|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.