Bl. Basil Moreau Confraternity of Teachers

June 2020



Anyone who knows young people easily recognizes the necessity of patience, which is the only thing that permits a teacher to rise above the difficulties inherent in educating youth. Patience is most necessary in directing a group of young people from very diverse backgrounds and training. Teachers often need to speak to one student, to answer another student and probably several at the same time, to help others reason out situations when they seem often to have little use for reason, to repeat many times the same thing without seeing any results, to calm those who are too lively, to move forward those who move slowly, to correct those who need correcting, to prepare others to accept responsibility-and it seems that all of this goes on at the same time. Teachers seem not to have a moment for themselves amid the activity that is constantly going on in a school.

Without the virtue of patience, teachers would have difficulty enduring the qualities that are so natural to young people: making life difficult for a teacher, refusing to follow directions, upsetting the class, promoting a bad spirit among other students, and ridiculing and making fun of teachers. Some students mock teachers’ voices and gestures; some will complain without cause to their parents, who will immediately assume that what they are being told is the truth. The many difficulties that teachers face would dishearten those who have entered teaching with real hopes of accomplishment. But teachers need to remember that they have received a call and resist such trials with all the means given to them through patience. If you know how to build patience, a calmness will come to you and peace will exist around you. Patience is the shield against which all these difficulties are blunted.

Teachers who do not know patience cannot restrain themselves, and they often show their lack of patience in harsh or imprudent words. They often carry on in all sorts of ways, even becoming violent, and in a burst of anger, as ridiculous as scandalous, will lose all control. They will even go so far as to physically abuse their students. Losing self-control lowers them in the eyes of their students. The first cause of all of that is a lack of patience. With a little more energy and self-control, teachers can prevent these excesses. Little by little, time will calm first prejudices, soften reactions, and lead to reasonable conclusions. Right reason always ends by triumphing over all obstacles. It is through patience that “you will possess your soul in peace.”


We are all familiar with that famous and familiar prayer for patience: “Lord, please make me patient – right now!” It seemed a bit ironic that Dr. Seeley asked me to compose this meditation on patience at a moment when I was experiencing frustrations and obstacles in accomplishing the simplest and most ordinary tasks. Being an ‘online teacher’ is no part of my skills! I wasn’t too worried though. After all, my students were all part of the tech generation, right? Their facility will carry the day! If there were any other teachers out there naïve enough to think that expertise in the worlds of social media and video games would translate to quick mastery of the ‘online learning platforms’ – well, our bubbles are burst and our illusions are encrypted beyond retrieval.

Patience — Gift of the Holy Spirit? Sorry, no. Patience, a Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Gifts are gifts. Fruit has to be cultivated. Fruit has to be produced. As I am learning from my new gardening hobby – cultivation is work, consistency and diligence. And how to produce this fruit? The gift of Fear of the Lord will strengthen our will, our self-control to hold back that impatient response. The gift of Understanding will guide our perception, our judgment of situations and the people in them to soften our ‘conclusions’. And the gift of Fortitude will provide us with the perseverance and the confidence to continue giving, helping, educating.


How do I respond to my temptations to impatience – and especially to my genuine failures in patience? By becoming impatient with my impatience, perhaps? Am I willing to employ that miraculous healing balm to any wound I may have inflicted in impatience – a sincere apology?


Father, Giver of every good gift, support of every virtue and inspiration of every holy desire and generous deed, send your Spirit to strengthen within us the Gifts of Fear and Understanding and Fortitude that we may labor with these tools to cultivate in our hearts the Fruit of Patience. Amen.

Please also offer one Mass and one Rosary some time this month for the intentions of the members of the Confraternity.