Developing Faith at BSM
Since 1974, for one week in the middle of winter, Catholic Schools and their communities across the United States have celebrated Catholic Schools Week. The intent is to laud the entirety of our Catholic Schools, specifically how they impact both the individual and greater society. At Benilde-St. Margaret’s, this week has been filled with celebrations of our unique community. Our students acknowledged our parents with car-side service of coffee and donuts. Together we celebrated Mass in the Great Hall with two of our very own presiding, Father Michael Hahn BSM ‘01 and Father Tim Wozniak BEN ‘66. We also acknowledged some incredible alumni, volunteers, leaders, and faculty members at our annual Hall of Honor event. It was an appropriate celebration!
As part of the week, the Parent Association held one of its Just for Parents sessions. I joined our Junior High Principal Ms. Claire Shea in discussing the roads of faith development at BSM. The focus was on the student experience, but we also explored how we foster faith among parents and those who work at BSM. The importance of that conversation led to this blog articulating the intentionality behind developing our students’ spirits.
Guiding adolescents in their faith journey is no easy task. As we all know, it can be confusing, frustrating, and even astonishing; however, it is also essential and incredibly rewarding. Through our mission and identity, we take on that challenge every day. We are a “dynamic, Catholic learning community” that develops our students in “body, spirit, and mind.” Furthermore, our founding religious traditions – Sisters of St. Joseph, Christian Brothers, and Benedictines – constantly remind us who we are as a Catholic school. As educators, we embrace that identity and focus on two student outcomes that will endure:
- To develop a relationship with self, others, and God
- To build the foundation of faith.
The paths toward these student outcomes are intentional and multifaceted, generally categorized around four domains – worship and prayer, curriculum, service, and campus ministry. All of our students have opportunities to worship and pray in a variety of ways from participation in Masses to labyrinth prayer. We design our curriculum to truly engage our learners in belief, build understanding of the Catholic faith, and create an identity anchored in morality. Students find ways to live their faith through an array of service experiences in communities throughout the world. Finally, campus ministry provides personal and sensitive guidance for students as they develop their faith. Within each of these domains, meaningful connections between educators, students, parents, clergy, and friends blossom in a community of faith.
As Father Michael Hahn declared on Wednesday: “The world is filled with hope!” It is up to our communities of faith to guide people toward that message with clarity, and that is certainly our intent at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School.
Adam Ehrmantraut, EdD
Click here to watch the "Developing Faith at BSM" Just for Parents discussion. Hosted by the BSM Parent Association and presented by BSM President, Adam Ehrmantraut, Ed.D. and Junior High Principal, Claire Shea, Ed.S. ('05).