Sr Karan Varker: Meditations for teachers in Catholic schoolsPrint
As a teacher it has been a great privilege for me to discover and to present as modern, inclusive language translations, sixteen extraordinary meditations written by St John Baptist de La Salle (1651-1719) who is the patron saint of teachers.
St de La Salle was a pioneer of spirituality in the classroom and he established many of the common practices we still follow and value today. His spirituality is unique in that it is a paedagogical spirituality and as such is timeless.
These meditations, which St de La Salle called Meditations for the Time of Retreat, are an extremely rich resource for all Christian teachers because they touch on themes that we practice every day in our classrooms and in our homes. Some of these include how to live our Christianity as teachers, how to correct our young people with dignity, and how to lead them to make choices which enrich their lives.
Br Peter Heaney fsc, who has been offering the Meditations to teachers for many years, invited me to write the modern translation which has now been incorporated into a website through which those interested may enrol in the program offered. During the period of enrolment, they receive spiritual guidance and certification. Since they are Meditations, as such they need to be reflected on and prayed.
Although individuals may pray them, it is suggested that they will be very effective when a number of School Staff Members do them together over some weeks, for about an hour each week. In this case, each individual in the group spends about 20 minutes alone praying the particular Meditation. The group then comes together for about 20 minutes to share their reflections on it.
For the last 20 minutes each individual writes personal reflections which are then sent to the spiritual guide given to each on enrolment in the program.
St Paul wrote to the Ephesians: This set of Meditations by St de La Salle is a precious gem which, when prayed, may, through the power of the Spirit of God, indeed create within individuals and groups such a “spiritual revolution.”
Our website may be visited at www.cmey.org.au/mtr
- This article first appeared in Keep In Touch (KIT) in December 2016. If you would like to be included in KIT magazine email out, please email James Griffiths at the Congregation office and he will add you to the distribution list.