Catholic Schools: Places to Heal the Heart

    image of molly bardine2015 Catholic Education Summit participant Molly Bardine, English Department Chair and Teacher at Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton, wrote about insights gained at the Summit in June.  Her insights are shared to prompt further reflection on how Catholic schools can be places of healing for students and their families.  Please read Molly's thoughtful reflection. 

    Sister Angela Ann's keynote address inspired me to begin approaching my teaching life as not only a journey I undertake as an individual, but also one that should acknowledge how I approach this journey with my students and parents.  The concept of "the art of the accompaniment" has inspired me to explore the ways I can be representative of a living Church, living Faith and living Christ. This challenges me to recognize the sacredness of the encounter and to truly listen to my students and parents' faith stories as I also share my own stories as well. Sister Angela Ann did an excellent job pointing out the themes and patterns of Pope Francis' writings demonstrating the importance of this accompaniment to demonstrate mercy and compassion to others. Another point of the keynote I found applicable to the journey is the need for healing in our students' lives. I was inspired by the example she provided in her Chaminade Scholars class regarding a ceremony of healing. It made me wonder about offering this suggestion to our Mission Implementation team at my school to see if this type of prayer service might work at our school or be included in one of our monthly masses.

    The theme of healing carried over into our small group table discussion as well.  While I didn't share this with the group since I came up with the insight later during the day, I believe the Church needs to recognize the healing which might be something our parents may need as well.  If we can open up a dialogue with our parents to share their own faith journeys and offer healing to them this might be a great service.  I am not sure how this might exactly be offered but perhaps in recognizing that some of our parents come to our school with a lot of different experiences as Catholics and the Church.

    The school as an extension of the Church might be a place of healing and renewal.  

    I thought it was particularly appropriate that this Sunday's gospel story centered on healing.  Jesus acknowledges both the young child as well as the woman in need of healing and his peripheral vision challenges us to see those marginalized from society.  Perhaps the parents who themselves may feel marginalized from the Church can experience compassion and mercy in our school.  This is an essential charism of the Marianists and Sisters of Notre Dame so it would be a nice demonstration of our mission.

    If you want to read more about action steps and further insight please visit our blog, Catholic Education Conversation.