Recently, a dear friend, a muckety-muck, big deal religious superior, who shall forever remain nameless, ;), shared with me a joke that, while cynical, does put my struggles embracing my inner teacher into perspective. Thank you, dear friend.
“Why are the politics in education so vicious? Because the stakes are SO SMALL!!!” How true. How true. Much ado about nothing, as the Bard would say. I have learned in my career, all the same evil is endured by all, in every profession, with minor customization based on the profession, unique ways to be evil; but, in general, only the pay is different. The effects and symptoms of fallen human nature are the same. I like engineers and being an engineer, although certainly not immune from these temptations, it is just harder, later, takes more time to succumb to evil while too, too busy “getting your geek on”. It is, and I am blessed to be so. Blessed. Truly blessed. Thank you, Jesus!!! I say ALL the time. The Lord has been SO GOOD to me, His Mighty & Merciful Hand of Providence guiding, while I, unconscious, yet physically awake, benefit immensely and constantly. Praised be Jesus Christ, True God & True Man. Praise Him, Church. Praise Him.
I can see His mercy and His providence all throughout my life, even in my trials, so light compared to the crosses of others (be merciful to me, a sinner, Lord) which have taught me healthy lessons. It is true, I have grown stronger. Praised by Jesus Christ. And, I have no fear of getting lost, if I but trust in His mercy and His love. How can I fail? What evil shall beset me? Whom shall I fear? Not even the Cross and all the powers of Hell make me nervous. He ALONE is my Lord and my God., my ONLY hope and my salvation. Praise Him. Rm 8:31. Even this is His gift.
THANK GOD, LITERALLY, FOR CATHOLIC SCHOOLS!!!! We NEED THEM NOW MORE THAN EVER BEFORE!!!! I am a product of public education, which was fine and respectable in my day. I COULD NOT IMAGINE sending Mara to public school, NO MATTER WHAT THE COST MIGHT BE!!! NO WAY. OVER MY DEAD BODY, LITERALLY!!! 🙁
“While some people talk about the end of the academic year as “winding down,” for me it is more like accelerating, as the papers and exams pile up, caffeine intake increases, and sleep is a luxury that I can barely afford. Perhaps this is why so many saints have a direct connection to education—to help us during this difficult time each semester and throughout the year. Here are some of my favorites who may be of assistance to help all of us students through this time of intense study.
My patron, St. Nicholas of Myra (Santa Claus), is at the top of the list. He was the patron of sailors and travelers. Most of his relics were moved from Asia Minor to Bari in 1087, and a portion to Venice during the First Crusade. His was also the time when universities were just beginning, so the young men traveling to university towns invoked the intercession of St. Nicholas for protection on the journey and later for their studies. By the thirteenth century, he was the patron of the University of Paris, one of the earliest and premier universities in Europe.
St. Albert the Great, OP, was a distinguished professor, bishop, and scholar who founded the oldest university in modern-day Germany in Cologne and wrote extensively on philosophy, theology, and the natural sciences. He was the teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas, OP.
In 1265, St. Thomas was assigned to Rome to organize a school of Dominicans. This school was for the best Dominican students in the Roman Province (a few of whom may subsequently have been sent to study in Paris or Bologna).To instruct them more effectively, St. Thomas adapted his method for these beginners, and the result was the Summa Theologiae. It is a comprehensive work but in a simplified format for that time. The purpose was to instruct future preachers and confessors, not primarily to engage in academic debate.
St. Charles Borromeo was appointed Archbishop of Milan in the mid-sixteenth century, about fifty years after the Reformation. One of his great reforms was to educate the clergy by establishing colleges and seminaries. He cared for the laity as well, laying the groundwork for the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) within the diocese. At the end of the sixteenth century, St. Joseph Calasanz (Calasanctius) joined the CCD in Spain and opened those schools for free to the children of the poor.
We also have many great patrons among the American saints and blesseds, over half of whom were involved in education. Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton is considered the founder of the Catholic school system in the United States based on her work in Maryland, which included opening the first free Catholic school in the country. In the diocese of Philadelphia, St. John Neumann built the Catholic school network from two schools to over 100. For St. Katharine Drexel, Mother Théodore Guérin, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, building schools and educating the youth were an essential part of their missionary work.
As exams conclude most classes, it is fitting that we give the place of honor to St. Joseph of Cupertino, patron of exams (especially the most difficult ones). St. Joseph was a simple and holy man of prayer who really struggled with studies. He passed the exams for ordination because at the examination, through the grace of God, he was asked the one question that he knew!
All you holy men and women of God, teachers of the faithful, pray for us.
St. Joseph of Cupertino, pray for us.”