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Evansville, Indiana
September 20, 1991     The Message
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September 20, 1991

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i I ! I ! i I ! ! i | i i t ! ! September 20, 1991 Keynoter Continued from page 1 to this land recognized that the Catholic school was the concrete manifestation of the mission of the Church, to teach the next generation about lesus Throu hout the history of the Unitegd States, catholics came from many lands and they established schools for these immigrants. These schools preserved for the people their culture, lan- gUage, traditions and religion and these schools brought these newcomers to our shores into the mainstream of Araerican life. The second reason why 1606 is so important relates to the purpose for which the School was founded. The school was founded to bring together faith and culture. I SUSpect that everyone here .can look at the goals of his or L let school and see an echo in tl ,.in of what the Franciscans wrote in 1606 about teaching ti  students Christian dec- trine, reading and writing. Examine the mission statements and goals of your Schools, don't you say that .You integrate Christian values late every subject? How can W,e teach about the crisis in t! , . ' Middle East without rins- Ing the issue of justice? How can we discuss environmen- tal pollution without teaching bout service to others? How can we expose students to the Perfection of the solar system ithout mentioning faith? ' 'w can we evaluate the mo- tives of characters in litera- ture without explaining love? h While our schools may ave Come along way from a 4 v0000t00,,soup, ] The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I II that adobe brick school of the opening years-of the Seven- teenth Century, our purpose for conducting schools has not changed. 254-1 Religious Women Let us turn the calendar forward 120 years and travel several hundred miles west. The year is 1727 and we are gathered in New Orleans for our second episode in our story of Catholic education. In this year the Sisters of St. Ursula arrived from France and opened Ursuline Academy in New Orleans which today continues to ed- ucate over 700 students in grades Pre-K to 12. The school had three divisions to it when it was founded: the academy for the aristocracy of New OrIeans; a day school for the daughters of the merchant class of the city; and the Sis- ters taught the Negro and In- dian children religion. In this school, we see for the first time the role of reli- gious women in Catholic schools. The involvement of religious women as teachers and administrators in Ameri- can Catholic schools would not become that common until the middle of the Nine- teenth Century wheri large numbers of communities of Sisters were founded to teach in the schools and many Sis- ters came with the immi- grants from Europe. They opened Catholic schools in every state in the union and in all types of situations. This part of the country is most rich in the influence of reli- gious in the schools. The numbers of Sisters continued to grow in the Nineteenth Century and in the first half of the Twentieth Century so that in 1950 when over three million children were in Catholic elementary and sec- NAAB CONSTRUCTION Co. Inc. C0nstruc!i0n Management MARK NAAB 203 Moran Dr. 882-8209 Vincennes, IN 882-8035 =m BILL GREENE JIM GREENE ALAN ABEL INSURANCE INC. 301B S.E. 21ST STREET (812) 254-5768 WASHINGTON, IN 47501 FAX (812) 254-5765 I COnvenient Locations WEST CHAPEL 3033 W. LAND ST. i ondary schools over 93 per- cent of their teachers were re- ligious B women. Sisters opened schools in poor urban ghetto areas, in expanding affluent suburban communities, in lonely rural farm areas, and on unfamiliar Indian reservations. The Sis- ters set the unique character- istics of Catholic schools: the schools' commitment to ex- cellence; the belief that all students can learn; and the deep concern for the stu- dents' religious formation. We do not know what Ameri- can Catholic schools would look like if it were not for the Sisters who taught in all types of schools. However, we do know the strength and vitality of Catholic schools today and this is the legacy of the Sisters. We Catholic school educators of today walk in their footprints and they have left a very deep im- pression upon America. The second interesting point concerning this school that the Ursulines founded in 1727 is that it provided an education for all members of society. Parents paid tuition for their daughters to attend the elite academy. This money supported the Sisters who taught the working class and the poor Black and Indi- an children. This model was followed by many religious communities throughout the United States. Today many secondary schools bear the title Academy. An examina- tion of their histories shows that associated with these schools were religious com- munities whose members went out to the neighboring parishes and taught the stu- dents in these parish schools. Therefore, the concept of sharing resources among the Catholic community is not new. Catholic schools were among the first to foster inter- racial