Educating With the Mind & Heart of Christ
Living Life in Love: How the Sisters View Education
There is nothing more refreshing than coming in contact with someone who is joyful, peaceful, and able to bring the love of Christ into any situation. Fortunately, the students at the schools where the Carmelite Sisters teach are able to experience this on a daily basis. The sisters’ approach to education is rooted in a fundamental need of every human being: to know and experience true and lasting love. Whether it is in moments of discipline, reading to the students, or even teaching mathematics, the sisters are able to integrate love for Christ and others, which permeates all aspects of the school and of the students’ lives. This love, which finds its source in the Blessed Trinity, flows from the principals and teachers to the students and from the students to each other and to their family members.
On one occasion, I witnessed the principal gently take the hand of a young student who had been struggling with various behavior issues. Instead of scolding or belittling the child, she helped him to acknowledge the mistakes that he had made in a calm and loving manner. She also continued to work with the student to help find constructive and positive outlets for his energy. Her desire to help the child on his journey to heaven superseded all forms of discipline that may have been futile. Because of her gentle and loving care, the child was given an opportunity to truly experience the love of Christ.
This approach of teaching and showing the students the love of Christ has fruitful effects in the lives of the students. During one occasion after spending a day at Hayden, one of the sisters’ child care centers, a child was on his way home with his mother and older sister who had just finished running in a cross-country meet. His older sister often did well and won at these meets, but on that particular day she did not win. While he was in the car, his sister began to express frustration with her performance and lack of winning. Her thoughts of failure were immediately halted by her 3 year-old brother’s remark, “It’s ok. God still loves you.” His time with the sisters at the child care center had truly molded and shaped the way he thought so that he was able to see the love of God in a situation that seemed hopeless to someone who was older and more mature.
Showing Christ’s love in any situation is a piece that is often overlooked in secular school settings, but it is the center of the schools where the Carmelite sisters teach. They strive to teach and meet the needs of children on an individual level, understanding that each student is unique and has been made in the image and likeness of God. Taking the time to identify the needs as well as the talents of the students illustrates that the sisters truly care about both the academic and the spiritual well-being of every student. They view education as not just an avenue to merely gain more knowledge and do not solely strive for high scores on state standardized tests. Rather, they strive to help each child reach their highest potential and integrate Christ’s love and His teachings into all aspects of their curriculum and classroom, hoping that every action will lead the students one step closer to ultimate happiness with our Lord.
Click here to read more about the Carmelite Sisters’ Education Apostolate.