Bl. Basil Moreau Confraternity of Teachers

 As teachers, we need prayer, and prayer perfects our teaching. Become a Member of the
Bl. Basil Moreau Confraternity and join Catholic teachers around the country strengthening
one another through prayer, and benefiting from the prayers of priests and religious offering their
prayers and sufferings for your work.

 

October 2019

Reading: From Christian Education by Bl. Basil Moreau

Preface

May this short work on education, intended for use by those working in the schools associated with the Congregation, attain the end that I proposed to myself in composing it: the formation of the hearts of young people and the  development of a positive response toward religion within them. I have always understood the education of youth to be only this, and I have always been convinced that the first duty of any teacher is to produce Christians: Society has a greater need for people of values than it has for scholars. Knowledge itself does not bring about positive values, but positive values do influence knowledge and put it to a good use. If there ever existed a time when this type of education should be an influence in the lives of young people, it is certainly now-at a time when worldly and unchristian values seem to produce such confusion for the young. Christian education alone can influence the evil that we all experience in today’s world. Christian education alone can return people to the belief in and practice of Christianity by inspiring positive values in the coming generations.

In order to bring unity to our efforts in educating young people in the schools with which we are associated, I have organized the educational plan that is discussed in this work. I call it a plan because as of now it is really only an outline of how to reach the goals I mentioned in my Circular Letter of May 29, 1856. I intend to complete work in this effort after I have received any observations and responses that the Brothers may wish to make regarding this document. 

Introduction 

Those who teach justice to many will shine like the stars for all eternity
– Daniel XII: 3

Pedagogy derives from two Greek words-that for child and that for leading. It is the art of helping young people to completeness. For the Christian, this means that education is helping a young person to be more like Christ, the model for all Christians. From the word’s roots, we can interpret pedagogy to mean “leading a young person away from ignorance and disorder.” In this way it consists precisely in the reforming of human nature, which has been weakened by original sin. This reforming involves restoring to rational processes the light that existed before the fall of our first parents and then restoring to the heart the kinds of feelings and sentiments that ought to reside there. This notion of pedagogy is founded on the principles of Catholicism and makes educating young people a most important work for those who try to perform it-it truly makes education the art of arts.

It is very important that educators in our schools be trained in the art of education before trying to exercise the skill. It is an obligation of those in charge of the schools with which we are associated to help anyone who teaches at them. The educators will need direction to complete their preparation, because they will usually be unprepared to educate in the way I am describing. It is also important that those in charge of the schools with which we are associated understand the importance of this unified effort. Educators must also know what is involved in operating a school according to these principles. This belief, more than anything else, is what has inspired this document.
 
Meditation

Years ago, in the beginning of my teaching career, my wife gave me a coffee mug that spoke to my heart: “Those who can, teach; those who can’t go into some less significant line of work.” As teachers, we have unique opportunities to help form the hearts and minds of the young, to help them enter more fully into the life of the Church, and to prepare them to live lives that will enlighten and inspire those who come to know them. Our students face so much confusion and so many seductive temptations that lead them to ruin or worthlessness as adults, and can imperil their hope of eternal life with God. A teacher who lovingly, firmly, confidently, joyfully encounters his students powerfully witnesses to the truth and hope of the Gospel message.

It can be so hard to continually and effectively live according to this truth. Each day demands preparing lessons, correcting work, controlling students in the classroom, meeting standards, reporting to administrators and parents, not to mention the many difficulties I face in attending to the needs of my life outside of school. How much can I really expect of myself? How much lasting good can I possibly do for my students? 

Examen

Do I pray to become a better teacher? Do I take the difficulties I face in teaching to the Lord in prayer? Do I practice humility by seeking help from my superiors and fellow teachers? Do I embrace my role in helping parents and pastors to form my students, or am I afraid of the responsibilities that might entail? 
 
Prayer

 

My Teacher, You who received with thanks the few loaves and fishes of the Apostles, accept the poor offering of my teaching; use me to feed the needy spirits of my students. The love for students You inspired in generations of Catholic teachers was always at the heart of their success. Strengthen my heart lest I be overwhelmed by the challenges of the important work You have given me. Train me in the art of Catholic education through my reading, conversations with fellow teachers, and prayer. May Your Holy Spirit help me to see the many opportunities to show Your love that each day brings. 

At the heart of the Institute’s work is the conviction that teaching is a sacred participation in the work of the Father of us all, of Christ, the One Teacher, and of the Holy Spirit of Wisdom.

 

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

 

Please pray for the needs of your fellow teachers:

For the virtues of perseverance and studiousness as I begin graduate studies in philosophy of education. – Tomas

Lord Jesus, bless Annemarie, who is in the hospital, and her husband.

For inspiration, guidance, and blessings for a start-up school working with their home diocese–that the Lord will guide all parties to perfectly carry out his will.

The father of a student of one of our members has died, leaving behind a young family. We pray for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his family, as well as for wisdom and peace for his teacher and the rest of the school community.

Please pray for Phil, a doctor from Denver, CO, who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Phil is the father of 7 young children.

Please pray for the family of Matthew and Terrie Walz. Matthew is a professor at the University of Dallas, and a friend of the Institute. Terrie’s father has been diagnosed with brain tumor; the CoVid crisis has made getting treatment difficult and dangerous.

For the healing and containment of the Coronavirus disease and for all those who have been affected – physically, economically, and spiritually.

Please pray for Fr. John Belmonte, SJ, Superintendent in the Diocese of Joliat, Illinois, who will soon be undergoing surgery to repair a broken shoulder.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Suzanne Fessler, long-time principal at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, who oversaw the transition of the high school to a focus on the development of wisdom and virtue.

For Father Frank Brawner and his health, healing, and continued strength in his ministry – Susan

For the healing of Shirley Balangue, mother of Cyril Cruz, Principal of Holy Innocents School in Long Beach, CA.

For the continued health and healing of Simon Vander Weele, son of Rosemary and Jon Vander Weele of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School in Denver, CO

Pray for healing for Mr. K., Latin teacher at an ICLE member school. We ask for healing and relief from fluid buildup in the lung and cancer.

Please pray for a wonderful theology professor who is undergoing persecution for upholding Catholic teaching on sexuality – Andrew

My wife’s conversion to Catholicism – Adam

Increase in fertility, marriage, families; for grandparents; for a special spouse for a friend – Rosemary

For the Holy Spirit’s increase in the hearts of all concerned with Catholic education in the Pensacola-Tallahassee diocese, especially that He lead us into deeper prayer, greater intimacy with Him – Leslie

Souls in Purgatory especially those who have no one to pray for them; those in the Bahamas and elsewhere affected by natural disasters – Lisa

Please pray that I teach and love my students and teachers as would Christ the Teacher – Joseph & Juliana

For a new teacher in 5th grade; for our Johnsburg Catholic school to become Classical Liberal Arts; for increase in marriage, fertility, families; for young adults’ conversion and love for Jesus and His Church – Rosemary

Help making good choices about family issues – Susan

That our parish school community would grow as an evangelizing community, proclaiming, encountering and responding to the kerygmatic proclamation of Jesus Christ – Nathalie

That Catholic schools and parents be of one heart and one mind by creating their institutions and homes coherently, as “missionary outposts of the Universal Church” with one goal: that the truth of all things, beginning and ending in Jesus Christ, be known and loved through the details in everything – Ruth

For teachers everywhere – Chris