05 May 2021
05 May 2021

Educating according to the Heart of Christ

“Faithful to Fr. Dehon’s example, we continue to strive for education in a holistic sense, which forms students and teachers who are smart, honest and holy” (Programmatic Letter 2018-2024, His way is our way 3.1)

by  Stephen Huffstetter, scj and Levi dos Anjos Ferreira, scj

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For Fr. Dehon, education was always a value and a priority. According to him, educating was not only about transmitting learned and inherited concepts, but above all about forming a person’s character. He wrote: “Character is of capital importance in the lives of people, as it is in the life of nations. It is one of the principal factors in the destiny of each of them.  The life of an individual, as well as a people, lies chiefly in what constitutes their feelings, their passions, and their will.  A defect of character can ruin an entire life”( L. Dehon, Discours sur L’Education du Caractère, DRD 6 , 12).

Fr. Dehon put his way of understanding the role of education in the Catholic environment into practice with his own pedagogy. For him, forming character meant turning to the things of God and keeping oneself in constant harmony with heavenly values. He embraced the work at St. John’s College with all his heart. He loved teaching, being with the students, and above all “caring” for the souls of those whose education was entrusted to him. Our founder conceived education as a process by which a person comes into contact with divine and spiritual values which enables one to be a sign of witness to God’s merciful love in society. 

Today, the Congregation has about 50 educational centers spread throughout the world. They are not only large schools, but also small parish centers where our confreres offer needy communities access to education.

In order to get to know the reality of each SCJ institution more deeply, and to promote contacts and exchange, the General Government created the Educare commission to bring together representatives of these SCJ institutions in order to share Dehonian spirituality, to come up with interesting and creative ideas about activities for students, and to get to know the “modus vivendi” of each country and region where Dehonians are active. Above all, the goal is to implement a Dehonian style of education. 

Each member is responsible for their own school and in contact with other area schools. They are: Franz-Josef Hanneken (Germany/Europe) Bridget Martin. (USA/ North America)  Javier Luengo (Spain/Europe)  Silvano da Costa (Brazil/Latin America) and Donatus Kusmartono (Indonesia/Asia). After Dr. Laurence Lambotours’ (Madagascar/Africa) recent retirement, there is currently one vacancy on the commission. 

With the desire to intensify “We the Congregation” among the schools and to make Dehonian spirituality more evident we are inspired by common themes. From these we develop concrete activities with students and staff. In 2020 for example, the theme was Sint Unum. In 2021 it is Ecce venio. In the future we will publish videos, photos and interviews that demonstrate the beautiful work our Dehonian schools do with youth. Our desire is to educate in the Dehonian style.

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