justice. Archbishop Rit- ter of St. Louis was the first to order the integration of a large school system and he did this in 1947, seven years before the U. S.Supreme Court decision of Brown vs. Topeka which resulted in the integration of all public schools in the country. Arch- bishop O'Boyle of Washing- ton, D.C., was among other bishops who followed this example. Shortly before the Supreme Court rendered its decision on school integra- tion, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren and two associate justices vie- ii i ited 0'Boyle twice in secrecy to seek his advice on how to integrate the public schools of the country peacefully. During this school year, 23 percent of the children in Catholic schools come from Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American families. During this school year, over 12 percent of the enrollment in Catholic schools consists of non-Catholic students. The data clearly show that since the foundation of American Catholic education, Catholic schools have educat- ed students from the upper, middle and lower socioeco- nomic levels. And these stu- dents have entered the main- stream and contributed to American life. We need to move the clock forward about 75 years in our story of Catholic edu- cation and we also journey north to New York City. In 1800, a group of parents ap- proached the pastor of St. Peter Church on Barclay Street which is only four blocks north of Wall Street in lower Manhattan. These par- ents asked the pastor to open a school for their children,. Now at this historical time all Church property and re- sources were held by the lay board of trustees of the parishes. Therefore, the pas- tor explained to the parents that he would bring the mat- ter before the board of trustees, which was the grandfather of our present day parish councils. The board of trustees, similar to modern committees took 11 months to decide the issue. Finally, on February 1, 1801 St. Peter School opened with a faculty of a priest and three lay teachers. Three points are interest- ing about this school. The school opened be- cause parents requested a Catholic school. This same request would be repeated time after time by parents across the United States so that today over 8,900 Catholic schools are opened because- parents requested their estab- lishment and support their continued existence, Catholic schools were born, nurtured and matured because of the wide base of support from parents. Today, across the country, parents are again taking leadership positions to insure the continued exis- tence and expansion of Catholic schools. The second point that is interesting about St. Peter I t AUTO. HOME BUSINESS , FARM INSURANCE SERVICES SINCE 1913 INSURANCE AGENCY 464-5993 DENNIS K. FELDHAUS Mater Dei Class of '70 3 School is the involvement of the lay board of trustees. Such boards were very com- mon at that time. A lay board of trustees established a school for the Jesuits in New- ton, Maryland, in 1646. This school was funded by an "en- dowment from the local Catholics." Development pro- grams and endowment funds are not new to Catholic edu- cation, they have been with us for 350 years. The first school opened in Philadel- phia is St. Mary School, which opened in 1782 and continues to educate children today. In the founding docu- ment of this school we read that it had a board of eight managers which was presid- ed over by the pastor who had absolute veto power. The present emphasis on setting u school boards and development committees for every school has a long histo- ry in Catholic education. Today, Catholics. our gradu- ates, have many of the skills needed to conduct effective development and marketing campaigns. Catholics, our graduates, are the second most affluent group in Ameri- ca. Catholics, our graduates, are anxious to share their tal- ents for the good of their church and school. We lead- ers in Catholic school educa- tion must harness this power. The third interesting as- pect regarding the opening of St. Peter School in 1801 con- cerns the faculty which was composed of a priest and three lay teachers. Most of the Catholic schools that were opened in the very early peri- od of American Catholic edu- cation were conducted entire- ly or almost entirely by lay teachers. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton would not found the Sisters of Charity until eight years after St. Peter School opened. When the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Savannah, Georgia, in 1845 they found six Catholic schools already established and conducted by lay people. The involvement of lay teachers in Catholic schools has come full circle today. For the last 20 years lay peo- ple have made up more than 50 percent of our teaching staffs. This year over 90 per- cent of the teachers in our schools are lay teachers. The future of Catholic schools is in the hands of our parents, our boards of education and our lay teachers. Next week: American Catholic Schools: Their Histo- ry of Success and Commit- ment to the Future, part two. Buehlers I.G.A. "The Thrifty Housewife's Source of Savings" QUALITY FOODS, MEATS HUNTINGBURG iii Compliments Nass & Son inc. FUNERAL HOME Huntingburg, Ind.