Why are we here?
The Baltimore Catechism gives us an answer to this age-old existential conundrum.
“God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.” So, that answers that.
As we prepare to celebrate Catholic Schools Week next week, it might be a good idea to refocus that question. Why are we here? At a Catholic school, in particular?
Historically, Catholic schools are renowned for providing rigorous academic programs in an environment that promotes virtue, respect, and traditional values. Educating the whole child is not just a buzz phrase. It is the basic principle underpinning the mission. Catholic education is about formation, of the intellect, yes, but also of the body, mind, and spirit. Human beings are an inseparable composite of these parts and an effective education or formation must respect this unalterable fact.
Another defining principle of Catholic schools is our partnership with parents, whom we recognize as the primary educators of their children. No one knows, or loves, a child better than its parents. It is an honor and a sacred responsibility when parents choose us as partners in their children’s education.
The Catholic educator’s reliance on the transcendental values of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness at the heart of our curriculum and educational philosophy, is a distinction that cannot be overstated. The transcendentals, because they are attributes of God, help us to first understand who God is and lead us into desiring union with him. According to Christian doctrine, the transcendentals can be described as the ultimate desires of man. As Fr. Lawrence Stoley stated in a recent op-ed piece, “In our Catholic schools, not only do we provide opportunities for students to experience created beauty as any secular school can do; we provide opportunities through the Divine Liturgy and the Sacraments to encounter Uncreated Beauty – God as He is in the Heavenly Jerusalem.”
Is heaven not our ultimate desire? Catholic schools are best poised to introduce, nurture, and sustain this desire in our children.
To refine our original question even further, we could ask, “Why are we here, at Mount Royal Academy, specifically?”
I am aware that our families come to us through many different avenues for varied reasons. I can really only give you my perspective, as a parent, educator, and administrator.
My daughter attended and graduated from Mount Royal Academy because her father and I wanted a solid Catholic experience for her. What she got was a superb classical education, for which she, herself (!), has expressed an appreciation. She also received a firm grounding in the Catholic faith, which has culminated in a beautiful relationship with Our Lord. She cultivated true and lasting friendships and was welcomed into a supportive community. She received so much more than we had hoped for that summer of 2019, and we are extraordinarily grateful.
I’m just going to say it. Mount Royal Academy has been blessed with exceptional educators! I once overheard a family friend talking to my son about the school and he started to list off our staff. He expressed his admiration for the “hall of fame” quality of our teachers… “a stacked deck” I think he called it. I couldn’t agree more! Our teachers are highly qualified, compassionate, and intuitive educators. They truly “see” their students, and understand that education is a whole-person experience. The level of instruction, care, and individualization they provide for our students is remarkable.
Of course, the proof is in the pudding. The quality of the teacher should be reflected in the transformation of the student. I can say that this is definitely so at Mount Royal Academy. It has been my privilege to witness the growth and maturity of our students under the patient tutelage of our instructors. This is especially so when a student has been here for an extended time. I have watched many a bumpy start smooth out and flourish over the course of several years as the student responds to the consistent nurturing and formation our staff provides. It is truly a transformation in Christ and awe-inspiring
Our community is unique and wonderful. I’ve watched them rally around families experiencing hardship and loss as well as rejoicing with families welcoming babies. The interconnectedness is profound and all rooted in the love of their faith.
I come to work each day not knowing what the day will bring, but always knowing that I am surrounded by co-workers and families who will embody the love of Christ to me. This and so much more is why I love Mount Royal Academy and why I am here. - Mrs. Lisa Sweet, Academic Dean