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2024 Archdiocese of Denver CEFC Graduation Address


By: Sister Mary Noel, RSM

The Archdiocese of Denver’s second cohort of teachers to complete ICLE’s Catholic Educator Formation and Credential (CEFC) program: Bl. Carlo Acutis cohort

On Friday, February 2, 2024, the Archdiocese of Denver’s Bl. Carlo Acutis cohort celebrated its graduation from ICLE’s Catholic Educator Formation and Credential program. The Bl. Carlo Acutis cohort is the Archdiocese’s second cohort to complete the program. Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver celebrated the graduation Mass, and Dr. Christopher Blum, Provost of the Augustine Institute Graduate School of Theology, delivered the Commencement Address.

Sister Mary Noel, RSM, a participant in the cohort, joined the graduation ceremony virtually and delivered the following address to her fellow participants and to family, principals, and instructors gathered for the event.

“The thirteenth chapter of the Book of Wisdom says, ‘If through delight in the beauty of these created things men assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them. And if men were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them. For from the greatness and beauty of these created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.’ This piece from the book of Wisdom gives us wonderful insight into the goodness of education. In education, we allow our students to see the greatness and beauty of these created things so that they may contemplate and perceive their Creator. As we heard from Simone Weil, the aim of education is one of contemplation–it should lead students to who they truly are in the eyes of God and to rest in His goodness.

It is from the contemplation or delight of these beautiful and true things that we can glimpse the goodness of the Lord and know that He is even more powerful and more beautiful, because He is the Author of that beauty. As educators, it is our great task and gift to be imparters of the true, the good, and the beautiful. John Paul II reminds us, ‘As teachers, you enkindle in your students a thirst for truth and wisdom. You spark in them a desire for beauty.’ Each lesson and each truth taught points to the beauty of these created things and reveals something about their Maker. It is to wonder at the beauty of these created things and to not stop there, but to go forward and deeper into the inexhaustible Truth of the Lord.

This is living into our baptismal call as adopted sons and daughters of God. In the contemplation of these created things, we reach out into the transcendent. As immortal beings and as educators, we are called to point beyond ourselves. It is only in pointing to the Lord in these good things that we will find ourselves and allow our students to come to understand themselves in the love of the Lord. What a great and noble task that is. ‘For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.’

I would like to express gratitude to the Lord and to my religious community for this formation as a Catholic educator. On behalf of the participants of the CEFC, I would like to thank Archbishop Aquila and the archdiocesan staff, and the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education for the wonderful formation and example so that we may serve and form our students in the Archdiocese of Denver. And thank you to our principals and mentors who have walked so closely with us throughout our formation. Thank you!”

The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education developed the Catholic Educator Formation and Credential (CEFC) program to offer a robust alternative to state teacher licensure. The program prepares educators to infuse a deeply Catholic philosophy and practice of education into their teaching. It is an 18-month program of five integrated courses (The Virtuous Classroom, Pedagogy: Leading from Wonder to Wisdom, Trivium: The Mastery of Language, Quadrivium: The Harmony of Number, and Faith and Reason: The Foundations of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition) delivered through in-person workshops and distance learning.

Sister Mary Noel, RSM, is the 5th Grade & 5th-8th Grade History teacher at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School in Edwards, CO, and 2024 graduate of the Catholic Educator Formation and Credential (CEFC) Program.


[Originally published February 27, 2024]