Para-School Learning

June 11, 2009

I think back just a few years to my Senior year at Benedictine College. Like many finishing students, I spent hours armed with a class catalog and a list of my completed classes. Bending and stretching, I would try to figure out how I could fulfill all the hour requirements that would open the magical door to graduation. My last semester consisted of 12 credit hours, one of which ended after the quarter; another hour was piano lessons. Full time student with essentially 10 hours – smooth sailing.

At that time, I was also heavily considering the priesthood and religious life. I made a few retreats at the Abbey on campus where I learned that the young monks took in-depth Latin instruction from a couple of older monks. This seemed like a great idea until I learned that it wouldn’t count for college credit.

How bizarre – to put in so much work and effort with… nothing to show for it. Forget the fact that the student would be well-versed in Latin, no college would recognize it as class completed.

Something still held my curiosity. How daring and rebellious would it be against the system to take a class for my own sake and not for worldly accomplishment.

The Daughters of Our Lady of the Visitation are an order in Vietnam that run a 15 student school. These students have supported themselves by salvaging “scrap metal” (i.e. spent bullets and shells), but are educated for the sake of education. In a society too removed from the pursuit of absolute success, the virtue of education is made manifest. For a person to make full use of their faculties, mind and body, is the continued fulfillment of human nature, which absolutely leads to happiness. This mission of the Daughters, instructing the ignorant, is an example of mercy that should be easily adapted into our own lives.

Maybe we are the ignorant. What are we going to do about it?

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2 Responses to “Para-School Learning”

  1. LAnne said

    Some call this a "love of learning." Do you think it might be inherent in human beings to learn new things, given to them by the Almighty? Might it be squelched sometimes? I do know it can be recovered –
    From one who has experienced it…

  2. Christopher said

    I'm not sure I see the problem… I hated having to jump at credits and through hoops in college & graduate school.
    Can't wait to study me some Latin.

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