by Anne Marie Murphy, La Casa de Nuestra Senora.
One of the works of this house of Madonna House is catechism for children using the Montessori method.
Last summer we resurrected something we had done in the past—a one-week summer school—and opened it to any child between the ages of 7 and 13. Though not too many came, those who did were a delight to be with.
Having just taken a two-week training session, I had lots of new ideas, and Christina Milan and I conducted the morning sessions using various themes from Scripture in the style of the Montessori Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Was the summer school a success? One can never know, but one child’s response to the City of Jerusalem presentation was, “I get it. That’s why we go to church on Sundays.”
Then for the fall semester of the school year, we had two classes of children ages 2 to 6, a combined first and second grade class, and two third grade First Communion classes. This was the first time we had third grade classes.
Petra Muller and Christina Milan had the first and second graders; Vicki Gonzales, a volunteer, and I each had a third grade class; and Sofia Segal, our newest staff here, assisted for the first time.
The beauty of this type of catechesis is that it appeals strongly to children and adults alike. Perhaps it even makes us adults more childlike.
We enlist the help of volunteers both to make materials and be assistants in the classes. One assistant, a seasoned CCD teacher (CCD is catechism with more traditional methods), says she is in tears each week to see the children respond to God with such joy and innocence.
In one example of this, Petra once asked the children what they are grateful to God for. There was silence and then one child whispered, “God.”
As a house we’ve been reading some of the writings of John Paul II—“Into the New Millennium” and the new encyclical on the Eucharist. It is striking us how much he and our foundress Catherine thought alike. We are also hearing the teachings our new parish priest is giving the parish on the Eucharist.
Another blessing we have received is an increase of rain, probably more last fall than for the last four years put together. Perhaps our drought is over!
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