LIVABLE LEARNING - Preparing the Home and the Heart
The Marks of Catholic Education

In order to present a truly Catholic curriculum we must incorporate the
Marks of the Catholic Church: 
One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic
.
(from "The Marks of Catholic Education" by S.V. Wilhelmi )

 (1923 A.D.)  "Our fathers, the pioneers and founders of the Church .. brought with them the conviction that education must be religious in character, - not merely veneered, but through and through, in every department, primary, grammar and academic. They held that the school where Christian doctrine was taught daily to their children was more necessary for the preservation of the Faith here than beautiful and monumental temples." 
(from Letters of a Bishop to His Flock by Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago)

In a survey conducted by Catholic Heritage Curricula, 93% of the homeschooling families responded that if they were to design their own curriculum, they would include Catholic materials in subjects other than religion. In that same survey, 62% of the families preferred to create their own program rather than using a prepared curriculum package. So how can we effectively incorporate Catholic teaching into other school subjects?

 I believe that no matter what curriculum a particular homeschooling family or Catholic institution decides to use, there should be a means to supplement the curriculum with Catholic teaching and a method to discern the Truth of the content presented.

The Marks of Catholic Education

             One            

Studies should be unified (made One) with curriculum connections - subjects connected to one another with Catholic elements pulled in and emphasized. For example, while reading through the Old and New Testament you can study the History of Egypt, and Greece, and Rome and pull in studies on Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Catholic Art and Music. Timelines are are great tool for curriculum connections.

In most traditional school settings, various subjects are taught as unrelated pieces. It was only when I started teaching my children through homeschooling that I began to realize that each subject has a connection to another. Being able to place persons and events on a timeline made those connections so much more evident. There is no right or wrong way to start the connections. I learned that Bible History is related to the foreign languages of Hebrew and Greek, which is related to Ancient History, which related to Astronomy, which is related to Mythology and Literature, which is related to Philosophy, which is related to Government, which is related to the beginnings of our Catholic Church, and you can just go on and on. But when you really think about it, God did create this universe, so why shouldn’t there be connections across the educational disciplines: after all everything comes from the Universal Body of Truth and Knowledge, from Our Creator.



             Holy           

A curriculum is made Holy by incorporating the lives of the Saints and other important Catholics, past and present.

In the Catholic Keys section of the Marks of Catholic Education, I have complied a list of patron saints according to school subject areas. Other simple connections include teaching appropriate prayers with related subjects, for example when teaching prepositions have the child learn the Breastplate of St. Patrick.


          Catholic       

The definition of Catholic is "universal."  The Catholic Church has a wealth of sources for foundations in Truth: included are the Catechism of the Catholic Church and various other approved documents of the Church.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the best source of universal truth.  In the Catholic Keys section of the Marks of Catholic Education I have compiled a listing of references to the Catholic Catechism according to school subject areas. Use the index in the Catechism to see what the Catholic Church has to say about Health, Art, etc. In addition, the Church has a number of approved documents that can be used to supplement various subjects, for example the Pope has a beautiful letter to artists.


         Apostolic      

Apostolic means "from the Apostles."  A curriculum is made Apostolic by representing the often neglected but true history from the Catholic perspective.  In your studies, include the Catholics who influenced science, art, literature, education, and more.

(1926 A.D.) “One of the finest human documents ever penned was the Constitution of the United States; yet within only one century and a half we have corrected it (nineteen) times. Not so with the Apostle’s Creed; after two thousand years it is still the same, unchanged even as the Apostles wrote it, believed it, and published it. That is because it is in origin divine, and has been inspired and written to last until the end of time. That is because it contains the rule of faith, yours and mine, and the truths which we must believe, - all and entire – if we wish to be saved.”   (from Letters of a Bishop to His Flock  by Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago)

Truth does not change. It may be further defined, but it does not change. Just as the Truth of the Apostles Creed has been misrepresented and ignored throughout the ages, much of the Truth of history has been distorted or totally eliminated from the typical textbooks. One has to be very diligent, to discern and present the Truth from a Catholic perspective.  For example, it was fascinating for me to realize that for the first 1000 years of our history, if Christianity is mentioned it is of the Catholic Church. Those knights in shining armor who pledged their allegiance to the Church had to be Catholic because there was no Protestant church at that time. Did you know that the first settlement in America was not Plymouth Rock, but St. Augustine, Florida?  Did you know that Christopher Columbus received a letter from the Catholic King and Queen? 

Furthermore, it adds a whole new element to a study when one realizes what the Catholics in history have contributed to fields such as science:

Braille invented the Braille system for the blind; Cassadorius, a priest, invented the watch; Coulomb established the laws of static electricity; De Chauliac, a papal physician, was the father of modern surgery and hospitals; Eustachius, for whom the Eustachian tube was named was one of the founders of modern anatomy; Fallopius, for whom the fallopian tubes were named was an eminent physiologist; Guttenberg invented printing, Laennec invented the stethoscope, Mendel, a monk, established the laws of heredity, which gave the final blow the the theory of natural selection.  (from My Catholic Faith ©1949/1959)

Note: Ignatius Press is publishing an excellent series of
Catholic history text books.

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