“My delights were to be with the children of men...” (Prov. 8:31)
These words from the Book of Proverbs would probably sound quite appropriate on the lips of many a Catholic Sister. Somehow, teaching and religious Sisters just seem to go together. For centuries religious women have been engaged in the education of young people, and the Sisters of Mary Immaculate Queen are no exception. Teaching has been one of the major apostolates of the Marian Sisters since the earliest days of this religious community.
Included in the tradition of Catholic education is instruction in the truths of the Catholic Faith, the purpose of man’s existence, and the knowledge of how to live according to God’s will. The energy and expertise of the Marian Sisters is visible in the classroom environment as well as in the excellence of student performance. Colorful posters, bulletin boards and artwork provide visual lessons in the Faith to visitors as well as students. From the orderly, uniformed children working at their desks, to the school’s Christmas programs, everything manifests a striving for excellence which is directed even to the little things, all carefully arranged to draw young hearts and minds to God. Michaelangelo once said, “Trifles make up perfection, but perfection is no trifle.” The Sisters take this one step further, by taking to heart the words of our Divine Savior, “Be ye perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
Fruits of the Sisters‘ efforts are readily seen in the success of their educational endeavors. On the elementary level, their phonics-based reading program, Reading Express, has had astonishing results, even within the first two years. Kindergartners are often reading by Thanksgiving. At least one year the entire class scored at the highest possible level in reading in the annual standardized tests. This success has earned the program coverage in the local news.
The successes dearest to the Sisters, however, are not the ones so readily obvious or quantifiable. More heartening still is the sight of the slow, but steady growth of grace in young souls. Such progress, though often hidden, can be seen in a student’s childlike confidence in prayer, in his increased knowledge of the truths of the Faith, and in his efforts to overcome temptation and to love the all-loving God. Well-educated young men and women are certainly a source of great joy for the nuns, but their greatest pride is found in the students who are devout and fervent Catholics as well. For it is the final end of man, his eternal destiny with God which is of the greatest concern to any Sister.
Results like these do not come without a great deal of effort, a solid curriculum base, and the foundation of a fervent prayer life. A day in the life of a teaching Sister is sure to be a busy one, filled with a multitude of Michaelangelo’s “trifles.” But each is offered to Jesus her Spouse, for the advancement of His Kingdom. The teaching Sister appropriates to herself the words of Our Divine Lord, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven....”