Every summer, the NDP religion department creates a theme for the upcoming academic year. It is not just a clever phrase used to kick off the new year in style. The theme is displayed on bulletin boards and easels throughout the school as a sort of “thought for the day”…every day. It is also woven into curriculum and liturgies, special presentations and assemblies throughout the year for the purpose of deeper exploration. Choosing a spiritual theme for the year is an excellent way of reminding its community that Notre Dame is not just an excellent college prep school, but an excellent, Catholic, college prep school. Last year’s theme was “Rooted in Grace.” The theme for academic year 2013-2014 is, “Women of the Word” and the following are edited excerpts from Sister Patricia McCarron’s analysis of the theme presented to the faculty during their first staff meeting:
Sr. Patricia McCarron:
“This year’s theme calls us to go deeper as individuals and as a community…The word ‘of ‘ is the superglue of our theme. The word ‘of ‘ denotes the source, the connectedness. This seemingly tiny word is the link that binds the words together, and gives them deeper meaning. It connects our students – young women – with The Word…with God, and reminds them of that relationship every day. The Word of God is also the identity given to Jesus and we are given the sacred words of scripture in order to know Jesus on an intimate level…And in becoming connected to the Word, in listening to the voice of God, in learning about his life, we grow in our understanding of who we are and what we are destined to become…for God, for ourselves, for our girls, for each other, our community, our families, and the world…
Upon further examination, it becomes clear that the configuration of the words of our theme, ‘Women of the Word’ lends itself to the bookend ideas of limits and endless possibilities, tremendous challenge and boundless opportunities. With this theme, we have charged ourselves with inspiring and empowering young girls, who are in the process of becoming young women, to root their identity in Jesus and to dare to live the good news in all its possibilities and with every opportunity. In other – more familiar – words: to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with God. Every day. In every way. So, perhaps our theme does not really call us to something new so much as it calls us to go deeper into familiar territory. Into deeper relationship, deeper exploration, deeper commitment. If we do that as staff and teachers and role models, then I have no doubt our students – our young women – will learn to do the same. In other words, we are all called to LOVE more deeply. Because ultimately, the Word is Love and Love is the Word. A tall order, a daunting challenge. But with boundless opportunities and limitless reward.”
Bluenote: Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Next Week: On a Lighter Note