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A reflection on Catholic education

May 1, 2015
Susan Emily Jordan
Chicago

Catholic education – this is something I have cherished since growing up in San Francisco in the 1950s and 1960s: I graduated from St. Cecilia School, St. Rose Academy and Dominican University of California. As I have followed the current controversy in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, I have reflected on the essence of my faith – especially in times of personal and family crises, including my cancer diagnosis in 1995 and the sudden death of my niece’s son in 2002. My faith is the deep reservoir from which I draw healing, hope and renewal. As an observant Catholic (i.e., one who makes a sometimes feeble attempt to fulfill that baptismal promise), I have encountered ridicule from friends and colleagues who somehow regard Catholicism as outdated and in need of reform. And then I recall that Catholicism has never been a popularity contest – one need only study the lives of the martyrs throughout history to get the reality check.

Perhaps the best response to the attacks on Archbishop Cordileone is a statement by a woman named Rilene who tells her story of abandoning a destructive lifestyle and returning to her Catholic faith. “I am so grateful to the Catholic Church for not having changed in those 35 years.” Rilene shares her testimony in the poignant documentary “Desire of the Everlasting Hills” (https://everlastinghills.org/).

This is precisely what parents should expect when sending their children to Catholic schools: The timeless, undiluted essence of the faith that has not caved to the latest whim of social engineering. Long after those parents are gone, the truth and the beauty of authentic Catholicism will provide the spiritual compass that will sustain their children on their earthly journey – and beyond.

The writer is an adviser to Courage International, an apostolate of the Catholic Church. Courage produced the documentary “Desire of the Everlasting Hills.”

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