Friday, April 7, 2017

TEACHING THE CHILDREN: THE CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD

A PORTION OF MY OWN ATRIUM

This week's arts and culture column is about a way of teaching religious education that is all about touch, smell, sound, rhythm, contemplative silence, work and beauty: Namely, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a method based on Montessori principles co-founded by Hebrew scholar Sofia Cavalletti.

Here's how the piece begins:

Sofia Cavalletti (1917-2011), co-foundress of the Cathechesis of the Good Shepherd, developed a three-level, nine-year method of religious education for children based on Montessori principles.

A native of Rome and a Hebrew scholar, she had neither the background nor interest in children’s education. But asked by a colleague in 1954 to teach a religion class to young people, Cavalletti read aloud from the book of Genesis. And a 7-year-old named Paolo, wept.

Those tears of joy amazed her. Through a teacher named Gianna Gobbi, Cavalletti learned of the child’s natural capacity for contemplation, love of order and silence and delight in work.

Together they developed a space for combined learning and worship that they called an atrium, and a method — the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) — that has changed very little to this day.

A couple of Saturday mornings ago, I drove to Fillmore, a ranching town outside Santa Paula. Here, Richena Curphey, a librarian at Thomas Aquinas College by day, has established a CGS atrium for the children of St. Francis of Assisi parish.


READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

1 comment:

  1. I have been involved with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for about 20 years in Pennsylvania. I discovered it shortly after moving back from 10 years in Long Beach, CA. Since then I have tried to interest friends and priests in the LA Archdiocese in CGS, with nobody biting. Last winter I was asked to help with a Level I formation course requested by the Missionaries of Charity in Lynwood, CA, near LAX. What an amazing experience. I lived with them for three weeks. They now have an atrium in their convent and have two sessions of Level I each week. I think their atrium and the one in Fillmore are the only Catholic atria in the Archdiocese. Thanks for spreading the word in LA through your lovely article. I serve as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Association of CGS. Please visit our website: cgsusa.org

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