Values Functioning as Pillars

On Tuesday I experienced an informational meeting and tour at one of our local, Roman Catholic schools, called “Our Lady of the Elms.”  This all-girls school provides a top-rated education for young women wanting to grow holistically, experiencing active learning, scholastic-faith integration, and various extras like ballet, Latin, and drama.

As I was impressed by the quality of the staff, learning environments, and teaching strategies, one thing that captured me the most was the school’s precision to continually align their strategies with their core valuesPrayer, Community, Study, and Preaching.  Unlike parochial Catholic Schools being tied to a particular church, Our Lady of the Elms is connected to a convent known as “The Akron Dominican Sisters.”  Based on the sister’s traditions, and influence from several Saints, the Elms was started 1923 on 33 acres of land in Akron, Ohio.

In describing these pillars “The Sisters” remark:

Dominican spirituality can be described as a pattern of life that seeks to integrate prayer, study, community life, and preaching–preaching from the pulpits of the churches, whenever possible, and from the pulpits of our lives. From the beginning Dominic wanted his followers to engage the cultures in which they lived, to be creative, knowledgeable, aware, and responsive to human need. The pattern of life that Dominicans embrace includes: prayer in community, contemplative prayer, reflection, dialogue, passionate thinking, and simplicity of life. Dominicans are to search for truth; convinced that the fullness of truth lies only in God, but that life in community, devotion to the Word, reverence for creation–all lead to the possibility of living an ideal once described by Thomas Aquinas as “contemplare et aliis tradere contemplata“–to give to others the fruits of contemplation.

As I noticed structures, activities, and curriculum that supported these pillars, it was another example of seeing values act as true guides or “pillars” of aligning and supporting one’s thoughts and actions.

*On another note I was saddened to hear about the dwindling number of nuns at the covenant.  As “marrying God” is no longer a hot option for young women, once I found out that they still can no longer marry, I quickly offered up my 6-year-old daughter, Lucy, to the convent!


My wife and I are dropping her off this week and plan to visit her on the weekends.


~ by Dave Smith on November 5, 2009.

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