rennie’s musical and performing gifts offer added pizzazz during the Institute seminars and as the featured vocalist for the gala St. Nicholas Institute Awards Banquet.

Guest Instructors, St. Nicholas Institute.  We gratefully acknowledge the contributions made by volunteer professional instructors who generously donate their individual time and talents in order to make the St. Nicholas Institute possible. (NOTE: The announcement of each year’s team of instructors is announced on this web site every June 1st.)

All proceeds realized from the St. Nicholas Institute to benefit the ministry of Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church in Livonia, MI.

All photos on this web site (unless otherwise noted) are provided by Andy Greenwell, Greenwell Photography.

"Saint to Santa" DVD $19.95

The DVD, Saint to Santa: How Saint Nicholas Became Santa Claus (Pauline Books & Media, $19.95, 36 MINUTES, ISBN: 0-8198-9042-1) is available at all Pauline Books & Media Book Centers, or call TOLL FREE at 1-800-876-4463.


Saint to Santa DVD Saint to Santa offers a unique behind the scenes view of a television show created by children accompanied by six original puppet characters created by puppeteer, Fr. Joseph Marquis. Discover how a beloved Christian saint became Santa Claus, as Saint Nicholas tells his own story!

The script is co-authored by the gifted six time Emmy Award winning director, producer and author, Chris Stepien (“Three Days: The Search for the Boy Messiah”), and Fr. Marquis, an Emmy Award winning Santa Claus and founder of the St. Nicholas Institute, is pastor of Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church; Livonia, MI.

With children cueing the action, along with a host of zany puppets running the studio, Saint to Santa will prompt giggles and cheers for the kind saint whose joy reminds us that Christmas is the birthday of Christ our Savior.

As Chris Stepien playfully describes this one-of-a-kind DVD: “Saint to Santa is ‘The Muppets’ meet ‘Laugh-In’ for a sit down with St. Nick! It combines history, entertainment, humor, music and song, actors and puppets to tell the spiritual story behind the great saint we commonly know as Santa Claus. Saint to Santa is all about the joy that baby Jesus brings. Both kids and their parents will love this video.” 

Father Joseph Marquis noted. “St. Nicholas reminds us all that the same Holy Spirit that animated his life can make all of us ‘HO-HO-HOLY’, too.”

Bonus “Saint to Santa” DVD Extras include: 

  • Two original Saint Nicholas “follow the bouncing snow ball” songs for children to sing along

  • Program Outtakes

  • Activities and Coloring Pages

  • Fun ways to celebrate with St. Nicholas

  • More background on the saint

  • 10 catechetical activities for children ages 3-9 (for home or classroom) 

Saint to Santa is the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for child on your Christmas list, who “already has everything.” 

RETAIL PRICE: $19.95 (per DVD)


PURCHASE TOLL FREE: 1-800-876-4463. 

NOTE: All profits realized from the sale of the “Saint to Santa” DVD benefits the ministry of the St. Nicholas Institute and Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church, Livonia, MI.







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