School Philosophy

Philosophy of St. Margaret Mary School

The following section makes use of the Congregation for Catholic Education's document The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium and has been modified slightly to fit the purposes here. This section has kept the flavor and intent of the original document:

It is the philosophy of St. Margaret Mary School that the climate and role of the educating community is constituted by the interaction and collaboration of its various components: students, parents, teachers, administrators and non-teaching staff. During childhood and adolescence a student needs to experience personal relations with outstanding educators at home and at school, and what is taught has greater influence on the student's formation when placed in a context of personal engagement, genuine reciprocity, coherence of attitudes, life-styles and day-to-day behavior. While respecting individual roles, the community dimension should be fostered, since it is one of the most enriching developments for the school. This community dimension in the Catholic school is not a merely sociological category; it has a theological foundation as well. The educating community, taken as a whole, is thus called to further the objective of a school as a place of complete formation for the student and the human family.

In the Catholic school, "prime responsibility for creating this unique Christian school climate rests with the teachers guided by the administration, as individuals and as a community". Teaching has an extraordinary moral depth and is one of man's most excellent and creative activities, for the teacher does not instruct or mold inanimate material, but the very spirits of individual human beings.

The personal relations between the teacher and the students, therefore, assume an enormous importance and are not limited simply to giving and taking. Moreover, we must remember that teachers and educators fulfill a specific Christian vocation and share an equally specific participation in the mission of the Church, to the extent that "it depends chiefly on them whether the Catholic school achieves its purpose".

Parents have a particularly important part to play in the educating community, since it is to them that primary and natural responsibility for their children's education belongs. Unfortunately in our day there is a widespread tendency to delegate this unique role almost entirely. Therefore it is necessary to foster initiatives which encourage commitment, but which provide at the same time the right sort of concrete support which the family needs and which involve it in the Catholic school's educational project. The constant aim of the school therefore, should be contact and dialogue with the pupils' families, which should also be encouraged through the promotion of parents' associations, in order to clarify with their indispensable collaboration and personalized approach, which is needed for an educational project to be efficacious.

Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School[1]

On October 28, 1965, the Second Vatican Council promulgated the Declaration on Christian Education Gravissimum educationis. The document describes the distinguishing characteristic of a Catholic school in this way; "The Catholic school pursues cultural goals and the natural development of youth to the same degree as any other school. What makes the Catholic school distinctive is its attempt to generate a community climate in the school that is permeated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and love. It tries to guide the adolescents in such a way that personality development goes hand in hand with the development of the "new creature" that each one has become through baptism. It tries to relate all of human culture to the good news of salvation so that the light of faith will illumine everything that the students will gradually come to learn about the world, about life, and about the human person".

[W]hat makes the Catholic school distinctive is its religious dimension, and that this is to be found in a) the educational climate, b) the personal development of each student, c) the relationship established between culture and the Gospel, and d) the illumination of all knowledge with the light of faith.

[1] Guidelines for Reflection and Renewal, Congregation For Catholic Education, 1988.